What I thought of Troy (including why stupid people shouldn't see it)
Dad's birthday yesterday was nice. We were going to go out to a movie and then dinner, but sometime between Thursday night and Sunday morning, the plans changed and Dad ended up cooking pork on the grill. After lunch we went to see Troy. I'd heard both very good and very bad things about the movie, and my opinion is somewhere in the middle. It was a lot like Master and Commander in that I wouldn't pay to see it again, but it was a slick, polished Hollywood movie that holds the audience's attention. The ending credits say that Troy was "inspired by" The Iliad, rather than "adapted from" or "based on," so I wouldn't go as far as to use the word "butcher" to describe what the movie does to the story told in The Aeneid and The Iliad, but it's really compressed. I suppose it was either that or make a 20-hour PBS miniseries. The subtleties of Homer's version didn't make the translation from page to screen, and the gods don't show up to make aliances with or manipulate the characters. The major travesty of the film is that Homer's version is full of Big Important Moral lessons which aren't in the movie at all. Rather than simply ignoring them, parts of the story are totally rewritten to avoid them for no reason at all. This neither simplifies nor shortens the movie.
Anyway, that's the bad stuff. The good stuff? It's a film made for the lowest common denominator of moviegoers. That sounds like an insult, but I stress the word "common." Troy could've been much better movie, or a much worse one, but this way more people are going to like it which means more people are going to see it, the studio will be able to justify their expense, and that, ultimately was the point or making the movie. The story contains enough action and romance to keep everybody engaged, the casting, when it's not great, is still pretty good, and the directing is adequately competent.
Brian Cox is probably a more accurate King Agamemnon, but I liked Sean Connery better.
I'm also torn between feeling pity for and wanting to hit people like the woman behind us who, when Achilles got shot through the heel with an arrow, said something like "Oh! Achilles has an Achilles' heel! That was cheap joke." There was also the guy who, on the way out, was angry that the newspaper review gave away the ending -- as if 8th grade World Literature didn't.
Anyway... That was the movie. We went back to Stoughton, had supper, I went home, and that was pretty much my day. Today has gone by fairly quickly, which isn't good because I can't concentrate. That's why I'm writing in my journal.