Brad Pitt stars in Wolfgang Petersen's multi-million-dollar Trojan turkey

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom


Plot Summary: Paris, Prince of Troy (Bloom) elopes with his lover, Helen, Queen of Sparta (Diane Kruger) - understandably upsetting her husband, King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson).

Menelaus turns to his brother, Agamemnon (Brian Cox), powerful King of the Mycenaeans, who uses the defense of his brother's honor as an excuse to declare war on Troy and, hopefully, expand his empire.

In order to conquer Troy, however, Agamennon must rely on the rebellious, unpredictable Achilles (Pitt), the greatest warrior alive.

Review: Sometimes Hollywood gets it spectacularly wrong and Troy - with a budget approaching $175 million, according to some reports - feels like a classic example of that.

Overlong and uninvolving, Troy is an epic story without a heart.

It's not difficult to see where the money went though: The computer-generated "thousand ships" sequences are impressively epic and the battle scenes give The Lord of the Rings movies a run for their money in terms and scale and scope.

Boats and battle scenes aren't enough to carry a movie though, especially not one clocking in at nearly two-and-three-quarter hours, and almost everything else about Troy is bungled.

Every epic tale needs a hero but director Wolfgang Petersen and writer David Benioff can't decide whether the story belongs to Brad Pitt's Achilles or Prince Hector, played by Hulk star Eric Bana - one of the few actors to emerge from this film with much credit.

Despite his heroic good looks, Pitt is horribly miscast as the all-action Achilles, and his screen-time is split between overwrought facial expressions straight from the Joey Tribbiani "smell the fart" school of acting and a peculiar declamatory style reminiscent of badly dubbed martial arts movies.

Pitt only seems comfortable in scenes with his love interest, Rose Byrne, who, as Briseis, is another of the film's few bright spots.

To be fair, Pitt gets little help from Benioff's stodgy, humorless script, which also manages to scupper the best efforts of several other cast members.

Scottish actor Brian Cox, as Agamennon, gives a particularly hammy rendition of his well-worn "bad guy" routine while Peter O'Toole, as Trojan king Priam, merely looks frail and confused.

Sean Bean, as Odysseus (a Greek king with a South Yorkshire accent), struggles manfully with Benioff's protracted philosophizing but doesn't quite come out on top.

The crux of the plot - the romance between Paris and Helen - is also weak.

Orlando Bloom's Paris is a timid, adolescent character while Diane Kruger's insipid Helen of Troy hardly seems worth all the fuss.

Without characters worth caring about to make the movie work, Troy's sky-high production values count for very little.

PTV Rating: 1 out of 5

Czech Premiere: Thu 13th May, 2004
Czech Title: Trója
Runtime: 2 hours, 43 minutes

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