i made my way to the theatre, where everyone had agreed to met up. matt was there already. we waited outside for a little while before dan, elias, and amanda showed up. we then went to pho hua in neighboring chinatown for dinner, i went with my new default of grilled chicken vermicelli. the music is always weird at pho hua, tonight we heard the muzak version of elton john's "candle in the wind." the place was kind of empty when we got there, but by the time we were about to leave (around 7pm), it quickly filled up. after paying the bill, we went back to theatre to watch the movie.
troy seemed, from the few reviews i casually gleamed, to be one of those borderline movies where half the critics liked it while the other half hated it. i found it enjoyable, and although it took certain liberties with the story of the iliad and the trojan war, the story still maintained a logical flow. the biggest omission was the decision to not have any gods factoring into the plot, a key element of the original story. just a few things off the top of my head: the fact that achilles' mother thetis is a sea nymph is cleverly touched upon, aphrodite shrouding paris in a protective fog during his fight with menelaus, and hermes assistance in getting priam to and from the greek camp. i agree with the casting of the movie with the exception of brad pitt, which i'm still holding judgement on even after seeing the movie. he just doesn't seem to fit in (although his character of achilles is not a mere mortal, and would stand out amongst other men), while everyone is dark and hairy and dirty, he's this bronzed blonde warrior who's seemingly incapable of losing on the battlefield. i'm also uncomfortable with brad pitt's style of acting, which if you've seen some of his other movies, you'll immediately recognize. his serious scowls, his "i want to cry but i'm holding back the tears" grimace, i can't help but to notice, "hey, isn't that brad pitt up there?" despite his acting limitations, he does perform well in his fight scenes though. the very first scene where he takes on the champion warrior of a warring army is quite memorable, as he makes quick work of his much large opponent. the fight scene with hector is also very good, it really looks like two guys trying to kill each other, hacking at one another's legs, trying to take a stab at a vital spot whenever possible. the actress they found to play helen of troy really isn't that beautiful, and her nordic features is kind of out of place, as if they couldn't find a beautiful greek woman to play the part. she's got this detached quality about her that didn't convince me in the least that men would wage war over her love and beauty. the scene where the greek army lands on the shores of troy reminded me a lot of saving private ryan and the storming of normandy. a lot of men getting off of ships, being cut down by projectiles, and the confusion of battle. troy is also a big ego stroke for brad pitt playing the role of achilles. the film is constantly reminding us that achilles is a legendary hero, like he's the superstar of a sports team, and when he's in the game, you just know you're going to win, and when you see him come out into the playing field, everyone cheers. for those of you hoping to see brad pitt naked, there's plenty of brad flesh to see (short of receiving an R rating). i also had some issues with the funeral pyres - why are they built on a platform? won't the platform collapse once the fire is raging, with the embarassing possibility that the recently deceased might roll out in the crowd before he's entirely consumed by the flame? the structural impracticality gives me cause for concern. and naturally since this is a movie about war and we are in a time of war, there are obvious parallels that can be drawn. when achilles tells the soldiers they're fighting for an unworthy king, i couldn't help but to see the similarity with our current situation, and i wondered if the movie would even be shown to the troops fighting in the desert. troy is worth seeing (it's long though, about 3 hours), and even though it's early in the season, i'm willing to put it on my list of top 10 movies of this summer.