Hey folks, Harry here... Well... I wanna see this one baaaaaaaaad! Wolfgang's set to kick asses with this one! Can't wait. Here's Mr. Sir...
I've been reading your reviews and articles forever but never had a reason to submit before. Tonight, though, I was part of a test screening in Sacramento, and thought you might be interested in what I saw. I'm not a great writer or anything, so please bear with me.
The movie was Troy. First of all, we didn't know what we were going to see until right before the screening. Me and my girlfriend were kind of scared it was going to be Scooby Poo 2 or something. When they announced it was Troy, everybody cheered.
Let me say from the outset, I'm not exactly unbiased. My all-time favorite movies are Spartacus and Ben-Hur, so I guess you could say I'm a fan of the genre. I've wanted to see this movie since I saw that trailer with the ten million ships or whatever, but still, you never know if Hollywood's gonna screw it up.
Well, they didn't. Certain things about this movie are freaking awesome, and certain things are a little off, but all in all, I'd have to see this is pretty close to a masterpiece.
If you know anything about the Trojan War, you know the story. Uh, Paris (Orlando Bloom) is the prince of Troy, and he falls in love with the queen of Sparta (I don't know her name but she's got the best body I've ever seen). So Paris steals her away to Troy, and then Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson, who freaking rocked in 28 Days Later and The General, great movie if you've never seen it), Helen's husband, starts a war to get her back. I've already had a couple beers and if I try to go through the whole plot I think I'll confuse things, but I think people already know the basic drift. So let's get to the movie.
First of all, the fight scenes are sick. I'm a loyal LOTR fan and I don't think any battle scenes will ever match Pelennor and Helm's Deep, but Troy is a whole different kettle of fish. This isn't humans vs. orcs, this is humans vs. humans, and the brutal bloodiness of real combat has never looked more real. I mean, Saving Private Ryan had some awesome moments, but for serious Bronze Age bloodshed, this was revelation. I don't think I ever thought of Brad Pitt as a badass before this (though he was pretty cool in Snatch), but in Troy he's the baddest motherf*er on the planet. I know, I know, all you guys out there are like, "Brad Pitt? Whatever," but trust me-- you don't want to mess with Achilles. He's decapitating Trojans left and right, he's willing to kill ANYONE, friend or foe, if they get in his way. This is not some sweet hero out of your typical flick. Achilles is one dark MF, he's got violence deep in him. Sometimes it seems like he wants to control these rages but he can't. At one point Agamemnon (Brian Cox, probably the best bad guy alive) says something like, "Achilles was born to end lives," and it's true. The man is a gifted killer and he seems to enjoy it.
What's really interesting about this movie is that you're not really told who to root for. Some people will be confused by that ("Hey, who's the good guy?") but I thought it worked. War isn't about heroes fighting villains, it's about a lot of mother's sons dying, and this movie showed that in spades. The most heroic character is probably Hector, played by Eric Bana, who ruled in Chopper (I couldn't even understand his accent half the time in that movie, but he was still the coolest psychopath gangster ever). Hector is a family man. He doesn't want to fight, but he's forced to, and the man is no pushover. His combat with Ajax-- Tyler Mane (Sabretooth in X-Men and Big Sky in pro wrestling!) is possibly the best mano-a-mano duel I've ever seen. No joke. I'm not into the wire-fu crap. I like my fights to look real, to look bloody, to look like two genuine psychos smacking each other down. I'd much rather watch Ultimate Fighting than the fricking Bulletproof Monk or some equivalent crap. Hector vs. Ajax is sheer kick out the jams ass whipping. Ajax just refuses to go down. You can stick a spear in his gut and he'll snap the spear in half and beat your ass with the shaft. You can impale him on a sword and he'll still keep cracking you in the face. I wish there was more Tyler Mane in this movie. He's only got really two scenes, and they're over way too quick.
The women in this movie are scary hot. Not only Helen, but also the slave girl that Achilles falls in love with, and Hector's wife-- yowza! Usually I'm the kind of guy who wants to watch the battle scenes and then snores through the romance stuff, but seeing Helen naked more than keeps my attention. Also, the slave girl is an awesome actress. According to the IMDB her name is Rose Byrne. Keep an eye out for her. I think she's one of the best discoveries to come along in a while.
Okay, I'm starting to drone. I know I didn't give a good summary of the movie or anything, but as I say, if you know the story, you know the basic structure. The visuals are pretty beautiful, I have to say. Costumes, sets, all that stuff, looks perfect.
So what didn't I like? Well, the music. Horrible. Painful. Worst score ever? In a movie that's so close to greatness, this was a weird flaw. But before they screened the flick they said a bunch of the stuff was not completed. Some of the special effects didn't look quite right yet, but I figured that was because they hadn't finished them yet. So maybe the music's crap because it's not the real music? I sure hope so. I almost never even notice movie music but this stuff was aggresively nauseating.
When Hector and Achilles finally fight, though, I forgot about the music. I forgot about the annoying wheezing guy sitting behind me, I forgot about my girlfriend, I forgot that I was ten days late on my credit card payment, I forgot my goddamn name. This is what movies can do when they're really, really good-- they take you out of your boring, annoying life and put you somewhere far more exciting for two hours.
Troy is really, really good. And without that crappy music it might even be great.
Anyway, sorry Harry, I'm not a real writer, but if you want to print this, call me Mr. Sir. And even if you don't, thanks for years of enjoyment on your kickass site.