Troy (2004) Movie Review

The biggest problem modern audiences will encounter with Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy”, despite its lavish backdrop and elaborate action set pieces, is that the film is adapted from a poem dating back over 2,000 years. As a result, what might have made perfect sense back then doesn’t quite make the cut in 2004. Audience expectations are different, and this theatrical “Troy”, despite its mammoth budget and lengthy running time, will nevertheless leave many a moviegoer baffled.

“Troy” concerns Paris (Orlando Bloom), a Prince from Troy, who has come to Greece (specifically Sparta) to seal a peace between the two factions. Alas, oh Paris is a bit of a playboy, and before you know it he’s paying nightly visits to the room of Helen (Diane Kruger). Unfortunately for them, Helen just happens to be the unhappy wife of Spartan King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), who doesn’t take some young punk stealing his wife away with good humor.

Menelaus seeks help from his brother Agamemnon (Brian Cox), currently the undisputed King of the Greeks, as well as being one blowhard with ambitions beyond his ability to make them happen. Being that Agamemnon has always had an eye for Troy’s riches, he uses the theft of Helen as impetus to rally the Greeks in an all-out war against Troy. They send for Achilles (Brad Pitt), the greatest of the Greek warriors. Achilles agrees to fight, even though he has no stake in the matter and really can’t stand the sight of Agamemnon. To Achilles, it’s all about glory and getting poems written about him.

If the description so far sounds convoluted, that’s probably because this is the set-up for one of the longest poems in the history of man. Although the poems blend history, rumor, and good ol fashion fiction into a rousing story, the movie version has less than 3 hours to tell the tale. Benioff and Petersen try their best to cram as much as they can into the movie, but even then the film shortchanges a lot of major characters, including trickster Odysseus (Sean Bean), who shows up only for plot point purposes. Motivations also get a bit muddled, and as a result actions and events seem random in nature.

But as nothing more than a Summer Event film, “Troy” is a well-crafted, well-acted, and well-shot film. Although there’s probably too many CGI soldiers racing into each other; after seeing this ad nauseam in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, “Troy’s” scenes has the vibe of Johnny Come Lately about them. In any case, “Troy” has enough good action set pieces to justify the price of full admission. It’s definitely one of those movies that need to be seen on the big screen to appreciate. Not just for the wide-scale action, but also for the daily amassing of thousands of extras.

The highlights of the film are the one-on-one grudge matches between the characters, in particular the clash between a vengeful Achilles and a sorrowful Hector. Tell me that this 5-minute sequence didn’t take the two actors months to train for and choreographed. Although he’s using an accent that I still can’t pinpoint, Brad Pitt is entirely believable as Achilles, the world’s greatest warrior who nonetheless falls prey to his own vanity. Pitt is in top physical condition and sells Achilles so well during the physical parts of the movie that it’s hard to fault his odd accent. The way he moves, fights, and decimates his opponents are astounding.

If Achilles represents the Greeks with conviction, Eric Bana (“The Hulk”) is the Trojans’ heart and soul. Unlike Achilles, who fights for pride and infamy, Hector fights to save his family and nation, doing so under duty, and only duty. Bana’s performance is made doubly impressive because Orlando Bloom, sans Elfen ears and swashbuckling pirates, is really lost in the shuffle. Needless to say, watching Bloom and co-star Diane Kruger trying mightily to create chemistry is painful at best and wholly inadequate at worst.

If Bloom and Kruger fails miserably to ignite passion, the star-crossed love affair between Achilles and captured Trojan royalty Briseis (Rose Byrne) more than shoulders the film’s stab at romance. As the spirited Briseis, Rose Byrne (“I Capture the Castle”) gives an outstanding performance. Her fire and passion overcomes even the harden Achilles, who is willing to give up the war for her after a rough and tumble courtship. Whereas one never for an instant believed that Helen and Paris were in love, the spark between Achilles and Briseis is flammable.

