Skip to comments.Troy the Movie
Posted on 05/25/2004 7:00:32 AM PDT by JFC
I went to see the movie Troy, reluctantly, last night with my husband. We both turned to each other at the end and said... the left who said the Passion was bloody and so harsh for all eyes, just have no leg to stand on.
I do think Brad Pitt is trying and will be taking the place of Mel Gibson in these type of roles, since Hollywood has left Mel out to dry. I would not recommend seeing it. Unless your into blood, and lots of naked bodies.
It doesn't look like Troy is in for a big payday. It is doing OK but not in relation to the bucks spent on making and marketing the film.
I'm not going to go see it. I already read the book.
My wife made me go see Vanhelsing on Saturday night. Without question one of the worst movies I have ever seen. And I have seen a lot of bad movies.
Russell Crowe is a dough boy
I kinda liked it (or was it the Jr. Mints? :) )
Yes it was definitely one of the worst movies I've ever seen too. What a total waste. A movie that horrible really should have had a ton of T&A and it didn't even have that.
Nope. guess not. Anyway, the picture is here:
Usually sell well in Hollywierd.
Somehow, I'm not seeing Brad Pitt as Achilles.
Eh, if HBO picks it up I might give it a look...otherwise, I can do without it.
How Hollyweird can take a story which is entirely based on the interactions of pagan gods and goddesses and how they impact mortals, delete these personalities entirely, and produce a film based on the story, is beyond me. My only explanation is that the atheists who run Hollyweird find pagan gods and goddesses as offensive as the Judaeo-Christian One.
As for the comparison with "The Passion", the latter movie is almost entirely constructed around the horrific ordeal by torture of the Son of God. I don't believe you can compare it to a movie featuring typical battle scenes in a sword and shield type epic. Its like comparing violence with detailed sadism, which are not really the same things. I didn't see Troy, but read the Illiad. The Illad is replete with battle scenes, but I can't recall any detailed torturing of anybody.
The mere fact that Brad Pitt is in Troy is enough to keep me from viewing it. I remember how he and his wife of "Friends" fame dishonored the President's daughter.
(I might have said disrespected to be more politically correct. Since Honor no longer has any meaning in our society, I guess "to disrespect" as a verb has replaced to dishonor - a true verb.)
The Illiad itself is a masterpiece of battle, illustrating vividly how humans are often the prisoners of their fates or inner passions. I strongly suggest reading it in a good translation if you can't follow the original Greek.
I have heard the movie has been turned into a new edition designed as some kind of hackneyed anti-war flick.
But the CGI battle and ship scenes were great, Peter O'Toole's performance as Priam was masterful, and the guy who played Agamemnon cracked me up every time he was on the screen.
So a mixed bag. Not horrible, but much less than it could have been. Silly as it was, I think I liked Van Helsing better.
I took my two sons (18, 21) to see Van Helsing and we all areed. Not a good movie. Very disappointing. I haven't seen Troy but I also heard it wasn't very good unless you want to see Brad Pitt half naked. I'm too old for Brad. I'll take Mel any day.
Nice statue. The only thing it lacks is the typical figure 8 shaped shiled used by Myceanean warriors.
The Illad describes warfare between individual champions - sort of like the kiind of fighting that in the popular mind occurred in Medieval European battles. Classical Greek battles were between close formations of opposing troops in hoplite armour. Apparently the flick depicted individuals fighting each other in classical hoplite armor, not Mycenaean type armor.
The anachronisms present in the Illiad, which was written long after Mycenaean times, argue to the valid basis of the story.
This movie season is starting off badly. Both Troy and Van Helsing are getting stinker reviews. I don't see many good movies on the horizon this summer (alas, there's no Lord of the Rings to look forward to, either.) A few friends of mine liked Van Helsing, but then I know they had no taste to begin with.
One review said pretty much the same thing and insisted on referring to the character of Achilles as "The Warrior Brad Pitt" or TWBP for short.
Is one of the naked bodies Orlando Bloom's?
I thought Pitt was absolutely terrible. That pretentious pout he had thoughout the movie was distracting. And his real life persona kept coming thru to me, that told me he wasn't that good when I kept thinking of him and his stupid wife.
I've noticed that, too. And The Day After Tomorrow is getting a lot of bad reviews, too. Outside of Shrek 2, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and possibly Spiderman 2, this is going to be another summer of overcostly movies not doing well at the box office.
When I heard first that he was going to be in the movie I thought "I'm there!" I could watch him, fully clothed, read a phone book. Now I don't really want to see the movie. I'm too fond of mythology to pay good money just to watch it mangled.
