Troy
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWolfgang Petersen
Screenplay byDavid Benioff
Based on
Iliad
by
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyRoger Pratt
Edited byPeter Honess
Music byJames Horner
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • May 13, 2004 (2004-05-13) (Cannes)
  • May 14, 2004 (2004-05-14) (United States)
Running time
163 minutes
Countries
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Malta
LanguageEnglish
Budget$175–185 million[1][2]
Box office$497.4 million[1]

Troy is a 2004 epic historical war film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and written by David Benioff. Produced by units in Malta, Mexico and Britain's Shepperton Studios, the film features an ensemble cast led by Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Sean Bean and Orlando Bloom. It is loosely based[3] on Homer's Iliad in its narration of the entire story of the decade-long Trojan War—condensed into little more than a couple of weeks, rather than just the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon in the ninth year. Achilles leads his Myrmidons along with the rest of the Greek army invading the historical city of Troy, defended by Hector's Trojan army. The end of the film (the sack of Troy) is not taken from the Iliad, but rather from Quintus Smyrnaeus's Posthomerica, as the Iliad concludes with Hector's death and funeral.

Troy made over $497 million worldwide, making it the 60th highest-grossing film at the time of its release. However, it received mixed reviews, with critics praising its entertainment value and the performances of Pitt and Bana[4][5][6] while criticizing its story, which was deemed unfaithful to the Iliad.[7][8] It received a nomination for Best Costume Design at the 77th Academy Awards and was the eighth highest-grossing film of 2004.[9]

Plot

In 1250 B.C, King Agamemnon unites the Greek kingdoms. Achilles fights for Agamemnon but despises his arrogance. Prince Hector of Troy and his brother Paris negotiate a peace treaty with Menelaus, King of Sparta. Paris begins an affair with Menelaus' wife, Queen Helen, and he smuggles her aboard his home-bound vessel. Menelaus meets Agamemnon, his elder brother, and asks him to help take Troy. Agamemnon agrees, as conquering Troy would give him control of the Aegean Sea. Agamemnon gets Odysseus, King of Ithaca, to persuade Achilles to join them.

In Troy, King Priam welcomes Helen, and prepares for war. The Greeks invade and take the Trojan beach with the aid of Achilles. Achilles has the temple of Apollo sacked, and claims Briseis—a priestess and the cousin of Paris and Hector—as a slave. He is angered when Agamemnon takes her from him, and decides that he will not aid Agamemnon in the siege. The Trojans meanwhile have assembled their entire army of 25,000 warriors. General Glaucus has confidence in Troy's defenses and the skill of their soldiers; however others argue for diplomacy, prompting Paris to declare he will challenge Menelaus for the right to Helen.

The armies meet outside the walls of Troy. Paris offers to fight Menelaus in exchange for Helen and the city being spared. Agamemnon, intending to take the city regardless, accepts. Menelaus wounds Paris, but is killed by Hector, who breaks the rules of combat to save his brother. Agamemnon orders the Greeks to crush the Trojan army, but the well trained Trojans halt their advance. With casualties mounting due to the archers on Troy's walls and after Hector kills Ajax in single combat, Agamemnon is forced to order the retreat and the Trojan army begins to mount a furious counterattack chasing the Greeks to the beach. Agamemnon gives Briseis to the Greek soldiers for their amusement, but Achilles saves her. Later that night, Briseis sneaks into Achilles' quarters to kill him; instead, she falls for him and they become lovers. Achilles resolves to leave Troy, much to the dismay of Patroclus, his cousin.

Priam orders Hector to retake the beach. Hector leads the entire Trojan army there and engages the Greek army; he fights a man he believes to be Achilles and kills him, only to discover it was actually Patroclus. The armies agree to stop fighting for the day. Achilles is informed of Patroclus' death and vows revenge. Wary of Achilles, Hector shows his wife Andromache a tunnel beneath Troy, telling her that should he die and the city fall, she should take their child and any survivors out of the city.

