Reading The Iliad

Say what you will about the Greeks, they knew a thing or two about talking trash:

Ulysses knew that his hour was not yet come, but he gave ground and said to Socus, “Wretch, you shall now surely die. You have stayed me from fighting further with the Trojans, but you shall now fall by my spear, yielding glory to myself, and your soul to Hades of the noble steeds.”

Socus had turned in flight, but as he did so, the spear struck him in the back midway between the shoulders, and went right through his chest. He fell heavily to the ground and Ulysses vaunted over him saying, “O Socus, son of Hippasus tamer of horses, death has been too quick for you and you have not escaped him: poor wretch, not even in death shall your father and mother close your eyes, but the ravening vultures shall enshroud you with the flapping of their dark wings and devour you. Whereas even though I fall the Achaeans will give me my due rites of burial.”

(The Iliad of Homer, XI.439-445)

I’ve found a major downside to rereading The Iliad is I’ve reawakened all my frustrations at the movie Troy. Granted, I expected the movie to be a turd (literary/film criticism term) going in, but soon found my expectations exceeded. The casting alone was cringe-worthy. “I am Achilles, son of Peleus, straight outta Missouri. And Hector, I’m callin’ you out!” Demigod indeed. Notable exception: Orlando Bloom, as much as I generally enjoy him as an actor, was a very convincing wiener in the film. Very much the kind of jerk who would, at the first sign of his own blood, flee the battlefield whereon men are dying for the sake of his illicit affair, to go have sex with Helen (Book III).

What a jerk!

You get the feeling that when the opening credits attribute inspiration for the film to Homer that the filmmakers rather used a Boy’s Illustrated Adventure Classic or a comic book than Homer’s epic. Considering the climax of the film Troy–the sacking of the city–does not even fall within the scope of The Iliad goes to show Homer just isn’t quite “Hollywood”.

I know it seems silly criticizing a movie six years after it’s come out, but when you consider The Iliad has been out since 500 years before Christ, I’m not really that late! Besides, it’s recent enough that when people hear “Troy” or “Trojan War” they still think Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. Not OK, guys.

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One Response to Reading The Iliad

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on “The Hobbit” Trailer | Tolle, Lege!

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