Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Yes, Legolas and the Hulk would have made it better

Sadly, not even the Hulk and Legolas could save Troy, as Gabe and Tycho over at Penny Arcade so aptly observed.

My Classical Myth course on the Trojan War had a screening today of Troy tonight. Now, I will first talk about the screening and the class, and then the movie. Becuase these three things are all totally different.

The Class
CLA204H1F L5101 taught by Professor Alison Keith.

Professor Keith is cool. She has an incredible degree of enthusiasm for the material she teaches, and it shows. You can teach the Trojan War mythos in a lot of ways, from a dry, academic discussion on it to "WOO! Go Achilles! Kill those Trojan pigfuckers! Show 'em all for stealin' Menelaus' ho!". Professor Keith finds the perfect balance between these two extremes, showing a phenomenal knowledge of the material, and an honest passion for it.

My only dissapointment with this class is that it wasn't the class I thought I was taking. It is the secondary section of a general Classical Greek Myth course, which teaches the Trojan War mythos rather than the general mythology. The main problem with all this is that I bought a hundred dollar textbook package that was nonrefundable for it...and then I needed to go out and buy three other textbooks. But all in all, it was a really, really cool course.

The Screening

We got this screening early, months before the official DVD release. Victoria College apparently has some swing with the various film companies, and we were able to get it at some ludicrous expense to the Classical Civilizations Student Associations. But Proffesor Keith pushed for it, and we got it.

Two problems arose:
1) It started out widescreen, and was very bleached out thanks to some shoddy projectors.
2) The subtitles (whcih were tagged onto it for some reason) were...wonky. EXTREMLY wonky. Like "all your base are belong to us" wonky. At times characters would talk and what they said wouldn't get any subtitles. At other times, what they said would be accurate (normally very short, simple sentences). Other times, you would get things like this:

Agamemnon (actual line): "Damn him! Ready the ships and pursue them!"

Agamemnon (Subtitle): "Get my ship, buddy!"

Boy (Actual Line): "I am afraid of him."
Achilles (Actual Line): "That is why no one will remember you."

Boy (Subtitle): "I won't fight him."
Achilles (Subtitle): "That's why I'll forget about you."


Man (Actual Line): "I saw her board the Trojan ships!"

Man (Subtitle): "I saw her abort that ships."


Agamemnon (Actual Line): "I should have you whipped for your impudence!"

Agamemnon (Subtitle): "I will work for that incident."

And on, and on, and on. It's a pity I didn't have my laptop with me so I could capture the sheer cheese that were the subtitles. No one's sure why they were there, but we cracked up for about the first half hour until someone talked to the tech people and the movie was put on full screen, without subtitles. I will rent the DVD when it comes out just to see if they're still there.

The Movie

I loved The Iliad. It is a fantastic story.

I hate Troy. It's just a plain god-awful movie. The acting is wooden, the accents are horrible, and the plot makes no sense to those that have read the original work by Homer. Agamemnon can't die, he has to return home to Mycenae to be killed by Clytamnestra for sacraficing his daughter, Iphegenia, to Artemis at Aulis. Where's Diomedes? Where's Aeneas' great duel with Ajax? Where are the fucking GODS???


Suffice to say, I really dislike the movie. The fight scenes are quite nice, and well coreographed, and its nice to see non-Asians with non-rapiers doing good, acrobatic sword fighting. That, in and of itself, captures the martial power of Achilles. The rest of the movie doesn't do the epic justice. Homer's bone particles are vibrating in their grave.

There is only a single saving grace to the plot: Aeneas. Aeneas gets a single three or four sentence exchange with Paris at the end as he helps an old man, presumably his father Anchises, down a secret passage under the city. I predict that Aeneas is already in the works. And that we will similarly see no gods.

Now I need to go study for Roman Civ. And forget that I ever saw Troy.


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