The movie I am really looking forward to seeing is "The Village," the latest from M. Night Shyamalan. Looks good and creepy. Joaquin Phoenix, William Hurt and Adrien Brody star, three good actors.
Did you catch the trailer for "The Village" that was shown during ABC's broadcast of "Sixth Sense" last month?
I MIGHT catch Troy at the dollar theater this summer, otherwise, I'll just wait for HBO.
I have no idea which site it was but I actually saw "The Village" trailer online several weeks ago. I googled "Shyamalan" and followed the links. Can't wait to see it!
Between the armor and the shield (which, IIRC, were multiple bullhides thick!), these guys must have been monsters. The Rock wouldn't have done them justice... No wonder they needed a chariot to get around.
Ancient Greek (Mycenaean) tactics seems to have had lightly armed and armored spear fodder supporting individual heroes who were nearly invulnerable to attacks by lesser troops. Tactics and strategery were apparently lacking - the Greeks were never able to properly besiege Troy. The Trojan Horse was apparently a major innovation: a siege tower that got the Greeks over the walls and into Troy.
I should have stayed home and drunk myself into oblivion instead.
It had some nice touches.
The Thousand Ships scene was beautiful, and Diane Kruger was a splended Helen. It's easy to believe that she could have launched them all.
The scenery and costumes were good. I liked the armor. The Greeks had a slightly more European look, the Trojans more a Middle Eastern look, which was believable.
And Brad was not bad. He had worked out, and his tough muscular appearance and demeanor made him appropriately brutish. I was hoping against hope that they would surprise me and have him cast as Paris instead of Achilles, a role for which he would have been well suited. (Remember that beautiful bronze statue of ladies-man Paris in the National Museum in Athens?)
Orlando Bloom, by the way, was badly miscast. He was neither pretty enough nor shallow enough for Paris.
Brian Cox and Brendan Gleeson were appropriately brutish as Agamemnon and Menelaus. Sean Bean was good as Ulysses.
But all this notwithstanding, this movie is the biggest Hollywood hack job since Lady Catherine de Berg turned out to be a sweet old lady back in the 1940 Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier "Victorian" Pride and Prejudice atrocity.
Hollywood hacks can not resist "improving" on tales told by far better minds than theirs.
The chances that Brad Pitt--or any of these clowns, for that matter--have actually read The Iliad are between zilch and none. The most they've read, judging from the flick, is the Clift Notes. And they didn't see anything wrong with just switching things around, you know--anyway, who'll know the difference?
Somehow I had the sneaking feeling that they were trying to make some Hollywood statement about the War on Terror but lacked the intelligence to pull it off or to understand that this was hardly the appropriate vehicle.
The real travesties are saved for the end--to keep people from walking out in the beginning.
In this version, Achilles hides in the horse with the footsoldiers--which is unlikely.
Priam--played quite well, as a matter of fact, by Peter O'Toole--is killed in the Temple of Zeus all right, but not in the horrifying manner of legend. You see, Andromache has escaped with Astyanax to Mount Ida.
But the real hack job comes when Briseis--yes, Briseis--beautifully cast as the beautifully beautiful Rose Byrne (she can't help it if these people slept through the Classics 101 lectures)...
In this version she's been elevated to a major character. She's not just Achilles' slave girl; she's his girlfriend--and Trojan royalty.
Anyway, she kills Agamemnon in the end.
No kidding. She really does.
She stabs him with a kife--not a two-headed axe, by the way.
I'm not kidding.
Nevermind the entire Oresteia.
Oh just nevermind.
But if you insist on going to see this thing, don't say I didn't warn you.
And just be glad they didn't think to cast, say, Madonna or Barbra Streissand as Helen and The Three Stooges as the Achaean generals.
As a matter of fact, after I realized the mentality of the morons who made this movie, I was kinda looking forward to the food fight.
"Between the armor and the shield (which, IIRC, were multiple bullhides thick!), these guys must have been monsters. The Rock wouldn't have done them justice... No wonder they needed a chariot to get around."
Well, the armor was probably not as heavy as it looks. Like Medieval armor, its weight was distributed over the body and a soldier today carries about 60 lbs of equipment or more anyway. The Shield may have been used more in a resting a position from the cover of which a spear was thrown rather than in the same fashion as, say, a Roman Scutum. At any rate, these battles were apparently carried on by a proffesional class of warrior aristocrats who had the indulgence of time to practise constantly with their gear while the lower classes supported them. The Greek hoplite or early Roman sodlier was primarily a farmer who took up arms when necessary, and so didn't practise ocntinually with them as these people, the Imperial Legions or the Medieval knight did.
