Troy on DVD
In this age of the new Hollywood action epic, Troy suffers the
same fate as pretty much every other recent entry.
Like The Alamo, King Arthur, The Last Samurai, and Master &
Commander: The Far Side of the World, the filmmakers of Troy spent so much
money making everything look and feel authentic that they couldnt afford
to make the story any more than average.
Troy is, of course, the story of Troy, the ancient city on the
coast of the Aegean Sea. Its a beautiful, powerful city that is the only
thing standing in the way of the Greeks controlling the entire Aegean region.
Led by Achilles (Brad Pitt) and Agamemnon (Brian Cox), the Greek army is quite
a force to be reckoned with. But the Trojans, led by Hector (Eric Bana), are no
slouches, and will not go quietly into the night.
Thus we have a series of intense battles leading up to the
inevitable conclusion (which we wont spoil for you in case youre
unfamiliar with the Trojan War). We delve deeply into the characters and
examine the circumstances that had a hand in starting the war.
Agamemnon was already a power-hungry Greek commander. But when
Helen of Sparta (Diane Kruger) runs off with Paris (Orlando Bloom) and becomes
Helen of Troy, the Greeks decide they want her back and use it as an excuse to
invade. They recruit the greatest fighter in the world, Achilles, and his men,
and send the entire Greek fleet/army across the sea to the beach of Troy.
This $175 million epic definitely looks like a $175 million epic.
There are huge sets, authentic-looking costumes and weapons, and CG pretty much
everywhere. If you pay more attention to the visuals than to the plot,
youre much more likely to enjoy the film.
Director Wolfgang Petersen does his best to take us back 3200
years and bring us into the excitement. Unfortunately, writer David Benioff has
crafted an entirely formulaic epic story and clichéd characters we find
it hard to feel for. In his defense, however, the task was not an easy one. He
had to establish the good guys and the bad guys, while making sure that even
some of the bad guys are good guys. And he had to fill 162 minutes with endless
The battle scenes are pretty hardcore. Like other epics, it
doesnt shield us from the violence and even uses it to display the
brutality of war (but it never gets all preachy and anti-war on us). Everything
is perfectly choreographed and realistic; youre more than willing to
believe that this is how these battles actually went. And you might even cringe
once in awhile if you feel your favorite fighter is about to kick the
proverbial bucket (a prime example is the fight between Hector and Achilles
man, thats intense).
For the first time in his career, Brad Pitt has been miscast.
Hes a fine actor, and were large fans of his, but he just
didnt seem at all right for Achilles. An actor a little bit more talented
and a little bit less pretty would have been a much better choice (and could
have knocked the budget down by a cool $20 million but of course, then
the chicks wouldnt get to ogle Brad Pitt in his battle gear). Eric Bana,
however, is about as perfect a Hector as one could ask for. We also get a
typically intense Orlando Bloom, great performances from Sean Bean, Brian Cox
and Brendan Gleeson, and a few scenes with legendary Peter OToole,
playing Priam, King of Troy.
Troy does its darndest, and succeeds on many points.
Unfortunately, like other similar action epics, it just never really grabs you,
leaving you ultimately dissatisfied. Our guess is that it would hold up better
during multiple viewings after you know what to expect. But however many times
youve seen it, youre still getting a great looking movie with some
awesome action. If thats what youre looking for, then by all means
check out Troy.
Or, better still, watch The Lord of the Rings The Return of the
The DVD presentation of Troy is both good and bad. The video,
presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen is astounding in some parts, and
unacceptably bad in others. During most of the outdoor scenes, it looks lush
and beautiful, with sparkling detail and dull colors that dont look dull
at all. Then, however, you get to some of the indoor scenes, in which it
appears as though they felt we wouldnt notice if they didnt bother
to work on the video. Its grainy and messy and insanely pixilated, but
fortunately they save it for when nothing is really happening (not that that
makes it okay).
The audio makes up for it with a powerful, engrossing Dolby
Digital 5.1 track. During the talking, we can hear all three front channels
separating characters and music and background effects. But when the action
heats up, so do the speakers: the shouts of war, clanging of swords, whizzing
of arrows and running of feet are all distinguishable from each other and
coming from all different directions.
Disc one features the feature, while disc two is chock full of
supplements. Three documentaries examine the films thrilling action
sequences, production design, and the miraculous special
effects. These are not as good as one all-out making-of documentary, but
they spend enough time on each subject to be really informative. We learn about
the grueling process of building these vast sets, and choreographing action
scenes that feature thousands of warriors. Fun stuff. We also get the
films theatrical trailer included.
Troy, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Brian Cox, Sean Bean,
Brendan Gleeson, Peter OToole
Produced by Wolfgang Petersen, Diana
Rathbun, Colin Wilson
Screenplay by David Benioff, Directed by Wolfgang
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