based on poem by Homer
So the Iliad up on the big screen. The most expensive film ever made. Bound to be rubbish right?
Well it isn’t great, but it is far from bad.
The films opens with a brief history lesson; with an outline of the political situation in the Ancient World, letting the audience know who is who, and where they all lie. We also get an introduction to the awesom fighting abilities of Achilles as he fights the champion of Thessaly and defeats him in an instant. (Maybe modern wars should also be decided by one on one challenges, save a lot of hassle).
The action then moves to the meeting between Hector, Paris and Menelaus. Hector and Paris, the princes of Troy seem to be a peace envoy of kinds to Menelaus, and everything seems to be going well, before we learn about the romance between Helen and Paris. Well you already knew all this, so I’m not spoiling anything right?
As you may have guessed Menelaus is not all that happy when his wife leaves him and Sparta for Paris and Troy. Neither is Hector mind, thinking quite correctly that this will lead to war. Menelaus has been the more peaceful of the two brothers (if you can call either of them peaceful), but now he goes to his brother and asks will Agamemnon go to war with him, so he can take back what is his, and kill Helen with his own hands. Clearly the audience is not meant to judge Helen for her actions.
I’ll stop with the story line here, after all most people know the outline, and if not go browse the Illiad, that is the inspiration for the story, as it says in the credits. There are some alterations though. There isn’t the slightest hint of anything but friendship and family ties between Achilles and Patroclus, no love story here. Achilles is also presented in a much more favourable light than a reading of the Illiad will provide. He did not sulk in his tent because he liked the girl in Homer’s tale, but because it was an insult.
Then again it was necessary to adjust certain things, and I have no problems at all with the story development in the film.
The battle scenes are fantastic, the whole film looks great, although I do think that those ships were sailing a little too close to each other :) Surely at least one would have collided with another?
The music was grand too, although there was one scene where I found the rousing “oh look at the might of Troy” music a little out of place *shrug* The acting by both Pitt and Bana stands out, I totally bought both of them in the roles. And for the most part I found Bloom quite apropriate for his role; he is supposed to be young and a little on the innocent side after all. He does however use that expression; the puzzled and sad one that often made an appearance in the LOTR. And it was great to see Sean Bean in a big budget film where he doesn’t die :)
Maybe the essential flaw with this film is actually the source material. Not that Homer isn’t a great read, I certainly enjoyed both the Illiad and the Odyssey, but that the reasons behind the character’s action are not what a modern audience expects?
Official Site | IMDb |