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PCR # 216  (Vol. 5, No. 20)  This edition is for the week of May 10--16, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Two and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Warner Brothers     
Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Brian Cox and Peter O'Toole
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hrs 43 mins

Two hours and six minutes into the "epic" that is "Troy," a soldier asks Achilles (Pitt) when the current war will end. "It never ends," he replies. Wow! If a review could be three words long, those three sum this movie up! "Troy" is a series of mini battles, mini-romances and lots of shots of Pitt, Bana and Bloom in various stages of undress. Good thing they all lived in the Mediterranean or they would catch their death of cold!

The film begins with the all powerful King Agamemnon (Cox) preparing to add another country to his kingdom. The opposing king has proposed his best fighter should fight Agamemnon's. Bad idea. Because Agamemnon's top man is the one and only Achilles. Dipped in the River Styx as a baby, he is rumored to be immortal. Of course, when questioned about it, he disagrees. "I wouldn't need this shield now, would I," he replies. Meanwhile, in another kingdom, Agamemnon's brother, Menelaus, is happily greeting Hector (Bana) and Paris (Bloom), the two young princes of Troy. Sadly, his happiness will soon disappear when he finds out that his beautiful bride, Helen, has run off with the fair Paris. To avenge his name he asks his brother to help him get her back. Having wanted to take over Troy for some time, Agamemnon quickly agrees. Soon, 1000 ships are heading towards Troy. At least it looks like 1000 ships. One of the major disappointments here is the photography. Cinematographer Roger Pratt has done some great work in the past, from the films of Terry Gilliam to the original "Batman" to the most recent "Harry Potter" film. Sadly the film is murky and very rarely do the bright colors of the region fill the screen. I would think that many people are familiar with the story. Paris takes Helen to Troy, the angry king follows. Lots of swordplay. The Trojan horse gets built. SURPRISE! The end. Not too hard to follow. And certainly not a story that requires almost 3 hours to tell. But enough complaints. Let's focus on a few things I did like.

The cast does a good job, which is high praise indeed when you consider how hard it must be to act wearing a leather skirt. For every Kirk Douglas or Russell Crowe there is a Tony Curtis who doesn't belong. Pitt does a credible job as Achilles, not taking his character as seriously as those around him does. Bloom is fine the young Paris, though every time I saw him with a bow and arrow I kept picturing "Lord of the Ring's" Legolas. If he's not careful, he may be typecast as an archer. Of course, I'm sure someone is keen on doing another Robin Hood film so he needn't worry about work. O'Toole adds another king to his distinguished resume as the leader of Troy. But it is Bana who owns the screen. As Hector, he must not only look over his father's kingdom but protect his lovestruck younger brother. It is a heavy weight he bares, and Bana bares it well.

If you really want to see a great film based on a story by Homer, go rent "O 'Brother Where Art Thou." If you have three hours to kill, go see "Troy." On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Troy"  Two and a half stars

This week's movie review of "Troy" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.