Friday, January 12, 2018

'Helen of Troy' (2003)

John Kent Harrison, director. Helen of Troy (2003). A lot of mythical ground is covered in just under three hours. This made-for-cable version mixes together bits of Greek and Roman lore, lots of stuff not in Homer and some that is. Though a little silly at times, Helen of Troy gives us interesting angles on Helen and the Trojan War. 

Emphasis here is placed on Helen, Paris, Theseus, Cassandra, Hector, Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus. Odysseus (Ulysses) is on the edges, portrayed mostly as a jerk. Achilles is inexplicably depicted as a tall and bald brute. Goddesses appear (briefly) in the Judgment of Paris, a scene that seems thrown together like an afterthought but featuring Hera (Juno), Aphrodite (Venus) and Athena (Minerva).The sacrifice of Iphigenia is included. (Recent post on Iphigenia here). Troy is set too close to the sea, with little room for all the fighting that takes place in Homer's detailed descriptions.   
Despite various quibbles, Helen of Troy is still fun to watch. Is Helen the fairest of people, or the most clever, or both? Is Paris an idiot, or Hector? And what about poor Cassandra, always pushing for her brother Paris' death to no avail? 

The tale is told mainly from the point of view of Menelaus, with Agamemnon as a sometimes humorous villain.   

BBC One and Netflix have reportedly partnered to produce Troy: Fall of a City, an eight-part mini-series that will probably come out later this year. Given that this is one of the greatest stories ever told -- especially with all the ancient spin-offs and prequels to draw from -- I look forward to seeing what they've come up with for 21st century audiences. 

Today's Rune: Partnership. 

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Didn't know this one existed but I'll see about watching it now.