May 30, 2004


Trojans 0, Greeks 1


Troy poster Starring: Brad Pitt's bare arms, Sean Bean's bare legs, Eric Bana's bare chest, Orlando Bloom's even barer chest, Diane Kruger's eyeliner, Rose Byrne's curly hair, Peter O'Toole's air of dignity, Brian Cox's huffing, Brendan Gleeson's puffing, Julie Christie's bunch of shells, and a thousand yards of blue batik.
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Written by: Homer (not really) and David Benioff
MPAA says: Rated R for graphic violence and some sexuality/nudity.
Running time: 163 minutes

Tonight I saw two-thirds of the Trojan War. It went something like this:

Greece, dusty field. Agamemnon (Brian Cox) marches across Greece, snapping up smaller kingdoms, consolidating his power, and adding ivory doodads to his hair. His current opponent agrees to avoid a wasteful battle by pitting his best warrior in single combat against Agamemnon's best warrior, Achilles. Meanwhile, the theatre's sound system warbles and buzzes in a constant drone, which I can't blame the movie itself for. Everything is filmed in television-style closeup, which I can blame the movie for.

Agamemnon: Hey! Achilles!
Achilles fails to appear.
Agamemnon: I would find this embarrassing if I weren't such an overweening bastard.

Tent. Achilles (Brad Pitt) lies naked with two women, who are also pretty much naked. A random boy arrives to fetch him.

Boy: The king needs you!
Achilles: I'm going to be immortal and you're not, you coward.
Boy: (looks hurt)

Dusty field. Achilles meets the challenger, eluding all attacks, executing a nifty crouching tiger hidden dragon move to defeat him. Then he pauses and poses to glare at the camera from several different angles. His arms are extremely buff. He is very manly in his glaring.

Achilles: Who's next?
Many soldiers: (find something else to look at)
Achilles: I didn't think so.

Sparta, palace. Hector (Eric Bana) and Paris (Orlando Bloom), the princes of Troy, have dinner with Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), king of Sparta and brother of Agamemnon. Helen (Diane Kruger), Menelaus' wife, makes woo-woo eyes at pretty young Paris. Robin, who is sharing my outside food for this movie, says this Helen is a million times prettier than the bimbo in the cable-TV Helen of Troy series, even though she's a very Germanic-looking Greek. Paris and Helen nip off for some secret nookie. Orlando Bloom gets naked, and I am too distracted to notice the dialogue.

Hector's ship, en route to Troy. Hector and Paris wear lovely matching batik cabana boy outfits that show a lot of chest. There is some brotherly dialogue, but I am still looking at chests. They go belowdecks.

Paris: Look who I stole!
Helen: Surprise!
Paris: We love each other.
Hector: This totally sucks.

Tidal pool. Achilles' Mom, Thetis (Julie Christie), wades around in a lovely blue batik beach dress.

Achilles' Mom: Go fight with Agamemnon and Menelaus against Troy. You'll probably die, but your fame will be eternal. Here's a shell necklace.
Achilles: (hulks and glares at camera)

Troy, here and there. Hector and Paris arrive back home with Helen, and meet up with their dad, King Priam (Peter O'Toole) and their cousin, pretty young Briseis (Rose Byrne).

Hector: Hello, pretty young Briseis. I hear you're still a virgin.
Briseis: (smiles like bunny in headlights)

Greece, dusty hill. Achilles practices swordfighting with pretty young Patroclus (Garrett Hedlund). Achilles has bought his outfit at the same cabana boy batik shop as Hector and Paris. Patroclus swings his sword around, but Achilles is much better.

Achilles: Ha ha! You're my cousin.
Patroclus: Ho ho! I'm your cousin.
They hug, then fight some more. Odysseus (Sean Bean), king of Ithaca, arrives.
Odysseus: (states wise aphorism about war)
Achilles: You're clever. This pretty young man is my cousin.
Patroclus: We're cousins.
Odysseus: That's all right, then.
Achilles: It would be awful if something were to happen to Patroclus.
Patroclus: (smiles like bunny in headlights)
Achilles glares at camera.

Sea. A thousand ships launch toward Troy. It is quite awesome. In fact, it is so awesome, it is shown again and again. This scene is shown in the theatre's special Blur-o-vision, so there may only be a few hundred ships; it's hard for me to tell.