“Troy” is a good spectacle film, even if it comes at a time when better movies have already tread these same grounds and made them perilous. In short, Peter Jackson’s three “Rings” films have effectively ruined the historical/fantasy epic for every filmmaker to follow. Without the existence of the “Rings” films, “Troy” would have been great. But since Frodo and company have already crossed our paths, “Troy” is just pretty good.

Wolfgang Petersen (director) / Homer (poem), David Benioff (screenplay)
CAST: Brian Cox …. Agamemnon
Brad Pitt …. Achilles
Brendan Gleeson …. Menelaus
Diane Kruger …. Helen
Eric Bana …. Hector
Orlando Bloom …. Paris
Sean Bean …. Odysseus
Peter O’Toole …. Priam
Rose Byrne …. Briseis


Buy Troy on DVD



About Nix

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Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.

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  • shahid ali

    hi iam shahid iam pakistani iam in this time uae dubai my contect number is 00920509033126 my email address shahid_ghullam@yahoo.com bred put is my fevorite heero and troy movie is my fevorite movie please also information for me.thank you ok

  • http://shahid_ghullam@yahoo.com shahid ali

    hi iam shahid iam pakistani iam in this time uae dubai my contect number is 00920509033126 my email address shahid_ghullam@yahoo.com bred put is my fevorite heero and troy movie is my fevorite movie please also information for me.thank you ok

  • Petros Papaioanou

    The movie is completely inaccurate comparing to the Hellenic Mythology/History. It will take two days for me to analise the parts that have been changed in order to fit more to the hollywood addicted movie viewers. Nevertheless I want to make a comment as far as Achilles is concerned. He is half human half god as his mother was a Goddess. He has seen and knows what is like to be a so called god and he has understand that humans and Gods only care for satisfaction. He fought for Glory only because he was not a man of material but of spirit. On the other hand Hector in the movie is appeared to be a patriot but that is only in the imagination of the writer of the movie and has nothing to do with the real mythology/history. From my point of view the movie is pathetic since it has nothing to do with the Greek mythology. They took some parts and used some names to make a movie to sell it and make a profit. Apart that it is poor. VERY poor. And in order for someone to make the movie Troy it would need ten sequences and still wouldn’t be enough. The story lasted 10 whole years and there were so many things that as I said not even ten sequences would be enough.
    So it is definitely not pretty good. It is VERY POOR.

  • Petros Papaioanou

    The movie is completely inaccurate comparing to the Hellenic Mythology/History. It will take two days for me to analise the parts that have been changed in order to fit more to the hollywood addicted movie viewers. Nevertheless I want to make a comment as far as Achilles is concerned. He is half human half god as his mother was a Goddess. He has seen and knows what is like to be a so called god and he has understand that humans and Gods only care for satisfaction. He fought for Glory only because he was not a man of material but of spirit. On the other hand Hector in the movie is appeared to be a patriot but that is only in the imagination of the writer of the movie and has nothing to do with the real mythology/history. From my point of view the movie is pathetic since it has nothing to do with the Greek mythology. They took some parts and used some names to make a movie to sell it and make a profit. Apart that it is poor. VERY poor. And in order for someone to make the movie Troy it would need ten sequences and still wouldn’t be enough. The story lasted 10 whole years and there were so many things that as I said not even ten sequences would be enough.
    So it is definitely not pretty good. It is VERY POOR.

  • Brenda

    Troy is excellent, the best is Rose byrne
    I think Rose Byrne as Briseis is excellent actress and beautiful and still has much future in film and TV.
    I love Rose Byrne in Troy and will have two more seasons in Damages
    success Rose Byrne

  • Brenda

    Troy is excellent, the best is Rose byrne
    I think Rose Byrne as Briseis is excellent actress and beautiful and still has much future in film and TV.
    I love Rose Byrne in Troy and will have two more seasons in Damages
    success Rose Byrne

  • chmacka

    Don’t get all upset Petros Papaioanou. This movie was made for American viewers (half of those people can’t locate Great Britain on the map), not for educated people.

  • chmacka

    Don’t get all upset Petros Papaioanou. This movie was made for American viewers (half of those people can’t locate Great Britain on the map), not for educated people.

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