Troy Wolfgang Peterson

Based on Homer's epic poem (Homer even receives screen credit!), Troy was part of a trend in 2004: big, expensive epics with big, expensive actors. But if anyone was expecting a faithful adaptation of Homer's epic poem, they should have known better. So much of The Iliad is misrepresented here that there's almost no point in attempting to criticise the film for this problem. But if you look at Troy as simply being a big, expensive epic, the film manages adequacy. In 1193 B.C., Paris (Orlando Bloom), the prince of Troy, romances Helen (Diane Kruger), Queen of Sparta, away from her husband. This causes a war between the kingdoms of Mycenae Greece and Troy. Fighting for the Greeks is none other than the infamous Achilles (Brad Pitt), who brings along his band of Myrmidons. The plot really is not important; if that's what you find interesting, then simply read the book. The best part of Troy is how it looks: the fight scenes are well-orchestrated and the visual effects are spectacular. But after nearly three hours, you tire of it all, which is why perhaps the film is best-suited for DVD. Sure, the action might look smaller, but at least you can pause it. The DVD is full of extras that actually complement the film quite well. Three documentaries (one documenting the action sequences, one the production design and one the visual effects, which are essentially the three best aspects of Troy) are all at least somewhat entertaining, and a three-D animated guide to Greek myths (which is generally accurate) lets you know what really happened in The Iliad. (Warner)