The next day, Achilles arrives and challenges Hector; they fight until Hector is killed. Achilles attaches Hector's corpse to his chariot and drags him to the beach. Priam sneaks into the Greek camp and implores Achilles to return Hector's body for a proper funeral. Achilles agrees and allows Briseis to return to Troy with Priam, promising a twelve-day truce so that Hector's funeral rites may be held.

The Greeks build a gigantic wooden horse as a peace offering and abandon the beach, hiding their ships nearby. The horse is brought into Troy. That night, Greeks hiding inside the horse emerge and open the city gates for the Greek army to begin the Sack of Troy. The Trojan warriors rouse themselves and attempt to fight the invaders, but they are overwhelmed and slaughtered while civilians are killed or taken as slaves. Andromache and Helen guide some Trojans to safety through the tunnel. Paris gives the Sword of Troy to Aeneas, instructing him to protect the Trojans and find them a new home. As the Greeks penetrate the palace walls Glaucus leads the remaining Trojan soldiers in a brave last stand. The Trojans kill many Greeks but are ultimately overwhelmed and massacred with Odysseus killing Glaucus while Agamemnon kills Priam and captures Briseis, who then fatally stabs Agamemnon. Achilles fights his way through the city and reunites with Briseis. Paris, seeking to avenge his brother, shoots an arrow through Achilles' heel and then several into his body. Achilles bids farewell to Briseis, and watches her flee with Paris before dying. Troy is finally taken by the Greeks and a funeral is held for Achilles.

Cast

Production

The city of Troy was built on the Mediterranean island of Malta at Fort Ricasoli from April to June 2003.[10] Other important scenes were shot in Mellieħa, a small town in the north of Malta, and on the small island of Comino. The outer walls of Troy were built and filmed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.[11] Film production was disrupted for a period after Hurricane Marty affected filming areas.[12] Pitt also suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon during filming which caused the production to delay for several weeks.[13]

The role of Briseis was initially offered to Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, but she turned it down because she was not comfortable doing the lovemaking scenes that were included. The role eventually went to Rose Byrne.[14][15]

Music

Main article: Troy: Music from the Motion Picture

Composer Gabriel Yared originally worked on the score for Troy for over a year, having been hired by the director, Wolfgang Petersen. Tanja Carovska provided vocals on various portions of the music, as she later would on composer James Horner's version of the soundtrack. However, the reactions at test screenings which used an incomplete version of the score were negative, and in less than a day Yared was off the project without a chance to fix or change his music.[16] James Horner composed a replacement score in about four weeks. He used Carovska's vocals again and also included traditional Eastern Mediterranean music and brass instruments. Horner also collaborated with American singer-songwriter Josh Groban and lyricist Cynthia Weil to write an original song for the film's end credits. The product of this collaboration, "Remember Me", was performed by Groban with additional vocals by Carovska.

The soundtrack for the film was released on May 11, 2004, through Reprise Records.

Director's cut

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Troy: Director's Cut was screened at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2007, and received a limited release in Germany in April 2007. Warner Home Video reportedly spent more than $1 million for the director's cut, which includes "at least 1,000 new cuts" or almost 30 minutes extra footage (with a new running time of 196 minutes). The DVD was released on September 18, 2007, in the US. The score of the film was changed dramatically, with many of the female vocals being cut. An addition to the music is the use of Danny Elfman's theme for Planet of the Apes during the pivotal fight between Hector and Achilles in front of the Gates of Troy. Josh Groban's song was removed from the end credits as well.

Various shots were recut and extended. For instance, the love scene between Helen and Paris was reframed to include more nudity of Diane Kruger. The love scene between Achilles and Briseis is also extended. Only one scene was removed: the scene where Helen tends to the wound of Paris is taken out. The battle scenes were also extended, depicting more violence and gore, including much more of Ajax's bloody rampage on the Trojans during the initial attack by the Greek Army. Perhaps most significant was the sacking of Troy, barely present in the theatrical cut, but shown fully here, depicting the soldiers raping women and murdering babies. Characters were provided more time to develop, specifically Priam and Odysseus, the latter being given a humorous introduction scene. More emphasis is given to the internal conflict in Troy between the priests, who believe in omens and signs from the gods to determine the outcome of the war, and military commanders, who believe in practical battle strategies to achieve victory. Lastly, bookend scenes were added: the beginning being a soldier's dog finding its dead master and the end including a sequence where the few surviving Trojans escape to Mount Ida.

