Debra J. Saunders

 I can forgive that the war in "Troy" seems to take a few weeks, not the 10 years recounted in Homer's "Iliad." Still, it would have made for a more interesting movie if the script portrayed the steel of men who would fight for a brutal decade, Professor Miller noted.

 Need I mention that "Troy" The Movie dispenses with every mortal female character over 35? There's no Cassandra to warn Troy of its pending doom, only to be ignored. (If she were in the cast, she'd be warning viewers: "They've ruined the ending.") Gone are the middle-aged wives of Greece's middle-aged kings.

 But the most egregious change in "Troy" is that the script kills Agamemnon and Menelaus before they return to Greece. That's analogous to having Pontius Pilate issue a reprieve for Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ."

 In Homer, a victorious Agamemnon returns to Mycenae with his battle booty, Cassandra, in tow. There his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover kill Agamemnon in the bathtub. (That's her revenge for his blood sacrifice of their daughter.) This is one of the great twists in Homer's tale -- but they're gone in the movie.

 On screen however, Briseis somehow changes from an anti-war virgin to a liberated female Rambo; she kills Agamemnon. There's no need to make Briseis kill the king, said UC Berkeley Classics Professor Anthony Bulloch. "The Greeks already thought of that." And there's so much more comeuppance in Agamemnon dying by the hand of a wronged wife and mother.

 Miller fears that schoolkids, having seen the movie, now won't believe the book. "It sounds like you're better off if you haven't read Homer," he said. No lie.

 It's not that "Troy" is a bad movie. It's a good movie -- if you don't care about Homer. It could have been a great movie if the people who created it cared about the power of this fantastic tale.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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