We went to see Troy last night, though not out of any genuine desire to see the film (not even the promise of shirtless Brad was sufficient could do that). It was a social thing, to catch up with a couple of old friends. I do sometimes miss those days when the gang would meet up most weekends for dinner, movie and coffee - mind you, in those days I usually chose the movie and it was usually an arty film rather than a Hollywood film.
Anyway, I haven't read The Iliad, The Eniad, nor The Odyssey, so I wasn't in a position to do any comparisons between the movie and the text it is supposed to be based on. I did know, via the newspapers, that the movie was devoid of actual divine beings. They also informed me that Achilles had been transformed from a man deeply in love with another man, to a ladies man. I also knew that the time scale was drastically compressed. So I tried to view it as just a story (although I would've liked to see Cassandra, the prophetess whose curse was that no-one would ever believe her, in there somewhere).
I found it a really frustrating story. When the Trojan priestess fell in love with Achilles, I wanted to yell at her for siding with the very guy who was instrumental in the ruin of her city state (yeah yeah, he saved her life). I wanted to shake Achilles and tell him to make his bloody mind up - fight on Agamamnon's side, or don't, but just stop being so damned fickle. I wanted to kick Helen and Paris in the shins for their extreme lack of foresight in running off together. I wanted to slap Priam for putting his belief in the astrologer and his bird signs, instead of the recommendations of a highly experienced and successful general (Hector, his eldest son).
Sometimes it felt like I was watching a tribute to the Lord of the Rings movies; this was during all the cast-of-thousands scenes of soldiers marching in formation with high volume stomping.
The best things about Troy? One is the that the film makers managed to avoid using any Matrix-style special effects in the fight scenes (makes a nice change). The other is the fight scene between Hector and Achilles.
It wasn't a bad movie, but it didn't have the hero-overcomes-all feelgood resonance of Gladiator (which I didn't love), its closest comparison.