...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Un-Reviews--Take Two

So, continuing from last night's rant, I give you: Troy Screamings Number Two

For starters, a little background on why I am so passionate about this: I am a bona fide Greek mythology geek. I forced my playmates to impersonate Greek gods and Goddesses in first grade and carried my copy of the Iliad with me to freshman's camp eventually. I was THIS close to become a Classical Archeologist, I completed two years of courses before I decided on specializing on medieval archeology instead. During my teaching years back in Budapest, my entry level exams featured a 'name this god/goddess and his/her pantheon' question, because I firmly believe that future archeologists (or, for that matter, anyone in Liberal Arts), regardless of their specialization, need to be familiar with the mythologies of the ancient world, otherwise 2/3 of any art will be unaccessibole for them.

Where to start, where to start? I shall randomly pick some parts or characters of the movie that really ticked me off, and build from there I think. I see it now, that this post WILL make me scream IN WRITING, so please bear with me.

Okay: the whole war is taken care of in about, if we get the timeline right, about two-three weeks. Maximum. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot? I DO understand collapsing timelines, but it can be done right, and it can be done awful. Peter Jackson did a good job in the LOTR trilogy. Petersen totally blew it in 'Troy'. Time is IMPORTANT in this. Time is one of the major characters in Iliad, really. People grow up with the notion that there is a WAR going on outside, that their father can die any day, or their brother, or their husband...marriages happen, children are born...the War lasts TEN years. Think about it. Ten years of war and siege. Continuous negotiations between the leaders. Daily skirmishes, losses and wins, reinforcements for both sides arriving, leaving... What an opportunity to show how to live in constand warfare, what an opportunity to show how warfare can be different and...Oh, wait. This is Hollywood. Forget it. War is So un-PC, let's get it over with, despite the fact that this story is about war the first place. Nevermind.

WHAT is this with all the bloody cousins? Achilles and Patroclus are 'cousins'. Briseis and Hector are 'cousins'. Is this an euphemism for something that, again, is un-PC, or some scriptwriter was just plain lazy? And where the heck is Hecuba and all the rest of Priam's family? I am NOT even getting into the fact that Briseis's figure got shamelessly merged with Chryseis'and Cassandra's. Grrr...

Menelaus portrayed as this hesitating, womanizing, drunken cowardly sloth, who is KILLED in the middle of the movie? Helen CHOSE the guy from about five hundred suitors of hers, for pity's sake! I HATE the constant portrayal of the Atreus brothers as some miserable whiney little brother/arrogant dominant big brother comic combo in modern days. This is 9th c. BC poetry about 12C BC events and situations! Helen was a demigoddess whose stepfather let her choose her future husband because all Hellas was on the verge of civil war when she became of marriageable age.
Before she chose, her stepdad, the King of Sparta (yes, Menelaos inherited his kingdom through his wife, as Tyndareos did not have sons by Leda) made all suitors,who were all kings and princes of city states, swore that
a. they won't kill the chosen one instantly and
b. that if he gets wronged in the future, he shall be aided by them. All of them.

That's why all Greece/Hellas/whatever (there it is, again: ther is NO FRIGGIN’GREECE at this time!) goes to war in the Iliad. They are OATH bound--oaths are SACRED in this world, just like the ancient law of hospitality Paris breaks when he gets away with not only the Spartan king's wife, but his whole treasury (which is conveniently not mentioned in the movie).

Yes, they got Achilles right, okay. Even down to Brad's quasi-emotional monkey-pout, which, as I mentioned before, is hilarious. But then again, Achilles never sat right with me.

Now: either we do a completely realistic reconstruction of a 12th-13th c BC siege and war; in which case, bronze weapons, lamellar/bronze breastplates and chariots ONLY,(WHAT is this crapola with the HUGE swarming armies of HORSEMEN??) Troy is a great ‘tell’settlement from the Anatolian plains, the ships are NOT huge triremes from 4th c BC, just to name a few beefs of mine...or, we treat it as a MYTH with all the bells, whistles, gods, goddesses and supernatural powers, supernatural emotions, ancient customs and the overwhelming sense of fate. Priam and his city is doomed from the very moment the king gives a ship to Paris to fulfill Aphrodite's wish in aiding him to get the most beautiful woman in the world as a wife. Nay, from the very moment they decide they can prevent the demise of their city by placing Queen Hecuba's newborn child to the cold mountainside to prevent him from growing up and to bring fire and destruction. This child then is found first by a she-bear, then by shepherds, grows up to be a beautiful youth and one morning three goddesses pop up out of the thin air in front of him asking him to decide their quarrel about a certain golden apple...But you know, the scriptwriters thought they could do BETTER than that outdated storyline. This blatant attempt of flattening and Hollywoodizing an ancient and pretty much timeless epic just makes me want to puke.

::wipes forehead::

There. How's that for a first? Want to get more?


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