Saturday, May 22, 2004

Watched Troy yesterday with my bro. I was reluctant to do so, but there wasn't an evening screening for Van Helsing at that cinema. Not that I thought the latter was any better than the former. Van Helsing is just shorter and less pretentious in a Marvel vs. Capcom kind of way. But it's always been Wolverine vs. the whole frigging world anyhow :p

The only things I enjoyed in the entire film (seeing as I'm a heterosexual male and hence do not lust after well-built, half-naked men in skirts) were:

1) The balls of fire scene. Very cool concept.

2) The Hector vs. Achilles duel. Excellent forms and choreography. The sequence appeared to have been inspired by 70's and 80's kungfu flicks. Elements like Eric Bana's exaggerated fatigue and Brad Pitt's pauses while in stance and trapping moves. And the end of the fight comes abruptly after a blurred flurry of strokes. If you still fail to get the idea, the background music for the duel comprises solely drumbeats a la Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi's night fight in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

3) Some nicely composed shots e.g. Achilles against a soft morning sky, with the smouldering pyre dominating the screen.

Things I found curious:

1) Characterisations. Achilles as uber-soldier with the EQ of a 5 year-old. Agamemnon as slimy politician.

2) Why can't Eric Bana inflect?

3) Why did the scriptwriters create such a flimsy premise for the wooden horse? Odysseus, brilliant strategist and cunning fox that he's supposed to be, gets inspired by a soldier who's whittling a toy horse from his kid. (That was when we walked out, by the way. Out of all the characters in the Iliad, I'd always liked Odysseus the best.)

4) James Horner seems to have run out of ideas for his music. For Troy, he seems to have dipped liberally into Shostakovich's 5th Symphony at least (I've heard Stargate and Star Trek II as well, but will need to confirm that), and apparently hired the same singer who ululated in Gladiator.

I'm not gonna spend more time stringing together whole sentences for this underwhelming effort. Slow-paced, with bland dialogue peppered with throwaway lines that I will use with heavy irony in social situations for hilarity. At least the script is internally consistent (e.g. we see Lego -- umm... Paris training his archery skills early on. Guess how Achilles dies?). The constant references to the plight of the common soldier and his family do add a little more depth and variety to the dialogue. Then again this pretty but emasculated Iliad needs all the help it can get.

Where are the good movies? Is there no-one else? Is there no-one else?

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