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Last Updated: Friday, 14 May, 2004, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Press reviews: Troy
Trojan horse
The film's special effects have divided the critics
Film critics in the US and the UK have given mixed reviews about Wolfgang Petersen's latest movie Troy.

Los Angeles Times

It should be said that Troy is only half silly. It is also half serious, not to mention half bloody and half talky, half well-acted and half walked through, half faithful to its venerable sources and half wildly invented. Yes, that's an awful lot of halves, but this is a movie that's nearly two and three-quarter hours in length.

Washington Post

Just don't go into Troy expecting adherence to the subtler details of The Iliad. (This movie is to Homer's original what Charlton Heston's The Ten Commandments was to the Old Testament.) For starters, the gods are pretty much gone. No Zeus or Hera. No Aphrodite and the golden apple she offers to Paris. There's frequent mention of the sun god, whose temple Achilles desecrates at one point. But it doesn't seem to mean much that Achilles has sacked the place. There are no consequences. And there's no sense that the deeds of men are intertwined with the will of the Gods, possibly the most significant element of the original.

The Guardian

The second story - or rather storey - is missing: that of the immortal Gods above, presiding capriciously over the humans' fates and disputing among themselves. Their presence is entirely excised, perhaps on the grounds that yet more snowy-haired Brit actors, wandering round up to their ankles in dry ice carrying thunderbolts, would undermine the sweaty, ardent seriousness of Brad, Orlando et al down below. But there is a case for cutting the humans and just making it their story: The Passion of the Zeus, performed entirely in ancient Greek.

Screen Daily

If, in the end, Troy fails to stir the heart as much as it dazzles the eye, it is nevertheless one of the most intelligent and ambitious tentpole blockbusters to come out of Hollywood in some time. After all, it took some guts and not a little hubris to take one of the cornerstones of literature, Homer's Iliad, and turn it into an audience-friendly summer movie. But powerhouse film-maker Wolfgang Petersen has never been intimidated by a challenge, and Troy impresses on more levels than it disappoints.

Daily Telegraph

It's a disgrace. As an adaptation of The Iliad, it's a pathetic joke. But even on its own crude, blockbusting terms, Troy feels like a depressingly ordinary Lord of the Rings spin-off, peppered with uninvolving battle scenes and self-important intrigue.

San Francisco Chronicle

The precedent for Pitt's Achilles is not to be found in Homer but in the Hollywood anti-heroes of the 1970s. Too cool to believe politicians, too cynical to fight for an ideal, he has no hope, just a fatalistic equanimity, and believes only in courage as a value in itself. When it comes to conveying smirky confidence, cocksure heroics and the in-the-moment intensity of a lover who knows who could be dead tomorrow, Pitt is magnetic. His performance falters only when he has to convey Achilles' rage, the mysterious and thinly veiled source of this warrior's effectiveness. Pitt just can't locate the anger, not convincingly.

Hollywood Reporter

To remove the Gods from what is, after all, a Greek myth, is to gut your story. By playing down the divine, you lose the story's sense of fate, destiny and tragedy.

Chicago Sun Times

Troy is based on the epic poem The Iliad by Homer, according to the credits. Homer's estate should sue. The movie sidesteps the existence of the Greek Gods, turns its heroes into action movie cliches and demonstrates that we're getting tired of computer-generated armies. Better a couple of hundred sweaty warriors than two masses of 50,000 men marching toward one another across a sea of special effects.

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