Ransacked Trojan temple; then, a tent. Achilles captures Briseis, and sniffs her hair.

Achilles: Pretty.
Briseis: Yuck.

Troy, palace. Paris and Helen make woo-woo eyes and mushy talk, but I can't hear it over the buzzing of the sound system.

Troy, dusty landscape. The Greek army marches toward the city. Closeup on Priam. The soundtrack warbles with horrible vibrato. Close up on Hector and Paris. The Greeks march. The soundtrack warbles. Close up on Helen. March. Warble.

Paris: I challenge Menelaus to single combat, winner gets Helen!
Menelaus: Nyarrgh!

Paris proceeds to do everything wrong during the fight. Orlando Bloom acts up a storm while clinging to Eric Bana's leg. Somewhere in the distance, Achilles glares.

Troy, before the walls. There is a big battle! Everything is filmed in close up! Blood sprays. Men fall. Pyres burn. This really should be exciting. This should be as fun as all those 1950s sword-and-sandals B-movies. I take a brief nap.

Beach, tent, hillock, temple, etc. Achilles poses, in a camera angle so tight, the shot can't even fit him and must pan so we can see who this actually is, in a complete waste of the movie screen.

Various people: What are you fighting for?
Achilles: Immortality! (glares)
Odysseus: (states wise aphorism about war)
Achilles glares at camera.

Tent on beach. Achilles gets very naked, not for the first time in this movie, and has a roll in the furs with Briseis.

Briseis: I love you now. I think they call it Sparta syndrome.
Achilles: Pretty.

Beach. Patroclus wears Achilles' shell necklace, and Achilles gets a good look at Patroclus' legs.

Patroclus: Hello, cousin.
Achilles: Hello, cousin.
Odysseus: (states wise aphorism about war, this time involving old men)
Achilles glares. At this point, I don't blame him.

Everywhere. More fighting, more woo-woo eyes, and more glaring. The buzz on the soundtrack is periodically quite loud, and the movie is not engaging enough to keep us in our seats watching the eye candy while waiting for the soundtrack to fix itself. I have been waiting my whole life for the definitive sword-and-sandals widescreen movie about Troy, and here it is, with Sean Bean's legs and Orlando Bloom's chest and Brad Pitt's arms and pouty lips... but it's nothing I can't wait to see on DVD. The Alexander the Great movie had better be better than this. I understand Alexander has a cousin, too.

Lobby. The theatre manager gives us our money back, and I sign the voucher "Outside Food." The theatre manager glares.

Several years later, the Trojan war ends. I believe a horse is involved.

To See or Not to See: In spite of all its running around and roaring of battle, it's a big epic made small. The men are beautiful and mostly disrobed and struggle mightily and manfully with the script, and in a better theatre this film might be able to show off its B-movie-of-the-week potential, but... ho hum.

Outside Food: I was going to bring hummous, but could find no decent pita to go with it. I opted instead for a bunch of grapes and a bottle of Pom-brand pomegranate juice, which on a scale of 1 to 10 I rate as "vile." Robin bought the concession-stand popcorn, which she rates as "lethal," and Skittles, which were as they always are: Hard shell on the outside, sugary sweet on the inside. Much like Achilles.


First the commercials, which came through fairly clearly:

An inspirational PSA on the power of the dream
Psychedelic music videos for M&Ms and Fanta
Fandango's advert featuring Monsoon Wedding with paperbag puppets
5ive Days to Midnight, soon to air on the SciFi channel. Someone please tell them that "5" looks nothing like an "F."

The previews could barely be seen, as the frame was off center and the sound system was buzzing mightily, and the theatre staff was experimenting with the idea that louder would make it better. The previews appeared to be:

Keanu Reeves in Constantine
Tom Hanks in an airport
Tobey Maguire in a Spidey suit
Halle Berry in a Catwoman suit
Hairy indistinguishable men and blue women in King Arthur, no longer claiming to be the true story
...and many actors in Ocean's 12, sequel to the remake of Ocean's 11, cleverly showing that the producers can do math.

Posted by OutsideFood at May 30, 2004 11:59 PM

Since the site isn't updated regularly, and since the comments feature is constantly abused by spammers, Comments are now disallowed. Sorry!