"Ancient Greek (Mycenaean) tactics seems to have had lightly armed and armored spear fodder supporting individual heroes who were nearly invulnerable to attacks by lesser troops."
Reading the Illiad I get the impression that most or all of the fighting men were warrior aristocrats. The guys driving the Chariots may have been lower ranking individuals.
"Tactics and strategery were apparently lacking - the Greeks were never able to properly besiege Troy."
I think tactics and strategy are usually not well-developed in warrior societies. They are more generally the tools of soldiers. Warriors fight for individual recognition more than for a general goal. In a soldier, these priorities are reversed.
"The Trojan Horse was apparently a major innovation: a siege tower that got the Greeks over the walls and into Troy."
I agree with you there, and so do a number of scholars.
Vanhelsing went over well with my 11 yr old son and 12 yr old nephew. It was a double feature (Walking Tall) at the drive in; so the beer (Mrs. Pig drove) and peanuts made them tolerable:-) $12 for 5 people to go to 2 movies at the drive inn. Cheap junk food, soda and beer; better than renting year old movies at blockbuster on a Friday night.
Your comment is so right. I will watch Pride and Prejudice if it's on but it drives me crazy that they're in Victorian, rather than Regency, garb. (No matter the drawbacks of the film, Lawrence Olivier was pretty darn hot in his young days.)
The best is the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries, directed by Simon Langton, with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth!
My wife said she saw Brad on Oprah, and Brad said they didn't change anything except leaving out the Gods.
Like a fool, I, too, decided to give it a chance.
They leave out Agamemnon's killing his own daughter. Menalaus and Agamemnon both die? Helen and Briseis get away!? Achilles actually makes it to the final scene? Achilles is a philosophical type who hates fighting?
And -- a 10 year war is collapsed into 2 weeks???
I am so completely, totally shocked. This is the worst hack-job on a story since Kevin Costner's Robin Hood. And this was such typical Hollywood PC stupidity:
Some day, one of these idiots is going to make a movie about WWII in which Hitler and Churchill meet and decide the entire war in a mano-a-mano fistfight.
And Hitler will win.
Iphegenia and Cassandra are obviously beyond those Neanderthals in Hollywood.
Please don't give them any ideas though. They're likely to make a sequal.
Both of you said this same thing simultaneously? You and your spouse have weird conversations. I'd like to tape record your "spontaneous" dialogues and make a documentary--seriously. (if you really do speak like this to one another)
A book I read recently about the Bronze Age pointed out that most warfare in that time was carried out via chariot. The aristocracy (people like the kings of Pylos, Mycenae, and Troy) were charioteers, or eqeta in Greek. But there is a lot of dispute about how chariots were used, particularly by the Greeks and the Hittites (the Trojans' neighbors, relatives, and sometime rulers.)
The Dendra armor is very heavy and doesn't look good for infantry battle (looks like a wearable garbage can). It looks like a plate-armor version of the long corselets that the Middle Eastern chariot warriors (mariyannu) wore.
There is a theory that the Hittites and Greeks used long lances from chariots, sort of like jousting, while the Egyptians and Canaanites used bows. On the other hand, Robert Drews thinks that chariot tactics were pretty much uniform across the region, with emphasis on the bow. (He mentions Odysseus's bow to make the point that early Greeks may not have had the Classical Greek bias agains the bow.)
The interesting part is this: why do the warriors in the Iliad ride chariots into battle and then dismount? Chariots were the Bronze Age equivalent of a tank or fighter plane in terms of cost, so you would think they would have been used more in battle than just as a battle-taxi. I think there were battle-taxi type vehicles in Assyria and Elam, but they were basically ox- or mule-drawn carts, not particularly fast or expensive.
On the other hand, there is clear evidence of Mycenaean weapons and tactics. Nestor talks about using chariots in battle "like in the old days," there there are references to "great shields" carried by warriors such as Ajax, like the figure eight or tower shields that are shown in Mycenaean art, there are references to silvered swords ("phasganon argyron", which is Myceneaean dialect) that resemble weapons found in Mycenaean tombs, and Odysseus wears a helmet decorated with boars' tusks like those found in Mycenaean tombs (and unlike the bronze helmets of Homer's Dark Age Greece.)
Here are a couple pictures of these "great shields" and boar's tusk helmets.
On the other hand, there is an emphasis on infantry fighting in the Iliad, which may more reflect tactics of Homer's own time (c. 800-700 BC, the Greek Dark Ages, before hoplite warfare began).
