Green talent, old hands, stunning effects and beautiful women: Troy is full of them, but something is missing. The film lacks certain epic qualities required to be the kind of ambitious blockbuster Warner Brothers has been promoting.
Troy has intense human feeling, and, while that usually makes for a good movie, it is the film’s downfall. Troy needs to transcend that humanity and traverse a path into legendary aspects of Troy in order to provoke the kinds of emotion the filmmakers are looking for.
One element that makes the film too human is the lack of a clear hero; as in reality, the characters all have their faults and strengths, especially Paris (Orlando Bloom), who tries to be heroic, but falls short because he appears weak.
Troy needs perfect personalities and infallible characters; instead its characters are neither good nor evil, strong nor weak. Even the demigod Achilles (Brad Pitt) has personal conflicts.
Based on Homer’s Iliad, the film depicts the fabled Trojan War that was sparked by the young prince of Troy, Paris. Sent to the Greek province of Sparta on a mission of peace with his legendary brother Hector (Eric Bana), Paris falls in love and winds up taking Helen (Diane Kruger), infuriating her husband, king Menelaus of Sparta (Brendan Gleeson). Menelaus goes to his brother King Agamemnon (Brian Cox), who has united the Greek provinces, and the stage is set for the invasion of Troy.
The plot up to this point is simple and poignant, but as soon as the Greeks hit the beaches of Troy, the solid story shatters into several fragments. At this point, the filmmakers scramble to incorporate a 10-year war, larger-than-life personalities and several subplots into two hours. This daunting task bogs the movie down.
Without a streamlined storyline, Troy relies on stunning visuals and good acting to propel the movie to its finish. In the first few minutes of the film, the audience is introduced to Achilles, a demigod with an attitude.
Achilles is a likable character due to his disregard for authority and his unmatched power, but he fails to step above his human counterparts. Achilles is the strongest personality in the film and Pitt does the part justice. The rest of the cast, including Bloom, Bana and Peter O’Toole, who plays Priam, act out their parts with the utmost talent, making acting the film’s high point.
Following the path of Braveheart and Gladiator, Troy is a visually impressive movie with realistic combat and stunning scenery. From a fleet of Greek boats canvassing the open sea to 50,000 Greek troops storming the beaches, good cinematography and fast computers paint a beautiful portrait of the ancient Mediterranean.
Pitt shines, Bloom whines and the Greeks sack Troy with the help of a giant wooden horse. We know the story and have heard the names, but the filmmakers come up short. Troy has the chance to be an opus or a cheesy blood bath, but is neither.
It falls somewhere in the middle: not quite laughable, but not that good.
Action, R, Running time: 163 min.