Troy (2004): Movie Review
Troy: The Myth Behind the Movie
Wolfgang Petersen brought an important historical epic event to the silver screens through the movie entitled Troy in 2004. The movie stars a list of Hollywood’s finest actors to play the role of Greek history’s prominent figures such as Achilles (Brad Pitt), Prince Hector (Eric Bana), Prince Paris (Orlando Bloom), Helen of Troy (Diane Kruger) and a whole lot more. However, the underlying question here is whether or not the events depicted in the movies is really what history told. The movie will be analyzed for its historical accuracy looking to how the movie deviated from the actual historical events. Specific examples of such events will be discussed in the paper comparing the events between the film and that of historical accounts. The identified inaccuracies will also be evaluated for its implication to understanding history and what the screenwriters did to deviate the storyline away from the actual historical account. The movie is an adaptation of historical accounts that were also mentioned in the annals of ancient literatures. However, cinematic elements and filmmaking techniques have contributed to the deviation of the movie’s storyline from the real factual events in history.
The City of Troy
The first question is here whether the city of Troy really exists or not. In the movie, the city of Troy was set in Mediterranean part of Europe. However, the real city of Troy was believed to be a myth as described in the Greek poem “The Iliad” and Homer’s eighth or ninth century Epic. The area commonly referred to as the site of the former great kingdom of Troy was said to be part of the “Nine cities” that were built on top of the other. The city of Troy as described in Homer’s epic was close to the seventh city built between 1200-1190 B.C. The closest candidate to be the city of Troy according to British Archeologist Frank Calvert was the site called Hisarlink in the Northwestern part of Turkey. This account of Troy’s location is different from the movie itself because the city appeared to be in an unknown part of ancient Greece.
The movie deviate’s itself from the real historical accounts based on the depicted characters. For instance, the name Achilles depicted in the movie as a heroic Greek warrior actually appears only in myths. In the movie, Achilles plays a key role in the entire movie plot as serves the purpose of becoming Hector’s nemesis. Achilles is the main weapon of King Agamemnon. However, his purpose is not driven by service to the gods or to any king, but to further his celebrity and to serve individuals such as the captured Trojan priestess and princess Briseis. However, history mentions the name of Achilles in Greek mythology as a hero with a very complicated family tree. According to Greek legends, Achilles is a fearless and a very skilled soldier and that his mother Thetis did everything to make him immortal. One of real aspect in the movie that conforms to historical event is the involvement of Achilles in the Trojan War, but the love affair between the priestess Brisies was not elaborately mentioned in the account of Homer’s epic. There is one particular scene in the movie that depicts the fate of Achilles. There was no particular mention of Achilles’s death in Iliad, but rather explains that Achilles returned to Troy to avenged Patroclus’ death and was ambushed by Paris as he entered the palace. However, the movie depicts a different event being Achilles as part of the soldiers that ambushed the kingdom and his death was due to an arrow in the ankle shot by Paris.
The Implications of Inaccuracies
The Trojan War as the central context of the 2004 motion picture had several omissions from the original accounts of Iliad and Homer’s epic poem. The Achaean Greek kingdoms brought devastation to the Trojan kingdom as part of the siege depicted in the movie as a pure epic romance and action flick inspired only by the Iliad. There is an apparent deviation from the original poem that depicts gods, war and nymphs that the movie supposedly has not omitted because such aspect of the original story is a statement of ancient culture. Another noticeable inaccuracy is Helen’s statement that Sparta was never her home, but history tells that her father and mother was the King and Queen of Sparta and that her marriage to King Menelaus was her ticket to the throne of Sparta. These and several inaccuracies make it difficult to understand history because if a person looks into films for historical reference, it would be a misleading context that may come across. The criticality of the information contained in books and literary pieces signifies factual evidence that relates the present from the past and at some point serves the purpose of reference for the future. However, it would be a difficult task to understand where history is leading the human civilization if the films as a popular media depict a misleading context that are claimed to be historically correct.
One could only speculate that the writers deviated from the real accounts in history for the reason of sensationalizing the real facts. There are controversies present in facts that are not socially acceptable and screenwriters tend to omit that information to cater the critical minds of moviegoers. In addition, movie writing is all about fiction and the inclusion of historical facts does not conform to the standards of sensationalized fictions. Others may argue that the real history is boring in general and not merely a film material. In order to give more flavors to the historical context, screenwriters choose to pick the most interesting part of history to depict. Peha (2003) suggests that everybody loves a good story and when history seems to lack such dimension, it is necessary to change the facts in order to suit the taste of the viewing public. In movie making, fiction is about character, what the character wants, where the story goes, how it ends, the changes and the world that was created it. However, history does not have all of important aspects of a sensational fiction, thus changing the story is necessary to bring the story into cinematic proportions.
The movies are fictional masterpieces that even if was adopted from historical context could still not be told as it is in the annals of history. Therefore the movie such as Troy cannot be compared to the original story because the movie was in fact made to create a sensation over the interesting parts of history and not to totally tell the truth about what it was in the past. Troy is a movie that was only inspired by the real thing and not the thing itself.
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National Geographic News. "Is Troy True? The Evidence Behind Movie Myth." Daily Nature and Science News and Headlines. Last modified May 14, 2004. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/05/0514_040514_troy.html.
Peha, Steve. "The Five Facts of Fiction." That Makes Sense Inc (2003): Accessed July 21, 2013. http://www.ttms.org/PDFs/10%20Five%20Facts%20of%20Fiction%20v001%20(Full).pdf
Scott, A O. "Troy (2004) FILM REVIEW; Greeks Bearing Immortality." The New York Times. Last modified May 14, 2004. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9B07E6DE1E3CF937A25756C0A9629C8B63.
Troy. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. 2004. Hollywood, USA: Warner Bros., 2004. Film.
Tunzelmann, Alex von. "Troy, starring Brad Pitt, is a historical travesty | Film | guardian.co.uk." the Guardian. Last modified August 28, 2008. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/aug/28/bradpitt.troy.