Published Humanitas, Volume XIX, Nos. 1 and 2, 2006

“Sing, goddess, the anger of the critic at the devastation wrought by the movie Troy, which put pains a thousandfold upon the bard Homer.” Warner Brothers 2004 release of Troy, a $100 million feature film based on Homer’s Iliad, was a valuable opportunity to present a powerful story to a wide audience whose eyes probably had never seen the written text and whose only familiarity with the poem was through football team mascots and figures of speech like “Trojan horse.”

I had excruciatingly realistic expectations going into the film, and did not expect or desire utter fidelity to the original text. I was aware that Brad Pitt was cast as Achilleus, so I was fully prepared for a Hollywood dumb-down. I am also (to a fault) a rather gentle critic. Having tried my hand at several literary endeavors, I am always willing to cut authors and directors more slack than they probably deserve. But in the case of this film, my good will simply ran out. Like Achilleus, I found myself in the midst of something like rage.

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