For a movie loosely based on a poem written thousands of years ago, the director and screenwriter have done an excellent job in re-creating the epic story and the ancient world on the screen, which was probably quite a difficult task. The production is fantastic, visual effects are great, and yet my opinion on Troy is divided in two: The movie is built in such a way that we, the viewers, aren't entirely sure who are the bad guys. Brad Pitt's Achilles is displayed as the star, the hero, and yet he fights for the Greeks, who are displayed as brutal warriors under the rule of a greedy tyrant, Agamemnon. In fact, the entire Trojan War was started only because of the greed of the king of Sparta, Menelaus. Paris, the prince of Troy (son of Priam, the king) took Helen, Menelaus' wife, back to Troy with him after a peace meeting in Sparta. This enraged Menelaus and so Agamemnon, his brother, rounded up the entire Greek army to attack Troy and retrieve his wife. On the other hand, the Trojans are sort of shown as the "good guys". Just because of one mistake that Paris made, the Trojans now have to hold back an attack of 50,000 Greeks, while loosing thousands of husbands, sons and cousins in the process. Hector is displayed as a family man: He doesn't want to go to war, he'd rather stay home with his wife and newborn child, but he is loyal to Troy and must fight for her. This is slightly different than the way the Trojan War had always been conveyed to me: Helen did not run off with Paris, but Paris seduced her and practically kidnapped her with him back to Troy. Hector was a big, brutal warrior who had absolutely no problem with killing as many people as he possibly could. I really liked the way the movie showed the Trojans as the good guys and the Greeks as the evil, greedy tyrants. It's definitely a fresh and original approach to the story.
Production-wise the movie is stunning. The costumes, the sets, and the weapons
everything is top-notch, with excellent attention to details. The visuals are also stunning. The shot of Brad Pitt standing on the deck of a ship with the camera slowly zooming out, eventually revealing the entire Greek navy consisting of 1,000 ships is really a treat to the eye. The computer graphics are excellent. It's really hard to tell in the huge battle scenes which soldiers are computer graphics and which are extras, although you know that some of them must be CG because there are so many. The long shots of the city of Troy are also great eye candy. In all, the one thing this movie is especially excellent at is entertaining, and it is definitely a visually satisfying movie.
The acting is also pretty good. Brian Cox definitely stands out as the power-hungry Agamemnon. His acting is top-notch. Peter O'Toole is also good as Priam, the king of Troy. Eric Bana was great as Hector, although I don't think he physically matches the part. Brad Pitt wasn't as bad as I was worried he would be. In fact, his acting was quite good. Which brings me to my second opinion: While Brad Pitt's acting was quite good, I just don't think he fits the character of Achilles. It seems as if Brad Pitt wasn't entirely comfortable with Achilles' character, so he took it and dressed it over his own personality, which changed the character a bit. Physically, though, he looks perfect for the part. Eric Bana, on the other hand, is just the opposite. He truly captured the essence of the Hector character, and his acting is great, but I don't think that he physically matches the part. He's just kind of small and scrawny, while Hector is supposed to be taller and more muscular than Achilles, which is not how it seemed in the movie. It also seemed that his character was a bit too weak. He's supposed to be the greatest fighter on Earth, matched only by Achilles, and yet he struggled a bit just to kill Achilles' cousin, who had never even been in a battle before. When you look at how easily Achilles killed the giant soldier in the very beginning of the movie, it kind of makes Hector look far weaker than he's supposed to be. Also, while Agamemnon was supposed to be power-hungry and greedy, he was not hasty, and was considered to be one of the wisest kings. And yet, in the movie he makes very hasty and stupid decisions, which kind of lower his character to a stupid power-hungry oaf, while he was really quite smart. One character that I'm really happy about is Odysseus, played by Sean Bean. His character's essence was truly and perfectly captured: He's cunning, a good warrior and extremely smart. He constantly gives Achilles advice on how to approach Agamemnon, and is conveyed perfectly as Achilles' close friend. Odysseus also suggests various war strategies to Agamemnon, who is reluctant to listen. Now as much as I dislike Orlando Bloom, he actually pulls off the Paris character quite well, and fits the part of the weak, cowardly, naive pretty-boy prince perfectly.
All in all, Troy is definitely an entertaining movie, and the production is remarkable, but a few major historical inaccuracies, strange casting choices and a particularly cliché Hollywood ending lower my appreciation for the film.