There are frequent differences between the Iliad and Troy, most notably relating to the final fates of Paris, Helen, Agamemnon, Achilles and Menelaus. In one of the commentary sequences, the film's writer, David Benioff, said that when it came to deciding whether to follow the Iliad or to do what was best for the film, they always did what seemed best for the film. "I think there are maybe two or three lines in the script that quote Homer," Benioff says. "Any more than that wouldn't have been possible."

Home media

Troy was released on DVD and VHS on January 4, 2005.[17] The director's cut was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 18, 2007.[18][19] The directors cut is the only edition of the film available on Blu-ray, however the theatrical cut was released on HD-DVD.

Reception

Box office

Troy grossed $133.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $364 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $497.4 million, making the film one of the highest grossing films of 2004, alongside The Passion of the Christ, Spider-Man 2 and Shrek 2.[1] When the film was completed, total production costs were approximately $185 million, making Troy one of the most expensive films produced at that time. It was screened out of competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.[20]

The film made $46.9 million in its opening weekend, topping the box office, then $23.9 million in its second weekend falling to second.[1]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, Troy holds an approval rating of 53% based on 229 reviews, with an average rating of 6.00/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "A brawny, entertaining spectacle, but lacking emotional resonance."[21] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[22] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[23]

Roger Ebert rated the film two out of four stars, saying: "Pitt is modern, nuanced, introspective; he brings complexity to a role where it is not required."[4] IGN critics Christopher Monfette and Cindy White praised the director's cut as superior to the early version, evaluating it with eight stars out of ten.[24]

Peter O'Toole, who played Priam, spoke negatively of the film during an appearance at the Savannah Film Festival, stating he walked out of the film fifteen minutes into a screening, and criticized the director, slamming him as "a clown".[25] Years later, Brad Pitt expressed disappointment with the film, saying: "I had to do Troy because [...] I pulled out of another movie and then had to do something for the studio. So I was put in Troy. It wasn't painful, but I realized that the way that movie was being told was not how I wanted it to be. I made my own mistakes in it. What am I trying to say about Troy? I could not get out of the middle of the frame. It was driving me crazy. I'd become spoiled working with David Fincher. It's no slight on Wolfgang Petersen. Das Boot is one of the all-time great films. But somewhere in it, Troy became a commercial kind of thing. Every shot was like, 'Here's the hero!' There was no mystery."[26]

Some have criticized screenwriter David Benioff, who later become one of the creators of the fantasy TV series Game of Thrones, for taking on too much material by covering the complete and lengthy chronology of the Trojan War, but he claimed he was aware of this challenge. He is quoted addressing this rather bluntly in an article by actor David Goldsmith in the journal Creative Screenwriting: "The script covers the Trojan War in its entirety, whereas Iliad is only one fragment of it. I didn't want to have little titles saying, 'Flash forward nine years.' It would have made it more faithful to the source material, but it wouldn't have been effective for the movie. I always followed the route that I thought was better for the movie; if that meant that I was cheating on Homer then so be it."[27]

