WINE DARK SEA: THE PREQUEL
Troy is not at all a terrible movie. It has many fine scenes and some good characterizations. Sean Bean as Odysseus is all you'd want of the man. ("Is this one of your tricks?" asks Achilles, and Odysseus responds, "You have your sword. I have my tricks.") Paris is the popinjay you'd expect, and Hector is possibly a bit too small, but you can't have him dwarfing Brad Pitt's dour Achilles, so there you go.
What's really the problem is that the movie doesn't know what it wants to be. It starts promisingly enough about Achilles's choice to abandon a happy, forgettable life for immortality and death. But then it gets lost in a love story between him and Briseis. Unlike Michael Jackson, Achilles is definitely a fighter, not a lover, and the Iliad was never a love story.
It doesn't help matters that the filmmakers cheaped out on the tragedy. Andromache makes it into a hidden tunnel with her son, the same tunnel that rescues Aeneas, his father, and a whole passel of escaping Trojans. It even looks like Paris escapes with Briseis. C'mon, all the Trojans bought it. All of them. So did almost all the Greeks, within a couple years of their return. Isn't that the point of the story? I think only Odysseus and, ironically, Menelaos and Helen make it home to domestic bliss.
Oh, and, in this movie, Hector kills Menelaos early on. Huh?
The Greeks swarming into the city at night is as awful as you could hope. It reminded me a good deal of the version I wrote, though you'd expect it would. And the screenwriter made a nice choice not to show Patroclus swiping the armor, so the uninformed audience can assume, like the Trojans, that Achilles is fighting when he is not.
But fundamentally I don't think the movie knows what it is. Is it a romance? A war story? What? Why are we watching? What are we supposed to get out of it?
That's why it's so important to our series that we figure out what our show is supposed to be. I think we're getting there...