Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Illiad, Troy, and Brad Pitt

Last night I happened to turn on the TV and what should appear on the screen but my favorite fight/battle scene of any movie - the fight between Achilles and Hector in the movie Troy.

When the movie first came out I was so disappointed in the choice of Brad Pitt to play the legendary warrior Achilles, that I almost didn't go see the movie.

But, as you can see, Brad Pitt was a very nice choice indeed:

In fact, just about all of my favorite scenes in the movie have Brad Pitt in them. Not just because he happens to *ahem* look good, but because of the way the action plays out.

And I must say, too, that Eric Bana was a superb Hector, Hero of Troy:

In the scene where Achilles challenges Hector before the walls of Troy, the two actors didn't use stunt doubles. It was all them.

Now, I've never actually seen combat between two actual warriors before, but if I ever had, I think that it would go something like this:

Before I saw the movie, I got a hold of Robert Fagles' translation of The Illiad and read it. It reads almost like a regular book and not an epic poem written thousands of years ago. I would highly recommend this translation.

And I may be strung up by purists for saying this, but I think that the movie did a very good job of "modernizing" the tale. I think I like what the script writers did with the epic characters to bring some actual humanity to them instead of merely presenting them as iconic warriors, queens, kings, etc.

And lastly, but not leastly, I liked Brad Pitt's pronounciation of Patroclus, his cousin's name. It sounds almost like Patrick, with the emphasis on the 'a'. Somehow that was touching to me, that he pronounced it that way, and not in the grand way with the emphasis on the 'o'.

Anyway. That's my take on Troy and Robert Fagles' translation of The Illiad.

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