Saturday, 14 August 2010

BEDA - Day Thirteen - Homer's The Iliad: The Bore, The Beauty, and The Whiny Bitches Part Three

Part Three:

Brief Reflections on the Events of The Iliad and the Film

Archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, has convinced many scholars that the city Canakkale in Turkey is the site of Homer's Troy, presenting evidence of destruction that could resemble the Achaians and other armies sacking of the city. However, archaeological digs have uncovered nine periods of settlement of the geographical site and then there are the questions on whether the myth is based on and built upon many different events in the area. Overall, it is widely agreed that some fact may lie within Homer's poetic abandon.

Whether or not Achilles or many heroes that became the legend of Achilles stood and died on the land, Canakkale still seems like an interesting place to visit, and this plain site (for the plain story of Homer) explains the sights more.

The film, Troy, based on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and directed by Wolfgang Peterson, is not my favourite piece of cinema. I hadn't read the Iliad before I watched the film so I wasn't upset by the lack of Gods. I just didn't really enjoy it that much.

Then when reading the book, I had all these preconceptions of what the story was about only to find out I was totally wrong. The time-line is all off, the battle seems quick when in fact Helen has been living in Troy for 20 years (?) and the battle for her has been raging on for 9 years or something and the story takes place during the last few months of it. Or so I believe, honestly, after a year of reading, my fact intake from the book is rather skewed.

I also learned from the film that Achilles (the talented, Brad Pitt) was a poor fellow who had this amazing heart of gold on the inside. BAH! Bah, I say. He is quite ridiculous and melodramatic in his outbursts in the book. I understand where he is coming from, but grow a pair, man. You're meant to be practically immortal. He also treats Hector so poorly when he is dead, that how anyone can like or pity his fate afterwards is beyond me. I feel that only Hector, portrayed by Eric Bana, was fairly similar to the book, which is most likely because he is mostly a good man, a simple and honorable man.

The marketing department for Troy used posters of each character and a tagline of what their purpose was in the film. I found this interesting... Blah.

For Honor; Hector/Achilles

Yup. That's what it's all about for them. Hector more than Achilles. Achilles only comes to after Patroclus is killed.

For Victory; Wooden Horse

Agamemnon, what a asshole. He is not serving his brother, Menelaus, by fighting Troy for his brothers lost wife, but only himself. He wants more. He wants to be a conqueror, and he only achieves this through his hold over Achilles.

For Love; Paris/Helen

Fuck no. What love was shared between them in this story? The love belongs to Andromache, Hector's wife, who pleads with him to not fight and save himself, and Patroclus' love for Achilles.

For Destiny; Achilles.

It is clearly Achilles. He does bravely go to Troy when he knows what fate awaits him. He could turn back at any moment, as he threatens to do so many times, but he always lingers, almost begging for his tortured life to be over. Unfortunately he lingers and moans for a little too long, and really affected my interest until he started to get involved with the battle.

For Passion; Paris?

Uh, no. Paris is not passionate at all. He has so bored Helen that she regrets ever leaving and doesn't even seem to like Paris. Paris is a coward. If anyone has passion, it is Hector and Achilles. Hector for his life and his duties and his city and those within it. Achilles for his ceaseless whining.

For Troy; The Gods and then Not The Gods

The Gods, they are so amusing with their domestic violence and their many alliances and general sexism. They want Troy to be okay and then they don't want Troy to be okay. Wife Number 635 tells Zeus to do this and Wife Number 212 tells Zeus to do that, it's all very East Enders.

The best thing to come from the film was a boost for Eric Bana and Rose Byrne's career and the song, Remember, sung by Josh Groban. Sure, it's not exactly a ground-breaking piece of music, but its moving and quite exquisite and really summed up the film's whole point for me; Man's anxieties with immortality and the deep desire to be remembered for their time here on Earth.

We are all acutely aware of how great and small our lives on this Earth can be, and it can be terrifying when you realize it hardly matters to the Universe as a whole. That, I suppose, is where faith comes in or a "Fuck it, I'm doing this shit, now!" attitude is due.

Fun possible-fact: "Terry Gilliam was offered the chance to direct the movie. He stopped reading the script 5 pages in and declined the offer." - IMDB

I would recommend watching it anyway. Other than any possible documentaries out there, its the only feature film I could find on the subject.

Click here for Part Four

1 comment:

ADB said...

An interesting read. My knowledge of the past comes from classics like "Jason And The Argonauts" and "Clash Of The Titans". No, not the recent rubbish remakes, but the original versions featuring Ray Harryhausens excellent stop-motion animation. So I may watch the film someday.
My main interest in history lies around Egyptians and the ancient Incas, which was inspired by classic 80's cartoon Mysterious Cities Of Gold as I was growing up.

Oh, and is there going to be a part 4? You left the text "Click here for Part Four" at the end, but it's not an active link and I can't see any recent blog posts regarding this subject.