By Mark Ramsey | 2004/05/12

If ever you needed proof that great civilizations decline and fall, look no further than the time-line between the ancient Greeks and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. A breed of warrior once brandishing a deadly sword now brandishes a multi-purpose bottle of Windex. Oh woe is me.

Helen of Troy, she with the “face that launched a thousand ships” is thought to be the world’s most beautiful woman. Then Brad Pitt appears in a dress and all bets are off.

Brad, with the face that launched a thousand Oceans 11 sequels, is Achilles. And Achilles was “born to end lives” not unlike a programming head at ABC. He is a warrior with the fiercest reputation and, coincidentally, the fiercest time-share on Fire Island. Yes, Brad fights with the kind of fury only found in a uniform featuring a short skirt and the absence of panties.

Troy_horse.jpgThere’s even one scene where Achilles is play-fighting with his look-alike cousin and the sword-crossing becomes so suggestive the audience leaves the room to give these two some privacy. When did epic battle become Queer Eye for the War-Mongering Guy?

Never mind, the answer is Spartacus.

Speaking of lovely ladies, enter Orlando Bloom, the bow that launched a thousand arrows. Orlando is in love with only one thing besides his own reflection, and that’s his own reflection in Helen’s eyes.

He steals Helen away from Greece, thus precipitating a ten-year war and the largest wooden equine municipal construction project of all time.

Orlando is the son of a King and thus a leader of the armies of Troy – despite the fact that he couldn’t fight a heavily fortified bowl of cereal let alone the fortified forces of Greece. “Wait,” says Orlando, “I thought I was fighting for the chorus in Grease!”

Troy is one of the most expensive movies ever, and much of that budget went to pay for the scaffolding around Peter O’Toole’s head.

Yes, Peter O’Toole, with the face that downed a thousand pints, and eyelids surgically lifted so high, they lower with a remote like a garage door.

Peter wraps his tongue around dialogue the same way he used to wrap his lips around that umpteenth Guinness: “Itizthewillofthegodz!”

Troy_Peterface.jpg“It is the WHAT, oh great King?” asks his son.

Peter offers a prayer to the Greek God of cosmetic surgery, Snipodite, when Orlando seeks his counsel:

“DooooYouuuuLovvvvvveHerrrrr?” Peter asks.

“What?” replies Orlando.

Evidently one of Peter’s Eveready’s needs replacing along with most of what it’s energizing. Sadly, these were the days before chariots carried jumper cables.

So let’s return to Brad and the Greek army on the beaches of Troy, readying for battle. Thousands of men – and one woman. And guess who has her? Of course, the star with the most famed O’Toole – and I don’t mean Peter!

Yes, Brad slays clean sheets all across the empire, slashing, bashing, but mostly thrashing and gnashing his nether regions against whatever’s willing and able. Somebody’s Trojan Horse needs to be put in the stable every now and then, Brad!

Brad and his boys plunder the Temple of Apollo. Evidently Achilles doesn’t worship the Sun God, but he definitely bows down to the Bronzer God and the Goddess of Spa Treatments.

Brad’s main foe is Orlando’s brother, the elder son of Troy, Eric Bana. Eric’s is the face that sank a thousand high hopes for Hulk and launched a thousand accents – a new one for every scene. His dialect has more ports of call than the Love Boat. Hey Eric, use the costume as a guide: Get straight what movie you’re in!

Troy is educational. We learn, for example, that you not only can but should look a gift horse in the mouth, particularly if it contains dozens of armed guys in dresses.

Okay, Troy is too long, but I have never met a movie over two hours that isn’t. When the Trojan and Greek titans clash, it’s riveting. These are a thousand ships worth launching.

“War is young men dying and old men talking,” says one wise Greek.

Some things never change.

Photos Copyright ©2004 Warner Bros. Pictures


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