Went with my mom and grandma.
The obvious thing from the previews is that there's a whole lot of eye-candy for the womens, this time. Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt and Eric Bana all in one film. I overheard someone accuse Christy of seeing it twice already just to see Brad Pitt's butt.
A couple of the women in the movie were pretty hot, too. Though my grandmother didn't think Polydora (Siri Svegler) was pretty. I dug her, though.
A couple of people I know said that they often don't like Brad Pitt movies, but that they really liked his performance in this one. I generally like his movies, so liking him here wasn't so out of place for me.
I think Jean told me that they diverged from the Homer epic pretty far, and even killed different people than were killed in the book. One big thing I wondered about was whether or not they'd include any divine intervention (I've never read the story, so I don't know if there's any there, but I assume so.) But, and I don't think this will give anything away, they don't include anything supernatural. It's told as if were a historical tale.
Having not read the original, and having not studied Greek history and mythology, I was surprised how many of the names of the characters were familiar to me. Agamemnon, Achilles, Helen of Troy, the Trojan Horse. I mean, I knew the story of the Trojan Horse. But I didn't realize that it had come from Homer's epic.
Similarly, I didn't realize that the "face that launched a thousand ships" referred to how many ships were used by the king to get her back for his brother. A thousand ships of that time, apparently with 50 men each, means a battle force of 50,000 men. An incredible number for that time.
One thing that bugged me in the movie was how uniform the various armies looked. Today, it's accepted that men in an army will be given mass-produced gear, and that they'll necessarily all look pretty similar. But a few thousand years ago, all of that stuff was made by hand. And in fact, probably most of a soldier's gear would be cobbled together from whatever he found lying around, or what he picked from the bodies of his fallen foe. I'm pretty sure the director chose to make them uniform so that the audience could tell the combatants apart during the chaotic fight scenes. But it still caught my attention from time to time.
Braveheart and Lord of the Rings are two movies that did a good job of individualizing combatants. But upon reflection, I guess one side was chaotic while the other was uniform. Hmm, interesting.
The big battles were very well done. I haven't heard how much was CGI and how much was real. I believe most of the big battles were CGI. If so, the CGI was so good that I was never yanked out of the moment. There was one scene fairly late in the movie where they did a fly-over down the battle line and I specifically looked at the shadows and the motion. I think maybe once I saw a character with stiff-looking movement. Maybe. It really was superb.
One CGI effect that did stand out, though, was Achilles/Brad Pitt's leap. Again, I don't know my mythology enough to know if that really was Achilles' signature move. (For some reason I often get Achilles and Mercury confused.) But it looked like they added a blur effect, and maybe the trajectory wasn't quite right. Maybe it really was done with wires, and that's why it doesn't look quite right. Anyway, they used it in two or three fight scenes, maybe five or six times altogether, and it jarred me each time.
They did a good job of compressing the back-story into just a few minutes. Where Agamemnon has gained control of nearly all of the kingdoms across the known world of southern Europe. The only major exception was Troy. And this gave him the excuse he needed to rally everyone against Troy at the same time.
One thing that jumped out at me as the story was playing out was how it started to look like a feud. "He killed my son!" "Well, he killed my cousin, first!" "Well, this other guy killed my brother before that! And, his brother took my brother's woman!" Eventually, it gets to the point where all sides in the conflict have some grievance against the other sides that nobody can remember why they're originally fighting. Sounds kind of childish, don't you think? And disturbingly like the Middle East, today?
One scene that jumped out at me was when the cousin was killed. It's during an enormous battle, yet everything stops around them. I guess maybe I could buy that the nearest coupla hundred people might, maybe, recognize the two who were fighting and try to pay attention to the duel. But, outside of these two, there was no sound of battle. The entirety of 50,000 vs 15,000 armies went still. And when the duel was over, everyone decided that was enough for the day and agreed to kill each other later.
Uhhh, okay, I guess?
There were several tidbits that kind of stood out to me. Like the religious zealots who tried to interpret nearly everything as a sign from the gods. And, I'm not certain the needed to give Achilles a love interest in order to humanize him. But, oh well, this is Hollyweird. And, it was kind of interesting seeing a few of the Braveheart cast in this movie.
On Mighty's Baby Brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Matinee with Popcorn and Drinks. There was a lot I liked about this movie. It was a slick and entertaining romp. But I'm wondering if it did a very good job of capturing the tone of Homer's Illiad.
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