Troy: a Movie of Epic Proportions

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Troy: A Movie of Epic Proportions

Homer’s epic work, The Iliad, has been re-imagined countless times since its inception nearly three millennia ago, but perhaps never on such an ambitious scale as the 2004 blockbuster, starring such Hollywood heavyweights as Brad Pitt, Julie Christie, Orlando Bloom and Peter O’Toole. Critics and audiences had varied responses to Troy’s lavish production and nearly three-hour running time, yet despite one’s opinion of the overall effectiveness of the film, its box office dominance and heavy reliance on universal themes such as love and war make it worthy of critical analysis. Although far from flawless, this version of the well known epic is ripe with dramatic presentation and with distinctly artistic imagery, that supports its take on classic themes like passion, greed, and glory.

It is obvious throughout the movie that the makers of Troy were angling to create a cash cow, with its star-studded cast, sweeping graphics and extensive battle scenes. The film is broadly faithful to the original poem: Paris and Helen spark a war with their love affair, and the famed warrior Achilles is drawn into the battle with the lure of everlasting fame. Spurred by the death of his cousin, Achilles duels with Paris’ brother, Hector, killing the later and sparking a 12-day moratorium on fighting as Troy mourns its prince’s death. During this time, the Greeks devise their legendary plan to invade the city using a giant wooden horse with a hidden squadron of soldiers inside, which is brought into the city by the Trojans. Achilles leads the Greeks in their devastation of Troy, but dies after Paris shoots him in several locations, including his heel. Within this rough outline, it is obvious that the film seeks to convey classic takes on the universal themes of war, mortality, passion, honor, and love. War and mortality are treated with a nuanced ambivalence: Battle provides justice for wrongs and the glory of ever-lasting life, in the sense...
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