This weekend’s block buster is Troy, the classic tale of the Iliad. Brad Pitt stars as Achilles, the moody and reluctant (if somewhat bloodthirsty) Achilles, Eric Bana as Hector, hero of Troy, and Orlando Bloom as Paris, who steals the lovely Helen from King Menelaus and provokes a tizzy that ultimately results in a war between Greece and Troy.
I came to this movie expecting a panorama of Pitt’s golden locks, battle scenes, and thin romance, and that’s almost precisely what this movie delivers. The problem is that it doesn’t really deliver it very well. The basic formula is pretty common: the clash between two great heros. Hector is the good prince, the noble warrior and father. Achilles is the talented but brutal warrior, concerned only with his own immortality as a hero. Unfortunately, the movie never really gets beyond the formula. It isn’t a bad formula, nor is it a bad movie, but it never really becomes great. I couldn’t help thinking that Ridley Scott did this movie better in the 2000 release of Gladiator. The battle sequence between Achilles and Hector is good, but virtually all the battle sequences in Gladiator were better.
On the plus side, Pitt certainly isn’t hard for the ladies to look at, and my wife informs me that Bana and Bloom aren’t far behind. There are some good supporting performances, probably the best of which is the immortal (we wish) Peter O’Toole as Priam, King of Troy. Diane Kruger plays Helen, whose beauty was so great it was said to launch a thousand ships. Diane may be able to launch a dinghy or two, but I don’t think she’s worthy of a regatta. She seems to have the same placid, vacant quality that always reminds me of Bo Derek.
Overall I give it about a seven out of ten. Certainly not a snoozefest, but neither does it make you jump out of your seat. Try renting Gladiator afterwards and compare.