PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #218  (Vol. 5, No. 22)  This edition is for the week of May 24--30, 2004.

Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960s to the 1980s: Part Five
 by Will Moriaty
"Soul Plane"
 by Mike Smith
Introducing Myself....On Gaming....Magic: The Gathering....Marvel Origins....What's Ahead
 by Ben Gregory
Review: Van Helsing....Shrek 2 Shreks the Box Office....Mudonna Cancels Israeli Tour Dates
 by Andy Lalino
The Fall of Troy
 by Brandon Jones
The Return of Vampirella....Couch Potato Quick Takes....Shows I'd Like To See
 by Vinnie Blesi
This Week's Issue....Congrats....Consumer Tip....Top 10 Challenge....Meet The Beatles, Part 18
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR
Splash Page


A high-priced epic film that precedes the popcorn extravaganza of the summer films – what are the studios thinking? “Alamo” was a bust that got bumped from the Oscar submissions to reduce the embarrassment of the slow paced, heavy period piece. “Troy” is another example of a movie being a victim of bad timing and poor marketing.

First off, let me confess that I studied classic literature in high school and college. I took an advanced placement Latin class in which we were required to translate the “Aeneid” from the original Latin text. Fun huh? No, not really.

Anyway, I’ve read the “Iliad” and as a writer I’d have to say, what a horrible decision is was to translate this to the screen. Ancient Greece and Romans had a complex belief system that integrated into their Fine Arts. To read the “Iliad” you need to understand their deities and the fundamental belief that these Gods impact daily activities and decisions. You think we have an accountability problem in today’s society?

So, the resulting “Troy” is a Brad Pitt skinfest with Eric Bana (“Hulk”) stealing the show as Hector. The legend of the Trojan War is the fundamental story of Paris, the Prince of Troy, stealing away the gorgeous Spartan Queen, Helen, and instigating a decade long war after a truce between the two nations.

The legendary characters from Homer’s epic are what drove the screenwriter(s) as the story is about Achilles (Pitt), Hector (Bana) and a ton of great performances in underdeveloped roles. Did I mention that this is an epic? The film is over two hours long and we still have underdeveloped characters. Yes. Hence the downfall of “Troy”. Yes, the Trojans are tricked into thinking the giant wooden horse is a gift and bring inside their walls and yes, Achilles is invulnerable until an arrow pierces his heel. But this movie is so bland, with long gaps between entertaining action. Yes, entertaining, because lining up a few hundred extras and using CGI to complement your fight scene has been so overdone, I immediately lose interest.

The hand-to-hand combat between Hector and Achilles was the pinnacle of the movie. Also, it was pretty reliable to the source material. Useless trivia note, Pitt and Bana had a $50 wager from accidental misses (or hits, depending on how you look at it) and Brad had to shell out $550 for his poor aim. (Pitt $750 actual damage to Bana, with $200 returned to Brad.)

Some additional ramblings: Helen was not all that, definitely not worth a war, but how could she be? Peter O’Toole was magnificent as King Priam, delivering some of the most powerful moments in the film. Like “The Alamo”, “Troy” gets drab, boring, and longwinded. Remember the beauty of “LOTR” is that Peter Jackson could always fall back on the nice scenic transitions. We were stuck at “The Alamo” and we're stuck at “Troy”.

As I said, the “Iliad” is a mess to read, so translating it to film without the complex references to the deities and impact of the deities is next to impossible. Scan about five to ten pages and you’d understand what I mean. Apollo, Athena, and Aphrodite are to blame for the Trojan War, not Paris or Agememnon. Even in ancient times, humans weren’t always “responsible for their actions.”

Rating: Two stars, maybe two and a half if you like Brad Pitt or at least like to look at Brad Pitt. Like it or not, other epics are on the way: “King Arthur” is right around the corner and I’d have to check the sheets to see if “Odysseus” or “The Aeneid” gets the greenlight.

"Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.