Monday, May 31, 2004

From the Far Ends of the World to the End of the World in 2 Days (Vol. I)

Saw Troy the day before yesterday and The Day After Tomorrow the day before today. Bad word of mouth had tempered any previous hopes I’d held for either.
Troy reminded me in several ways of Pearl Harbor. First, both movies were based on historical concepts that would seem to be perfect for summer movie adaptation. However, after seeing each movie, you realize that there are fundamental flaws in the events they’ve chosen to depict that would preclude even the greatest filmmakers from making a movie that works. In Troy, the only solution I could think of would be to shift the point-of-view entirely to Hector and the Trojans (although that would require a too-brave studio-exec signing off on turning one of the most legendary heroes in Western civilization into the bad guy, not to mention having an even bigger downer of an ending). There are a number of other inherent problems with a 2004 adaptation (I’m sorry, inspired-by-daptation) of Homer, but none of them really matter because…
Troy is a bad movie.
Plain and simple.
Some of the dialogue is atrocious. The rest is just bad. The acting is bad. The liberties taken with the plot of the original story don’t help anything. And yet, I found myself kinda going along with the ride. In these ways, I was also reminded of Pearl Harbor. As with that failure, I knew it was bad while I was watching it, but I liked it anyway. With most bad movies I either get angry or giggly. Not with Pearl Harbor and Troy.
The one tragic deviation between these two movies is that Pearl Harbor looked amazing. The cinematography was beautiful and say what you will about Michael Bay, but the man can shoot an exciting action scene (not necessarily appropriate for a film about a tragic day that will live in infamy, but exciting nonetheless). I was shocked by how dull Troy looked. In a setting and genre that would seem to be impossible to make appear flat and unspectacular, Wolfgang Peterson and his crew rose to the challenge and defied expectations. Now, I’m no fan of editing-by-blender, but for eighty percent of the movie, Peterson just set the camera on a tripod for a generic master shot and never bothered to switch things up with visually-dynamic angles or movement, while the lighting lacked any of the artistry of Gladiator or The Patriot.
Oh, and just when I thought the worst had passed, that song came up over the end credits. I’ve heard Gabriel Yared’s original closing song, and all I can say is “What were they thinking when they replaced it with this abomination?” Ugh.
Still, I didn’t hate the movie.
My thoughts on The Day After Tomorrow will be up sooner than that…


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