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Thursday, June 17, 2004 

No response necessary

The New York Review of Books has a go at Troy:

"There is nothing at all wrong with toying with Homeric or epic characters and story lines: the classical canon is full of works that do just that... This is why, although Benioff makes some startling innovations to myth as we know it—beginning with the deaths of Menelaus and Ajax during the first major engagement between the Greeks and Trojans, and ending with the murder of Agamemnon during the Sack of Troy, all of which demises wreak havoc with the extant tragic canon—it's pointless to criticize Troy on the grounds that it's not "faithful" to the text of Homer, as so many critics have done...

The real problem with Petersen and Benioff's reductive ideological updating of the epic story they tell is organic, not pedantic: the "realism" they've opted for goes against the grain of the genre they're working in. For one thing, the authors' jettisoning of Homeric codes of behavior makes a hash of much of the characters' actions... A lot of the action of Troy, which blindly follows much of the epic cycle's plot while providing none of the epic motivations, feels similarly hollow."

I'm not looking to start an argument again (no, seriously), but anyone wanting to understand why I thought it was a bad adaption but not because it was "unfaithful" to the plot should read this article.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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