Accolades

Year Award Category Result
2005 Academy Awards Best Achievement in Costume Design - Bob Ringwood Nominated
2008 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Best DVD Special Edition Release (Director's Cut: Ultimate Collector's Edition) Nominated
2005 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Films - James Horner Won
2005 Awards of the Japanese Academy Best Foreign Film Nominated
2004 Golden Schmoes Awards Biggest Disappointment of the Year Nominated
2004 Golden Schmoes Awards Best Action Sequence of the Year (Hector vs Achilles) Nominated
2004 Golden Trailer Awards Best Music Nominated
2004 Golden Trailer Awards Summer 2004 Blockbuster (For "Greatest War") Nominated
2005 Harry Awards Film Which Most Contributed to the Public Understanding and Appreciation of History Nominated
2004 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in Film/TV - Peter O'Toole Won
2005 London Critics Circle Film Awards British Supporting Actor of the Year - Brian Cox Nominated
2005 Motion Picture Sound Editors Best Sound Editing in Foreign Features Nominated
2005 MTV Movie Awards Best Male Performance - Brad Pitt Nominated
2005 MTV Movie Awards Best Fight - Brad Pitt, Eric Bana Nominated
2004 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Actor - Brad Pitt Nominated
2004 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Most Annoying Fake Accent (Male) - Brad Pitt Nominated
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Action - Brad Pitt Won
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Action Nominated
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Action - Orlando Bloom Nominated
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Fight/Action Sequence Nominated
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Breakout Actor - Garrett Hedlund Nominated
2005 Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture Nominated
2004 World Soundtrack Awards Best Original Song Written for Film ("Remember Me") Nominated
2005 World Stunt Awards Best Fight Nominated
2005 World Stunt Awards Best Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director - Simon Crane Nominated

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Troy (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  2. ^ ""Troy" a mediocre epic - Oct 10, 2005". CNN.com. October 10, 2005.
  3. ^ Haase, Christine (2007). When Heimat Meets Hollywood: German Filmmakers and America, 1985-2005. Camden House. p. 90. ISBN 978-1571132796.
  4. ^ a b Ebert, Roger. "Troy movie review & film summary (2004)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  5. ^ Papamichael, Stella (2004-05-20). "BBC - Films - Troy". BBC. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved 2023-07-28.
  6. ^ Thomson, Desson (2004-05-14). "'Troy:' Brad to the Bone (washingtonpost.com)". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2023-07-28.
  7. ^ "Troy, starring Brad Pitt, is a historical travesty". the Guardian. 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  8. ^ Mclaughlin, William (2015-11-26). "Historical Review: Troy; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly". WAR HISTORY ONLINE. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  9. ^ "2004 Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  10. ^ Flynn, Gillian (May 2004). "MEN AND MYTHS". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2012-12-04. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  11. ^ "Troy - Malta Movie Map". MaltaMovieMap.VisitMalta.com. Archived from the original on 2004-02-07. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  12. ^ Bowen, Kitt (September 29, 2003). "News, Sept. 29: Arrests on Set of Brad Pitt Film, 50 Cent Buys Mike Tyson's Mansion, "Wonder Woman" Gets Screen Treatment". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  13. ^ "For Pitt's sake". The Sydney Morning Herald. May 7, 2004. Archived from the original on April 6, 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  14. ^ Entertainment Desk (April 5, 2021). "When Aishwarya Rai revealed why she refused to do Brad Pitt's Troy". The Indian Express. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  15. ^ HT Entertainment Desk (15 July 2020). "When Aishwarya Rai turned down Troy, Brad Pitt expressed regret: 'I think we missed an opportunity'". Hindustan Times. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  16. ^ "The Score of Troy - A Mystery Unveiled: by Gabriel Yared". TheScreamOnline.com. Archived from the original on 2011-01-09. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  17. ^ Petersen, Wolfgang (2005-01-04), Troy, Warner Home Video, retrieved 2018-01-03
  18. ^ Petersen, Wolfgang (2007-09-18), Troy: Director's Cut, Warner Brothers, retrieved 2018-01-03
  19. ^ Troy, Warner Home Video, 2007-09-18, retrieved 2018-01-03
  20. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Troy". Festival-Cannes.com. Archived from the original on 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
  21. ^ "Troy (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  22. ^ "Troy Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  23. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Troy" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  24. ^ Monfette, Christopher; White, Cindy (September 10, 2007). "Troy (Director's Cut) DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  25. ^ Peter O'Toole calls 'Troy' director a 'clown'
  26. ^ Marchese, David (December 9, 2019). "Brad Pitt on the Kind of Leading Man He Doesn't Want to Be". New York Times Magazine.
  27. ^ Goldsmith, David (June 2004). "David Benioff's Trojan Horse Screenplay Conquers Hollywood". Creative Screenwriting. 11 (3): 54–57 – via CSU+.

Further reading