We love our heroes, we want them to look up to, to emulate, to even worship. They have been with us from the very ancient past to today. From Beowulf to Superman, from Hercules to the Thor, from Aragon and to Achilles.
Achilles was the hero of the Trojan War, the greatest of all the Greek warriors. He is the central character of Homer’s Iliad.
Achilles was the bravest, the most handsome, and greatest warrior of the army of Agamemnon in the Trojan War. One of the non-Homeric tales of his childhood relates that Thetis dipped Achilles in the waters of the River Styx, by which means he became invulnerable, except for the part of his heel by which she held him—the proverbial “Achilles’ heel.”
The myth of Troy has been told and retold throughout history and Hollywood hasn’t been immune to its lure. Troy, starring Brad Pitt as Achilles was released by Warner Brothers in 2004, directed by the german first-rate action director Wolfgang Petersen.
Wolfgang Petersen’s Trojan War is an attempt to recreate a time based on Homer’s epic poem The Iliad created in 8th Century BC, 300-400 years after the supposed fall of Troy, with some slight variations. The movie recounts the legend of the Trojan War as the fortress city is attacked by a Greek army led by Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) of Sparta and Agamemnon (Brian Cox) of Mycenae.
The war has become necessary because of the lust of the young Trojan prince named Paris (Orlando Bloom), who while during a peace mission to Sparta, seduces the city-state’s queen, Helen (Diane Kruger).
The seduction of Helen is the curtain-raiser for the main story, which involves vast Greek armies laying siege to the impenetrable city. Chief among their leaders is Achilles, said to be the greatest warrior of all time. Brad Pitt is the exquisitely contoured Achilles, a highly-strung thoroughbred of a warrior who resents answering to the proud Greek King Agamemnon.
Peter O’Toole is the Trojan King Priam and Julie Christie is still delicately beautiful as Achilles’s mother Thetis. Achilles’ friend Patroclus in the Illiad is played by Garrett Hedlund and is here transformed into his “cousin”, who becomes the motive of a vendetta between Achilles and Hector (Eric Bana).
Brad’s Achilles has a distinctive fighting style. He favors the long run-up and then a sort of exuberant, tarantella-style jump to the victim’s right, knees high, and the sword is plunged round into the opponent’s momentarily exposed body part.
Those looking for a film about the ancient Greek world brought to life as two worlds wage war will get exactly what they are looking for. But they might be wary of a few cliche moments and tedious dialogue intermixed between battles. Troy is Hollywood doing what Hollywood can do well, telling a classic story with some passion, a budget to topple countries ($200 million) in a blockbuster sustained by the extravagant use of epic effects and costly set-pieces.