After reading numerous bad reviews, I finally got to watch 'Troy' today. Just back, in fact. The verdict: It rocks! It totally, absolutely rocks! And here's why...
The movie has been directed by Wolfgang Peterson and written by Greek poet Homer in partnership with Hollywood-Scriptwriter-Man and let me tell you, the latter is the real superstar of the project!
The movie veers away from Homer's original plot more times than competitive exam question papers get leaked in India but very surprisingly, in this case, the changes are definitely for the better.
For example, a scholar of 'The Illiad' will claim that Agamemnon [Brian Cox] was not really killed by Briseis [Rose Byrne] at Troy and that he survived the war and returned home only to be poisoned by his wife Clytaemnestra. But no, that's just too boring for today's world of instant karma. Not to worry, though. Hollywood-Scriptwriter-man always has his finger right on the pulse of the viewer. Throughout the movie, you start to hate Agamemnon so much that it's frankly awesome when he finally gets screwed in the end. In fact, when Briseis plunges the dagger into his meaty neck, I was on my feet cheering loudly. Now that was one good change.
Also, apparently, the actual siege lasted ten years in Homer's poem but in the movie it lasts just a month. Well, if Ekta Kapoor had had a say, it would have taken upto twenty but then again, it's Hollywood-Scriptwriter-Man to the rescue. Slam! Bam! Swish! Flash! And Done. Game Over! Another excellent change.
And then, there is some serious ass-kicking done in this movie. In fact, it's like they took the extras from 'Braveheart' and sent them to battle the extras from the 'LOTR' trilogy. The battle scenes reminded me of a scene from that mother of all spoofs 'Hot Shots! Part Deux' where there's a funny body count meter running and calculating the number of people dying. At least a thousand guys are killed in this film and that absolutely rocks! What I didn't like though was the excessive shaking of the camera during the battle scenes. Not only in this film but in most others as well. What're they hoping to achieve by shaking the camera so much? Do they think it makes the scene more natural looking? Yup, that's just logical. I'd like to know what kind of an idiot would actually believe orcs and goblins are being massacred just because the camera is wobbling a bit! I mean, would he be like, "What crap! Orcs and Goblins don't exist! .....Oh no, wait a minute, the camera's shaking! So the battle must be really happening!" You know what, I don't think so!
Another funny part is that whenever Achilles [Brad Pitt] or Hector [Eric Bana] corner a guy during a battle, immediately, all the action pause, all the warriors take a time-out and gather around the duel to cheer on their hero, like one would in a bar-room brawl scenario. In fact, in one of those scenes, I thought I even saw an old guy going around taking bets and serving beer.
And on the same note, football fans who followed Euro 2004 would've been shocked out of their skins! Yes, Greeks can attack! And how!
The highlight of the movie, however, is the one-on-one between Achilles and Hector. It's awesome and though Hector gets his @$$ whipped, he dies with his honour intact. The atmosphere built up, with the gentle but rhythmic drumming in the background make the scene truly unforgettable. Eric Bana's Hector is quite easily the best performance in the movie.
Brad Pitt shouldn't have been cast in this film. I like him a lot as an actor but he just doesn't seem to fit into the role. He tries hard, I have to admit, but it just doesn't work. No matter what he does, he is never Achilles, always Brad Pitt. In fact, he could've auditioned for the role of Helen. He did look very pretty!
Diane Kruger [Helen] is another one who gets a raw deal. Everyone will crib that she's not a Helen but when you actually look at the facts, people are going to say that no matter who the makers had cast in the role. For her part, Kruger looks great and she doesn't have much to do, so her acting is ok too. She particularly excels in the scene where she plays a surgeon, stitching up Paris' wounds with amazing sartorial skills!
Orlando Bloom [Paris] is pretty convincing as a complete wimp and he's also what a Chennaiite would describe as an 'OC bugger', he aims for Achilles' head, hits his heel and kills the mightiest warrior ever known. That what real OC is all about.
Overall, the movie rocks and it's full paisa vasool, though some actual female nudity would've gone down well with the crowd. So much promised, so little delivered. Sigh! And though the movie is teeming with big male stars like Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom, the real champion, without a shadow of a doubt, is good old trusty Hollywood-Scriptwriter-Man who delivers an adventure specially designed for the not-so-well-educated viewer.
Go watch it! Have fun!