3 – Stars - Thought-Provoking
“Troy” may have the look and feel of a Biblical spectacular, but its similarity ends there. Even though the Bible and the story of Troy are both focused on love stories, this film shows what destruction can occur when love is about one’s own selfish desires.
For anyone who knows Greek history, or Greek myths, this is a hodgepodge of legions all rolled into one. And, while Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey tells the story of the siege of Troy to recover the beautiful Helen (Diane Kruger) who has run off with Prince Paris (Orlando Bloom), this version is more about showcasing the beautiful Achilles (Brad Pitt) who preens, prances, and pounces in various stages of undress.
The real history of Greece, like most places in the world, is filled with political and economic fiefdoms that fought throughout the ages to gain power or economic advantage. There isn’t any real physical evidence though that Troy ever existed, although excavators have found remains of cities in this area dating back 3,000 years.
Helen is the Queen of Sparta, one of the most powerful city-state provinces of ancient Greece. She becomes captivated in every sense of the word by the handsome prince Paris of Troy, and the two of them, against all odds, run away to his home city. Now, Paris’s father and brother must choose whether to shield their favorite son and risk war with a political neighbor, or give up Paris, whom they love, knowing that it will end in his destruction.
King Medelaus (Brendan Gleeson) of Sparta is enraged and joins with his brother, King Agamemnon of the Mycenaens (Brian Cox), to destroy Troy. Their secret weapon is to bring in Achilles, the greatest fighter of the age. Achilles is the best at what he does, but he is also an emotionally smoldering man who holds contempt for powerful people, and thus is unpredictable in where his loyalties might lie.
The first lesson from this story is that one never falls in love and marries only their object of affection. They also marry their family, their history, and the company they keep. In this case, Paris and Helen outwardly project a romantic notion of “true love,” but their actions are purely selfish. In the end, his entire family and the city of Troy suffer the consequences.
The second lesson is that the outward reason that people give for their actions often masks another underlying agenda. In Agamemnon’s case, seeking justice for taking of his brother’s wife is only an excuse for his own selfish desires for more power and wealth. Having a discerning mind is important when we hear what people ask of us.
The third lesson is that “gifts” given to us aren’t always what they seem, especially when power and greed are involved. The people of Troy took at face value that their enemies left behind a “gift” as they departed. In this case, the strings attached were ropes that allowed the enemies within the Trojan horse to descend and invade the heart of their city. Once this false gift reached Troy’s heart, there were no longer any defenses against its poison, and the city and its people were doomed.
“Troy” is a Hollywood spectacular that succeeds in entertainment value. When it comes to the heart, it only shows what destruction comes from selfish desire.