FOR HONOR. FOR VICTORY. FOR LOVE. FOR DESTINY. FOR PASSION. FOR TROY.
You can always rely on director Wolfgang Petersen to make you care about what happens in an action movie; he knows how to tell an exciting story. This one looks a lot like the old epics about the Roman Empire, but this time the Greeks are at the center, as their king declares war on Troy with some reluctant help from the greatest warrior in the world, Achilles. Liberties have been taken with this adaptation of “The Iliad” (the gods have been removed), but it’s good, albeit longish, entertainment with impressive visual effects. Brad Pitt, intentionally sculpted like a Greek statue, is OK as a grumpy Achilles and Peter O’Toole quite moving as the king of Troy.
2004-Britain-Malta. 162 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Wolfgang Petersen, Diana Rathbun, Colin Wilson. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Screenplay: David Benioff. Poem: Homer (“The Iliad”). Cinematography: Roger Pratt. Music: James Horner. Cast: Brad Pitt (Achilles), Eric Bana (Hector), Orlando Bloom (Paris), Diane Kruger, Brian Cox, Sean Bean… Rose Byrne, Brendan Gleeson, Peter O’Toole, Julie Christie.
Trivia: Terry Gilliam was allegedly considered for directing duties; Keira Knightley for a small part. Gabriel Yared’s original score was rejected and replaced with James Horner’s music. Alternative film version runs 192 min.
Last word: “There is no such thing as a faithful adaptation. Even when I adapted my own (very slim, very un-epic) novel [‘The 25th Hour’], I had to eliminate one of my favorite characters, because there simply wasn’t enough time to tell his story along with everyone else’s. Every adaptation requires that the screenwriter make difficult choices – and in particular, difficult cuts. In the case of ‘Troy’, I chose to tell the human story: the story of Helen’s love for Paris, of Achilles’ epic duel with Hector, of the fatal trap that Odysseus sprung on the Trojans. The gods do not appear on screen but their presence is everywhere and their influence profound.” (Benioff, BBC)