Pitt’s Achilles Stands Tall in Galliant Myth ‘Troy’

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el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">ARIN MIKALIAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The clanking of swords is a common sound effect in movies, or at least it used to be. The classic adventures of knights and warriors seem to have faded away and have been replaced with stories about gangs, guns and drug dealers. But sometimes movie studios decide to take a trip back to the heyday of epics and usually, the gamble pays off. In the case of “Troy,” Warner Brothers took the risk of retelling a story in a genre that has almost been forgotten.

“Troy” is the newest film from director Wolfgang Peterson, who is used to creating such epic films such as “The Perfect Storm” and probably his best film, “Das Boot.”

“Troy” opens in ancient Greece. One of the world’s most powerful leaders, Agamemnon, played by Brian Cox, has already conquered several other nations and is using its soldiers to do his bidding. Now he is looking for an opportunity to conquer the city of Troy. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to wait long since one of the princes of Troy, Paris, played by Orlando Bloom, steals Helen, the wife of Menelaus, Agamemnon’s brother. Menelaus is greatly insulted and asks his brother for help. Agamemnon now has his chance to attack Troy, but he is going to need one strong weapon to help bring down the walls of Troy. Enter Achilles.

Achilles, the great epic hero, is played by Brad Pitt. Now with everything in place, Agamemnon sets sail while Troy gets ready to protect its walls. ?

Sure, the story sounds complicated and involving, but to tell a good story, you have to have a good beginning as well. The relationship between Helen, played by Diane Kruger and Paris is what really gets the film off to a slow start. ?

There are several scenes where the two are in a bedroom saying how much they love each other. A really cheesy romance is what often kills a good action/adventure movie and it’s not a good sign if one is included in the beginning of the film.

We already know that by Paris stealing Helen away from her husband was what sparked the attack; there was no need to further develop on it. Fortunately, “Troy” is almost three hours long with a total running time of 162 minutes. Take away the first 60 minutes and “Troy” still has plenty of time to redeem itself, and it does. ?

The film quickly picks up after Agamemnon and his army arrives at Troy and begins their invasion. At the same time the Trojans, led by the son of the King and Paris’ brother Hector, played by Eric Bana, prepares his army for the attack. The battle scenes between the Greeks and the Trojans is what truly makes “Troy” an epic war film.

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Although it takes a while, “Troy” eventually picks up on what it should have been about; honor, trust, loyalty and warriors pride. ?

All of the warriors killed in battle are given proper funerals, even by their enemies who had killed them, something that is not done anymore today. Also, warriors obey the commands of their kings not only because they have more power, but also because the warriors will do anything to protect their country.

Adversaries such as Hector and Achilles pay respect to each other before they do battle. In fact, at one point in the film Hector and Achilles have an intense one on one battle and Hector trips over a stone, but instead of taking advantage, Achilles waits for Hector to rise up and regain his balance before they continue fighting. All these factored into the authenticity of the film and of its time period. This is something Peterson achieved in his presentation.?

There are also many characters in the film, but the story mostly revolves around Achilles who leads his own pack into the attack of Troy, and Hector who leads his army in the invasion. Eric Bana did a fine job of portraying a warrior who will always be loyal to his state, but the true star of the film is Brad Pitt. ?

Pitt’s performance is nearly flawless, as he seemingly inhabits the character of Achilles. He does a good job of being arrogant like all prideful warriors, but at the same time appears stone cold in battle. Achilles does not fear other swords; he makes those around him fear his. Pitt fit the role of Achilles so well that just like the warriors we are feared and intimidated by his presence.?

As the film reaches its climax, we are treated to a superbly satisfying ending with no cliffhangers or a feeling of something not being absolved. There is a finished feel to the whole movie. At the end we learn that all warriors want their name to be remembered for a long time after they die, and this was Achilles’ ultimate wish.

Although “Troy” could use some tweaking in its earlier stages, hopefully the story like a warrior’s legacy will be passed onto a new generation.?

Final Score:?

*** (Out of four.)