Because I'm that much of an enthusiast, I was trying to convince myself there was nothing wrong with this movie, that it was good, that there was no fault with it, even though some parts set my teeth on edge and made me go 'WTF?'
Who was I kidding?
Because I'm usually a postive, optimistic kinda gal, I'll list the good points before indulging you into why I gave it a very reluctant thumbs down.
The battle scenes and violence content were exceptional.
The acting wasn't horrible all round.
Brad Pitt played Achilles convincingly, and was hot while he was at it.
Diane Kruger (Helen) was hot, oh and played a good part too.
The atmosphere was reasonably convincing.
SOME scenes were well done (Achilles reaction to Patroclus' death...) ok, anything Brad Pitt did was good, I'm not saying that because he's hot, I'm saying it because he acted the part well.
The horse looked realistic as something built from bits of ships, plus it just had something cool about it.
The sets were terrific.
I reckon it would have been a hell of a lot better if it had hmm... I dunno... stuck to the plot?
Homers bones would be very unhappy dust. His tragic tale of heros and a long, arduous war and a cunning way to stop it going past ten years, all thrown to the wayside for what? Wasn't Paris and Helen romance enough, with plenty of trouble to help string along a plot line? Obviously not.
Achilles had to have a love interest too.
Briseis, Briseis, Briseis.
Yes, it is quite true she was in the story itself, but she wasn't a very prominent character. It says Achilles was fond of her, until Agamemon took her away, along with his own prize, because he was the Great King blah blah. He never gave her back, NOTHING Agamemnon threw at Achilles in ways of riches, land, his choice of his sisters as brides (plus Brizzy thrown in and some lesbians too), quality of life, would sway Achilles to forgive him and to fight, not even when Odysseus pushed him to accept his grand offer.
That was one of my main gripes with it, but not my only. The first one I encountered was Thetis. She was immortal, a water nymph, a goddess. Why, in all of Hades, did she look old? If I was a nymph I'd look young forever... *scratches head*
Secondly, instead of 10 years, the war seemed to take a month at the most. Agamemnon and Menelaus looked like they were going to die of a heart attack before they even left (although they did play good parts and were reasonably authentic).
That brings me to two more points: The individual demises of the Atreidiae.
Agamemnon survived the war. He died when he got home, killed along with his son, by his wife. Briseis did NOT kill him while Troy burned.
The fight between Paris and Menelaus was utter crap!! As soon as Paris wore a helmet without chin straps I figured something was up. It was a travesty. Menelaus did not die that way!
Achilles is invincible. Why does he need to dodge attacks? Spears and arrows bounce off him. Why bother wearing armour then? Cos it looks styley and because he's half god, mumsy can go get him a lovely suit of armour forged by Hephaestus! Thetis was a bitch for not telling him about his heel. He could have worn a giant bronze boot and stomped his way through the Trojans. Bleh. He looked good leaping around and getting those sneaky attacks in though.
Because I am a big fan of the dwellers in Olympus, I felt that side was being particularly let down. It was almost like they were an afterthought, even though the whole war was started on THEIR behalf. In the Iliad itself, they are mentioned a lot, as one would expect, they are like natrual forces with a character, and that's what gives it the extra boost, and added dimensions from all the other ho-hum bollocks out there. Where were the gods to play their little games? To argue with each other about their involvement and all? Thetis pleading Great Zeus for new armour for her son? THATS where the beauty lies!!! (apart from Helen). That is the contrasting side to all the violence and stuff that carries on on the battlefield. During one of Achilles speeches to... someone (I can't remember), maybe Brizzy the priestess, he wasn't too happy with the gods existence, or at least speaking on their behalf like he knew everything, that they were envious of people because they died (maybe thats why Thetis chose to look old, I dunno.. it was all very bizarre). I wanted to see deities, dammit!!
Paris was a goatherd originally, or so he thought, until he learned that his parents wanted him dead because if he were to live it was said in a prophecy (from Cassandra, whom no-one believed (it was a curse and stuff)), that Troys golden walls would fall. In this movie, it was portrayed that Paris and Hector had been brothers from day one. That brings me to Cassandra. She had a larger part in this to play than Briseis, not to mention higher-born, and she was nowhere to be seen.
I sat and watched Hollywood make a big budget mockery out of a beloved poetic tale which I have adored for the last 18 years. They completely butchered it. For the life of me I do not understand why it was altered. I can only say, that if you have NEVER EVER EVER read the Iliad, or heard about the Trojan War in all your life, go see this movie, it has some amazing bloodshed, and long hair with beads in it, and shiny things. If you are picky about the plot, which a lot of others wouldn't care a sack of grain for, "Helen of Troy" is a much better, although a little more low budget option. The only glitch in that, is that Achilles is a bald-headed brute in leather 'bondage' armour that sings Agamemnons praises all the time (what were they smoking?). Oh well, can't win em all.
/Greek Geek mode.