Alright, so I’m finding myself watching Wolfgang Petersen’s great epic Troy, and it is a clear indication of what’s going on: Summer is in full swing. Soon I’ll start listening to Will Smith’s ‘Summertime’, and then I’ll complete the ritual by watching Jaws.
Then I’ll complain about the heat, and my face will implode due to allergies. (which have already begun, trust me)
Anyway, on the topic of Troy; I like this film. It’s certainly a favorite, though it’s always been mired with dirt from the critics. Which I don’t understand. The main issues they had with it was the dismissal of the god’s presence. And, honestly, anything other than what they did would have been stupid, I really don’t get the critic’s point of view here. They went with a realistic, gritty adaption here, rather than some overblown spectable of the gods.
In the Iliad, the gods appear seemingly at random and their allegiances and blessings turn at the change of a dime.
This film looks great, the direction is fantastic, and the characters are good, chiefly among them Brad Pitt and Eric Bana, who completely owns their roles. A director’s cut came in 2007, and it adds a lot of stuff and generally improves the film, mostly through getting to know the characters more.
Troy is also pretty special in that it contains not one of, but the greatest fight scene of all time, namely the duel of Achillies and Hector. I seriously want a fight like that in a Star Wars film.
A problem both the theatrical edition and the director’s cut has, is music. Composer Gabriel Yared worked on the score for Troy for well over a year, and was in the final stages of completing it when the studio previewed the film for a test screening, which resulted in the soundtrack being deemed ‘terrible’, and ‘too old fashioned’. And it was scrapped, along with Yared.
Due to this, composer James Horner of Braveheart and Titanic fame was brought in to record an entirely new soundtrack, all in four weeks. The resulting soundtrack is not good and pretty basic. Horner was always all about creating themes, and several themes recur throughout his soundtrack. The general theme he has for Troy, the city itself, is okay. And the track he created for the main battle between Achillies and Hector, very drum based, is pretty good.
And yet it doesn’t stop there. That’s in the theatrical. In the director’s cut, Petersen has taken his time to try to put together the film he wanted to make, without all the music struggles and time constraints he had in 2004. The music is changed around, and sadly he doesn’t simply edit in Yared’s work. One of my main gripes with this is, again, the battle between Achillies and Hector. As I said, Horner’s track was okay here, but the director’s cut replaces his track with one of Danny Elfman’s tracks from Planet of the Apes. This ruined the scene. I obviously prefer to watch the director’s cut, but this, the best scene in the film, is ruined by it. I’d rather look that up on Youtube to be honest.
Gabriel Yared never had his soundtrack released officially. Warner Bros. has the rights to that, and they all suck and stuff. That didn’t stop it from being leaked though, and you can easily find it on Youtube. It’s made even easier if you’re reading this, for I have a deep need within me to link it, for this unreleased, unused soundtrack…is amazing!
This is a playlist with all eighteen tracks. It is probably my second favorite soundtrack, only beaten by Howard Shore’s LotR trilogy of soundtracks.
James Horner has since passed away, in a sad plane crash incident. He had good soundtracks. I love his track ‘A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics’ from A Beautiful Mind. Nevertheless though, Horner was a dick. He publically slammed Yared score after he replaced him, calling it ‘terrible’ and saying he had no idea how to do scores for real films. Kind of a dick move. And it seems counter-productive to say this about twice oscar nominated Yared, one of which he won.
Troy is one of those films I have several versions of. I’ve got the theatrical edition of dvd, actually think I’ve got two of those somewhere, along with The Collector’s Edition and Steelbook, both director’s cuts.
Didn’t include the others here cause that’d be boring.
God, it’s hot. We’re about to go for a stroll, so I’ll probably be all melted once we return. I should find Will’s ‘Summertime’ on one of my playlists soon. It’s due.