But the Iliad may be about a raid on Troy VI or VIIa, toward the end of the Mycenaean period, and historian Robert Drews (in The End of the Bronze Age) makes the argument that the Trojan war 1) really happened and 2) was a seminal event in military history, precipitating the decline of chariot warfare and the growth in importance of infantry toward the beginning of the Iron Age.
Point 1 is relatively uncontroversial (see Michael Wood's In Search of the Trojan War). Point 2 is very radical and is accepted by almost no mainstream scholars, but is rather interesting to ponder.
According to Drews, the Iliad's focus on infantry battle may be based on the exploits of more primitive northern Greeks ("Achaeans") who fought primarily as mercenary infantry skirmishers for the chariot lords of Mycenae and Pylos, and developed infantry tactics to defeat chariot armies, and infantry weapons that are more suited for fast-moving offensive combat than defense (such as javelins or short thrusting spears vs. pikes, round shields vs. tower shields).
Another radical suggestion he makes is that these northern Greeks, together with other barbarians from modern-day Italy and Asia Minor, and maybe a few displaced Mycenaeans from southern Greece or Crete who had turned to raiding, made up the bulk of the so-called "Sea Peoples" who attacked cities in the Eastern Mediterranean about 1200 BC.
Here is a picture that may show "Achaeans" or something like them (the Warrior Vase of Mycenae)
It is noteworthy that the bulk of the "Sea People" mercenaries hired by a Libyan king to help him invade Egypt during the reign of the pharoah Merneptah were "Ekwesh" or "Akhaiwoi", in other words, Achaeans, and that this king may have hired them because of their success against the Trojan charioteers.
Frankly, this stuff faascinates me.
"A book I read recently about the Bronze Age pointed out that most warfare in that time was carried out via chariot."
Does the book imply the actual fighting occurred on chariots, or were they merely used to transport the fighters to the front, or both? What book is it?
"But there is a lot of dispute about how chariots were used, particularly by the Greeks and the Hittites (the Trojans' neighbors, relatives, and sometime rulers.)"
But who WERE the Trojans? What language did they speak? Why no written tablets were ever found at Troy? Even the Mycenaeans had an alphabet - Linear B script at Crete. (A similiar situation pertins to the Phillistines who had a high culture and but apparently no written records).
The Egyptians were introduced to chariotry during the Hyksos invasions and adopted them themselves. From what I can gather, they used them as mobile archer platforms. But then the Ancient Egyptians were familiar with archery and used Libyan and Nubian bowmen. Apparently they did not view archery as unmanly.
"The Dendra armor is very heavy and doesn't look good for infantry battle (looks like a wearable garbage can). It looks like a plate-armor version of the long corselets that the Middle Eastern chariot warriors (mariyannu) wore."
My guess is this was a lot lighter than later European armor, whose weight has been over-estimated anyway. Later European armor was steel, the Dendera Armor was bronze of some type and may have been significantly lighter. Medieval European armor was of three general types: Parade Armor for show, joisting armor - very heavy and typically what the average person pictures, and field armor - which was a lot lighter so the wearer could move around in it, and used in actual combat. Field armor weighed no more than the average WW2 soldier carried around, including his pack. Since knights practised with this stuff every day, I assume they had less of a problem moving around with it, especially as it was evenly distributed, more or less, over the wearer's body. I also recall reading that ancient Greek armor, unlike Medieval Armor, relied more on the effect of the curvature pf the surface to deflect blows and was, accordingly, thinner.
"here is a theory that the Hittites and Greeks used long lances from chariots"
I find this hard to believe. A Chariot is far less manoeverable than a horse.
"On the other hand, Robert Drews thinks that chariot tactics were pretty much uniform across the region, with emphasis on the bow. (He mentions Odysseus's bow to make the point that early Greeks may not have had the Classical Greek bias agains the bow.)"
If I remember correctly, the Trojan stories present Paris in an unfavorable light because he used the bow. I think the Myceanans may have used throwing spears or javelins tossed from moving chariots, then they dismounted and fought on foot with thrusting spears or swords. And if bows were so important to the Myceanans in warfare, why did he leave his at home? Or did he have several bows? Or were bows more the weapon of the chase than hunting weapons? Or perhaps a combination?
"The interesting part is this: why do the warriors in the Iliad ride chariots into battle and then dismount?"
This would make sense if they were used as transport and the warriors used them to toss spears, a la Roman pila, at each other, then dismounted if they didn't kill their opponent and went at it with thrusting spear and sword.
Unlike the Ancient Egyptians, the Mycenaeans appeared to have been a warrior culture, similar, as you point out to the Medieval Knights. In such societies warfare tends to become ritualized even when the ritual might defeat your objective of total battlefield victory.
