Sunday, May 16, 2004

you know you're a U of C student when...

...all you think about during the battle scenes of Troy is the offence-defence balance, and how Troy is the most defensible city in the world and the Greeks are crazy to try and take it from the beaches. ('the beaches of Troy', in a very Normandy-esque fashion) and how bipolarity might not be the most stable, and realist power politics, and strategy. how helen is merely an excuse to launch a thousand ships.

i thought about putting in a warning about spoilers in the title, but eh, you already know the story of Troy, right? and there are no plot spoilers here. not obvious ones anyway. consider yourselves warned at this point.

...and then you stare at the thousand ships sailing across the Aegean Sea and while one part of you marvells ('ooh, ships, pretty, lots of ships, prettier') another part of you thinks about the impossible logistics of landing a thousand ships on the beaches of Troy, unloading their men, setting up camp ('what would they eat? how could you possibly land a thousand ships? do they do it in shifts?') and just finding housing and water and food for 50,000 Greek men most of whom don't want to be there in the first place and would rather spend all day playing dice in the cool hulls of their black ships.

...during the titanic clash between Hector and Achilles part of you goes 'oh, cool fight, even though i know who wins i don't want to see it happen', part of you is going 'hey! cool innovation in Achilles's shield! that's gonna cost Hector...i can't believe what a good idea that innovation is! wow!' (ok maybe that's not the U of C kid, maybe that's the navy brat who wants a bumper sticker that reads 'My Other Vehicle Is A Missile Corvette')

all that said, it was a really good job all round. Orlando Bloom made Paris no more palatable to me than Homer did, so i'm guessing that means he did a good job there, esp since i liked Orlando Bloom immensely as Legolas in LOTR. -grin- Diane Krueger was an awesome Helen: she had just the right classical beauty and otherworldly air and vulnerability to be an extremely sympathetic Helen. i felt that Helen here was not quite true to Homer's Helen, but eh, what else is new in a movie. =) i liked her rendition of Helen, even if at times i didn't really like Helen.

by far away the best character was Eric Bana as Hector. i've always had a big soft spot for Hector, our family-man-turned-hero, and i think Bana did a wonderful job of portraying a really great Hector. he was intense, clever, honest and noble, and did the whole going-to-his-doom-resolute thing very well. at the same time, the movie stays true to Hector-and-Andromache-and-little-baby-Astyanax moments, which rounds him out nicely -father, son, husband, brother, defender of Troy.

i hate to say this but Brad Pitt (i'm not usually a Pitt fan) did an excellent job of being Achilles. of course the movie makes him out to be a far more reformed and sympathetic character than he is (in my opinion) in Homer's tale, but i liked how they took the Briseis ball and ran with it...i've had that in the back of my mind since we did the Fagles translation of the Illiad in my first quarter here at the U of C in Greek Thought and Lit, and it was nice to see it taken to a (rather extreme) conclusion. i'll also make the obligatory female swoon over Those Abs, and Those Legs here. mmmmm-mmm-mmmm. hang on to those, honey.

so. much happier with the movie than i thought i would be, albeit partly because of the whole realist-power-politics thing they were deliberately playing up, and partly because it is so full of symbols and neatly-matching-up parts between Hector and Achilles that it's going to take another couple of viewings before i figure out what is going on in its entirely. and also partly because it's inspiring me to take my old broken annotated copy of the Illiad out of the bookshelf and read it again, paying more attention this time to the Story, not the details. (like the blood and guts and glory aspect of hand-to-hand combat in wars without rifles, where the longest range you had was with the longbow from the walls of the fortress.) and the acting was excellent as well.

and we got some good trailers before the movie started. Ocean's Twelve comes this summer, as does Spiderman 2, and The Chronicles of Riddick, which was Vin Diesel and (implausibly) Dame Judi Dench in the same movie, and lots of things blow up while Vin Diesel beats the crap out of bad guys. what more could a girl want. so this summer's crop of blockbusters is lookin' goood...


At 4:11 PM, May 16, 2004, Blogger perception said...

mmmm, the abs and the legs. *g* but I thought eric bana's acting was far better. The movie wasn't quite the epic it was hyped up to be, but maybe that's just me and the SO. =)

At 11:24 PM, May 16, 2004, Blogger J. said...

oh yeah, eric bana's Hector was by far the best character onscreen, no argument there. (though i am predisposed to like Hector...) i think part of the epic feel of the Iliad was lost because (a) unlike LotR, there's only one of it in slightly over two hours and (b) it compressed time tremendously. it felt like a two week long war, but it really took a decade. it was a siege. but we didn't get the helplessness and the crazy determination and the digging in siege mentality in this movie, obviously.

At 1:04 AM, May 17, 2004, Blogger perception said...

quite true. I kept thinking that the conversations weren't long/deep enough... everything seemed so superficial (incl. Helen who didn't exactly look like she could have launched a thousand ships). But the fireballs were cool!

At 1:49 PM, May 18, 2004, Blogger Readymade said...

"The Chronicles of Riddick" is the sequel to "Pitch Black".


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