Buggered Mind of Neale Sourna, The

Opines, comments, rants, concerns, imaginings from Neale Sourna, fiction author and more -- www.Neale-Sourna.com, www.PIE-Percept.com, www.ProjectKeanu.com, www.AuthorsDen.com/nealesourna, www.CafeShops.com/NealeSourna, www.Writing-Naked.com, & www.CuntSinger.com

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Brad Pitt, TROY, and Brian "I'm the Original Hannibal Lechter" Cox

I already knew the women's parts had been obviously given short shrift when they cast all unknowns or washed up ladies, except for Saffron Burrows, who would have made a great and complex Helen [even at 31]. No Amazons. Problematic, y'know, with Achilles' fearful necro-sex with a dead Amazon. [Ah, classic lit.]

Brad - great. And great naked. Achilles' fighting style - great. Brian Cox - Always deliciously great, and just dripping here. But, get serious, no professional warriors with missing body parts, and any over forty are kings; not bloody likely in real life.

No Troians who look like Turks. Troy is in Turkey last time I checked; and no political conflict representing patriarchy [male gods and male-like female gods like Athena] culture [Greece] versus matriarchal [Sparta, Troy]. No explanation for the true cultural and religious importance of the horse, or the rivalry between Greeks and Spartan/Troians. And, oh, come on already. The old Helen's so beautiful that's why we fight. Or the old she's my wife and that's so fucking important. Or the old and stupid Helen was only sixteen when she married. More likely she had been much younger on her wedding day and had two kids by sixteen in that ancient day, when brides were dead in childbirth by twenty.

So, trying to impose 21st century western values on the ancient world cuts all the possible visceral quality this film almost had.

This was a political, cultural fight with Cox' Agamemnon ego in full inflate. Two brothers, Agamemnon and Menelaus, married two Spartan sisters, Clymtenestra and Helen. Spartan women take care of themselves, they're not doormats. Plus, moviewise and Iliad-wise, I don't remember the Spartans actually showing up to reclaim their queen in any great fashion. Maybe, I forgot.

Maybe they forgot to go get her because they agreed with her dumping her alliance enforced marriage to bore and boorish husband Mene for a better ally with the same values she has--and her the inheritress/queen [the title queen in ancient times meant owner of the land not just some guy's insipid, whiney, spineless wife]. Eleanor of Aquitaine had the same problem in the 1100s A.D., whoever bedded/wedded her got all she owned--France, Spain, part of England. That's all. Helen has Sparta and all those mighty Spartan warrior lads, who did not make it to this film. Hm.

Homer said this was a tedious, TEN YEAR WAR, which here is cut down to maybe three to four weeks, as cued by virgin royal Briseis' scars, which barely heal on screen before it's all done. And, poor Sean Bean gets stuck trying to sell Odysseus' conceiving the Trojan Horse pinata without motivation or, again, without explanation of why it wasn't burned with all Greeks inside instead of so easily accepted. I bet he had more fun getting killed graphically while protecting "the little one" in THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.

Mr. Pitt did his job and delivered starpower; buff, casual nudity; and well-turned athletics. To bad, the writer and director and producers here gave us less than was given in INDEPENDENCE DAY, the LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY, and even THE MATRIX TRILOGY. Depth, character, integrity go so much farther than boring, dated bullshit of supposed blond girls [how many blonds in Sparta, especially pre-Viking?] so beautiful that all a guy's pals will show up for ten long years without seeing their own wives and kids and lands untended, just for physical beauty and the idiot old guy who can't keep her down on the farm after seeing Paris?

XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS covered this same territory of a great, unstoppable warrior with a volatile temper better. Seeing Lucy Lawless' Xena and Pitt's Achilles go toe to toe in a battle [y'know the one that's in the book, when he battled the Amazon?] would have been great. Instead though, the above the line leaders of this ship half-stiffed him. Brad could have had what Lawless had, because when Xena/Lucy went to the Elysian Fields for her lover, to Hades and found her son, to Hell in repention, and Heaven in reward; it was deep.

Mr. Pitt did his share, as did Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom and Peter O'Toole, Mr. Cox, and Ms. Burrows, but they were left on a plank in the middle of the ocean, leaving us without fulfillment.

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