Troy review, Troy DVD review

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Buy your copy from Troy (2004) Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Brian Cox, Sean Bean
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Rating: R
Category: Action/Adventure

Based on Homer’s epic poem “The Iliad,” the story of “ Troy” follows a classic battle of gods and warriors in a struggle for love, power and fame. With the release of Wolfgang Petersen’s it-has-to-be-long-to-be-
epic tale of the egocentric Greek and Trojan legends, the battle of Troy takes the jump from history books to film with little consideration, disregarding the story’s historical accuracy and failing to entertain audiences with the kind of flashy battle sequences the summer season demands.

The Greek empire was built on selfish rulers like Agamemnon (Brian Cox), whose dreams of world domination were interrupted when his younger brother Menelaus (Brendon Gleeson), the reining King of Sparta, agreed to a peace treaty with neighboring Troy’s young princes, Hector (Eric Bana) and Paris (Orlando Bloom). After Paris steals the Spartan king’s wife-to-be (Diane Kruger) and takes her back to his kingdom, however, Agamemnon uses his brother’s grief as an excuse to attack Troy. The Greeks quickly learn that the Trojan army is more impressive than they expected, leading Agamemnon to seek help from the immortalized warrior, Achilles (Brad Pitt). Other legendary Greeks show up throughout the film, like Jax and Odysseus (Sean Bean), but the story primarily follows Achilles and his lust for undying fame, an accomplishment he will gladly accept in exchange for serving a king he despises.

“Troy” is not the epic of the season, let alone of its time, with films like “Lord of the Rings” and “Braveheart” effortlessly accomplishing far greater feats than the overdone summer-movie machine. The film’s story about a great war isn’t enhanced by the astounding battle scenes we’ve come to expect from similar projects, either, and its sour ending falls flat. On top of that, the usually luminous Pitt simply can’t fill Achilles’ fabled sandals, delivering a lousy performance that rings hollow and stinks of overacting. The film’s other stars (Cox and Bana to name a few) deliver solid portrayals of the various warriors, suggesting that “Troy” could have been a success had they not relied so heavily on Pitt’s star power.

High school was always more about the Homeric “D’oh” than the Homeric poem, but this modern update will try to breathe new life into the archaic tale by appealing to MTV teenyboppers with posters of blue-eyed stude hanging in their lockers. “Troy” is a respectable attempt at re-creating a classic, but the film has more than enough flaws to eliminate any Oscar attention, and while it may look flashy and impressive in its trailers, it's ultimately yet another sword-and-sandals flick gone wrong.

Director's Cut DVD Review:
Is it just me or does the sword-and-sandals genre seem tailor-made for director’s cut DVDs? Over the course of the past two years, moviegoers have seen three different films receive this treatment – “Gladiator,” “Alexander” and “Kingdom of Heaven” – and now, you can add a fourth to the list: Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy.” How directors like Petersen, Oliver Stone and Ridley Scott fail to attain final cut on their films these days is beyond me, but it appears studios were so worried over the massive amounts of money poured into these epic films that they ultimately chose to interfere. Okay, so “Gladiator” was a great film before the release of the director’s cut, but it’s certainly in the minority here.

As has been witnessed with the re-release of Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven,” sometimes a longer cut of a film can benefit from being more focused, and that couldn’t be any truer with the 196-minute cut of “Troy.” A monstrous 33 minutes longer than the theatrical version of the film, Petersen’s all-encompassing look at Homer’s famous poem offers stronger character development and much more blood, and in the end, registers as a far better film than its 2004 counterpart.

Regrettably, with the exception of the new cut (which spans two discs), and a collection of mini-featurettes on production (“Troy in Focus”), there’s nothing you’ll find that isn’t already on the previously released DVD. Still, diehard fans of the film will definitely want to double-dip for this edition, while those who didn’t like it the first time around will certainly reconsider after seeing the new cut.

~Jason Zingale

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