Epic story… epically bad screen writing

If you were a geeky kid who spent a lot of time reading Greek adventures as a kid you’ll be able to keep up with this movie, if not you’ll likely miss a good chunk of Troy.  The movie is more notable for what it lacks than what it has.  I do give the movie high marks for production values, acting, and cinematography but too little was spent on the screen writer and the score (though it could be argued the music tried valiantly to pick up the fumbled script).

Troy attempts to condense Homer’s Iliad down to an audience-digestible length of 165 minutes.  Perhaps out of fear of looking too much like The Clash of the Titans the storyline is given a more realistic angle by eliminating the very big plot point of the gods.  After doing away with the magic the writers also decided to dispense with character development since the audience would know the big names like Achilles, Odysseus and Ajax (let’s take a leap of faith and assume today’s movie going audience also has a taste for 2800 year-old Greek epic poems).  There are so many characters in this movie that the screen writers found it easier to simply pigeon-hole them into action movie stereotypes than to detail the motivation and conflicts.  Granted, there wasn’t a lot of time but you just can’t squeeze an Epic into a two-plus hour movie simply by calling it an Epic movie.  Even condensing the nine year siege of Troy down to 14 days left them with no room to fit in the scale of this massive story.

On the plus side the movie has more than a few entertaining combat sequences, even though they were a little higher on the splatter-factor than needed (not quite Tarantino gore, but lacking the absurdity to temper it).  The action was fast paced but the violence detracted from it (sure, violence is bad, but please keep the reality out of my escapism).  Particularly cringe-worthy was the drawn out scene where you get to watch a character gurgle and choke, dying from a gaping, bubbling throat wound.  Yummy.  Parents, this movie is violent, well deserving of its ‘R’ rating.

The movie also features the maximum amount of beefcake allowable by law.  So if you intend this as a date movie be forewarned: you’ll either look like a sicko for taking your date to see the violence or you’ll look like a fat putz compared to the well muscled (and extremely well oiled) bodies of Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana.

All said, this movie is definitely worth a rental.  It’s quite well filmed so you’d do well to take the rental over to the house of your friend with the really big TV and bitchin’ sound setup.  If you really want to see it on the big screen, please don’t pay full price.  I paid ten bucks and am still steamed 24hrs later.

Rating: Rental

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