"there there are references to "great shields" carried by warriors such as Ajax, like the figure eight or tower shields that are shown in Mycenaean art, "
All the more reason to use a chariot in part as transport.
"On the other hand, there is an emphasis on infantry fighting in the Iliad, which may more reflect tactics of Homer's own time (c. 800-700 BC, the Greek Dark Ages, before hoplite warfare began)."
The interesting thing about the Iliad is that it is replete with so many anachronisms - lingustic as well as social. It makes it quite a puzzle to interpret and decipher.
"But the Iliad may be about a raid "
I believe it was an actual event and represents what must have been more than a mere raid. And thanks for that reference, I'll have to check it out. I never heard of point #2. But it is an interesting idea. Perhaps the "Trojan Horse" was an example of a change in tactics - some new kind of siege weapon.
"Another radical suggestion he makes is that these northern Greeks, together with other barbarians from modern-day Italy and Asia Minor, and maybe a few displaced Mycenaeans from southern Greece or Crete who had turned to raiding, made up the bulk of the so-called "Sea Peoples" who attacked cities in the Eastern Mediterranean about 1200 BC."
I read about this theory before. The Ancient Egyptians refer to them by name and some like the Sherdana are thought to refer to identifiable peoples like the Sardinians - who are even today an odd and unique group.
There is also that suspicious tale about Helen and Menelaeus in Egypt.
"It is noteworthy that the bulk of the "Sea People" mercenaries hired by a Libyan king to help him invade Egypt during the reign of the pharoah Merneptah were "Ekwesh" or "Akhaiwoi", in other words, Achaeans, and that this king may have hired them because of their success against the Trojan charioteers."
Interesting. I hadn't read that. But I did read about the Hittite state records which refer to "Achaiwasha" (Spelling?) and to the king of Wulios(Spelling?) (Ilion)and attacks by these Ackaiwasha from across the sea at Wilios. I even think there was a name there that sounded a lot like Alexander (Paris) as a ruler of Wilios.
You may well be right. The book is The End of the Bronze Age by Robert Drews and it argues that chariots were mostly used as mobile platforms for archery. I don't know whether I agree. Certainly true for Egypt, Canaan, Mitanni, and the Aryans in India, and perhaps for Troy and the Hittites as well.
But the Celts used chariots too; the Irish were fighting from chariots until the early Middle Ages. They sometimes used them as battle-taxis or as platforms for throwing javelins or wielding a lance. The bow, among Celts, was not a weapon for chiefs or braves; they had the same attitude toward the bow as the later Greeks. Drews doesn't seem to be aware of Celtic chariotry.
I agree with you about the warrior culture; it was far closer to medieval Europe than to the ancient Egyptians or classical Greeks or Romans.
As for the Trojans, the reason I think they are connected to the Hittites is their location and references to them in Hittite texts. They probably spoke Phrygian (related to Armenian) or Luwian (a language related to Hittite). Also they appear in Hittite records, as you say. Another thing is that "Dardanians", another Homeric term for Trojans, are recorded as fighting for Hittite King Muwatallis at Kadesh.
It does seem that the Mycenaeans had a lot of contact with western Asia Minor, probably settled there as well. Millawanda (Miletus) was one of these settlements. Apparently the Mycenaeans sought slaves from there. The Hittites, as early as the 15th century BC, were complaining about Mycenaeans encroaching in Asia Minor.
I believe the document you are looking for regarding Hittites and Greeks is called the Madduwattas text. You are right about Paris (aka Alaksandas of Wilusa). He made a treaty with one of the Hittite kings.
Drews is my source for the theory about the Achaeans and Libya, but his views are more than a bit out of the mainstream. OTOH, he may be right about this.
Also it is interesting that you mention Sardinians, because the Mycenaeans and possibly Canaanites were trading with Italy and nearby islands. The horned-helmet guys on the Egyptian reliefs were mostly Shardana, or Sardinian mercenaries who also served the Canaanite city of Ugarit. There are stone statues of warriors from Corsica that show the same type of helmets, armor, and swords as the Egyptian reliefs.
I agree that it was more than a raid. And as for the Trojan Horse, I think you are right about it being a sige weapon. We don't see much siege warfare in the Bronze Age, but Homer lived at the height of the Assyrian empire, and no doubt he knew about the siege engines they used. But who invented those? When and why did the Assyrians start using them?
More questions than answers. Bronze Age military history is incredibly hard to understand. Egypt is much easier to figure out than anything else, because of all the written and pictorial records, but when you get to the Hittites and Mycenaeans, then you're really flying blind.
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