I actually went to see Troy, having had a long-standing interest in the Iliad, going back to kiddie versions when I was very young. It was better than I thought, but as is typical with this sort of thing, I find it hard to go with the film while Iím focusing on all the ways it diverges from the original source. The story they constructed was actually rather elegant, though bearing little relation to the traditional one; clearly a modern audience wouldnít be satisfied with Homer, who doesnít even include Achillesí death or the climactic sack of Troy. Human political machinations are substituted for godly meddling; thereís more romance, rendered in Harlequin style; and the violence is more bombastic, but no more graphic than it is in the poem. All in all itís pretty mainstream, and I couldnít help but think of all the missed possibilities for an ďalternativeĒ take on the material. Brad Pitt is impossibly pretty, which is fine for ďgod-like AchillesĒ, but there are no homosexual overtones: he is in contrast to the other rough-hewn Greek heroes, and the general relishing of the male body is not extended throughout the corps. Even in classical Greece there were rumors that he and Patroclus were more than just friends, but here Achilles is made to be a protective older cousin. Worse, they missed the chance to have Pitt in drag, trying to avoid conscription at the start of the war. And I wonít even mention the possibilities of the necrophilia scene with the Amazon Achilles falls in love with, after heís killed herÖ

Anyway, since JL was asking about rentals kids might like, Iíll say that while there were some impressive visualizations here, if you want a pop mythic epic nothing beats the low-tech (OK, it was high tech then) stop-motion of Jason and the Argonauts, the 1963 sword & sandal classic with effects by Ray Harryhausen.

- alex 6-10-2004 10:11 pm

The first time I saw J & the A was on an old film projector in the dinning hall of my summer camp. I think I drank 4 Mountain Dews. My head nearly exploded I thought it was so cool.
- jim 6-10-2004 10:34 pm [add a comment]

holy moly, i can't believe you went to a movie theater, alex. and mike and i just saw j&a on tv last week. very funny. wait, that was the one with the gold pendant, right?
- linda 6-11-2004 3:02 am [add a comment]

Jim's head nearly exploded and you find Alex going to movie theatre amazing?
- jimlouis 6-11-2004 3:16 am [add a comment]

$10 the last movie he saw in a theater was star wars.
- linda 6-11-2004 4:31 am [add a comment]

You know, I didnít even care for Star Wars much, but Iíve seen a few movies since then, including all three Lord of the Rings flicks in theaters (although the extended versions on DVD are significantly better.) At Christmas I saw three films with my Mom in Detroit: ROTK (Iíll review once the x-DVD comes out), Master & Commander (my Mom likes the books, and the film was quite good if you like historical action drama) and Bad Santa (not really the thing to take your 81 year old mother to, but sheís cool, and we had a few laughs, as well as some grimaces.) Also Gosford Park on video, which was fun; Iíve always liked Altman (JL: Nashville is another classic to rent.) I canít help being interested when they do something like Tolkien or Homer, which I was mad for in my youth, but for some strange reason I have yet to see any of the movies made from the Marvel Comics I used to collect; maybe Iíll catch up with Spiderman yet, but next up: King Arthur. Not sure if they can top Excalibur (another rental alert; Boorman is a significant director: Deliverance; The Emerald ForestÖ) but this version is supposed to have input from John Matthews, who, along with his wife Caitlin, represents the best of neo-pagan Celticism, so Iím intriguedÖ
- alex 6-11-2004 7:16 am [add a comment]

BTW, new parents should be prepared to expose their offspring to classical mythology at an early age, and the best source is the DíAulaires' Book of Greek Myths.
- alex 6-11-2004 7:28 am [add a comment]

  • thanks, alex, i put it on my wish list. i'm sure my offspring will take to it soon as he stops eating books and starts to look at them.
    - linda 6-11-2004 5:05 pm [add a comment]

  • I think that's what he has an Uncle Alex for!
    - jim 6-11-2004 7:31 pm [add a comment]

  • Yeah, itís early now, but they grow up fast. Donít blink. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of my parents reading to me, and how their different personalities were expressed in their style and choice of material. I generally favored Mom, but Dad owned Winnie the Pooh; it just never sounded right coming from anyone else. Mom read me the entire LOTR when I was in second grade, and the Greek myths before I was even in school.
    - alex 6-11-2004 8:14 pm [add a comment]

Excellent, Linda owes me ten. Split it with you Alex.
- jimlouis 6-11-2004 3:40 pm [add a comment]

- link- 8-09-2004 11:22 am [add a comment]

add a comment to this page:

Your post will be captioned "posted by anonymous,"
or you may enter a guest username below:

Line breaks work. HTML tags will be stripped.