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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

Troy (Director's Cut) BRD

(Wolfgang Petersen - 2004 / 2007)





Studio: Warner, UK/Malta & Helena Ltd / Warner Home Entertainment (USA)



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 3:16:02.792

Disc Size: 32,081,649,396 bytes

Feature Size: 27,714,471,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 11.77 Mbps

Chapters: 46

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 18th, 2007



Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video



LPCM Audio English 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps



English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, none



Making-of Featurettes:

Troy Revisited: An Introduction by Wolfgang Petersen

Troy in Focus

In the Thick of Battle

From Ruins to Reality

Troy in Focus

Troy: An Effects Odyssey

Attacking Troy

• Theatrical trailer


Troy: Director's Cut ~ Comment

This edition of Troy, like Warner’s Blu-ray release of Alexander Revisited, is a re-cut of the original film (released on HD-DVD by Warner a year earlier.) In this case, adding some 30 minutes, some of it fleshing out, so to speak, the relationship of Helen and Paris and going some way to explain the whys and wherefores of their fated fever. Also included is more bickering between Achilles and Agamemnon, which can only be a good thing. However, I could have done without the extra gore and fake blood in the battle scenes. All in all, though, the extra time is worth the price of admission.

I enjoy this movie, either way, so the “Director's Cut” worked out well for me and for the most part comes off well in this Blu-ray edition. I’, not one of those who get all worked up about the ways this story is unfaithful to Homer’s version of events. 3000 years after the fact, it’s hard for me to be concerned over discrepancies – even big ones such as compressing a ten year war into what seems to be a couple of weeks, or less big ones such as how Agamemnon meets his maker. Unlike Oliver Stone’s Alexander, there appears to be no historian looking over Petersen’s shoulder. But then, unlike Stone’s film, the scale is more intimate, less epic, less ambitious – and for all that, and despite that shortening the war makes the events less credible in purely dramatic terms, Troy is the much more satisfying of the two – helped by a more subtle and even-handed script. When Agamemnon says that Achilles "can't be controlled – he's likely to fight us as the Trojans." Nestor replies, "We don't need to control him, we need to unleash him."

More so than Alexander, I found the casting here to be visually convincing, even if the line readings are all over the map. I have to say, however, that I was not particularly distressed by this – I'm not sure why. Perhaps I was aided by having recently watched MGM's 1935 Midsummer Night's Dream. Brad Pitt may be the Dick Powell of his time in this regard, but I felt he looked and acted ever so much more the warrior than Colin Farrell did a leader of men in Alexander.

My guess is that whatever you expect by seeing this movie, you won't be disappointed. It certainly won't be Homer or history. But you knew that, right? . 






Troy: Director's Cut ~ The Score Card


The Movie : 7/8

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Just as Agamemnon subdues the last of the Grecian kingdoms, his brother, Manelaus, king of Sparta, implores him to attack Troy to wrest his wife, Helen, from the clutches of the youth, Paris, who has stolen her from under his very house. Agamemnon's thirst for dominion is thereby kick-started by Paris's brazen act, since undefeated Troy, which lies across the sea, has always been outside of his grasp. Now he has the excuse to rally all his armies to an attack. But for his plan to succeed he requires the aid of Achilles and his Myrmidons. Achilles, Agamemnon is always quick to point out, fights for no king save his own heroic destiny, and so he enlists the aid of Odysseus to persuade Achilles. Meanwhile, Hector, Paris' older and wiser brother, reconsiders his impulse to send Paris and Helen back to Sparta, knowing that Paris would be skewered. Their father, Priam, king of Troy, finds a way to support that decision with the help of his generals and priests, all of whose names seem to be Hubris. By the time Agamemnon's armies land at the shores of Troy, it is clear to all concerned that this battle is no longer about Helen.

Though hopelessly outnumbered, Troy puts up a valiant fight with its insurmountable walls and smarter strategies of defense. Achilles is about to return home before the fight is ended when the Greeks are granted a fateful stroke of tragic luck: Achilles' dearest friend (and, possibly, lover), Patroclus, is killed by Hector, believing him to be Achilles. (After all, the subtitle of Homer's epic poem is "The Rage of Achilles.") The inevitable duel follows. Still, Troy does not fall until the idea of the great wooden horse is conceived. The rest, as they say, is history - or, at least, legend.

But first, there is Brad Pitt, looking bronzed, beautiful and athletic. Is it a stretch to say, godlike? His Achilles is the complete narcissist – the supreme warrior with a thousand-year stare into history. He may not be aware of his demigod status, but he certainly knows he's a superhero. When Pitt stirs his troops for their D-Day landing at Troy’s beach, we sense echoes of Henry V. Destiny is the password.

One thing this movie is not about is Helen – you know, the woman who launched a thousand ships. Well, this is not that Helen. Ten ships, maybe. It's not that supermodel Diane Kruger isn't drop-dead beautiful – and there is more of that beauty to admire through Paris' eyes in this new Director's Cut - but her beauty is embarrassingly superficial, if only because she isn't actress enough to project it from within. But this doesn't really matter, for its script and dramatis personae are quite clear that this war is not about her. [Reading my comment about Ms. Kruger’s Helen some three years hence I cannot but marvel at the growth of this actress since Troy. It’s hard to believe this is the same Diane Kruger who plays the double agent in Tarentino’s Inglourious Basterds. Thinking about a similar transformation with Marilyn Monroe, I wonder if Diane can do comedy?]

If you know who Eric Bana is, then you'll find him here as well, looking all loyal in that quiet authority he does so well. Bana was the soldier who comes out of nowhere in Black Hawk Down to provide the necessary anchor to neophyte Marines pinned down in a bewildering street fight in Somalia. I felt he was less successful in Hulk, but so was everything else about that movie. He has since found himself, or perhaps I should say, lost himself properly in Spielberg's Munich. (My guess is that Bana would have made a more satisfactory Aragorn than Viggo Mortensen.) Here Bana is Hector, and he could hardly be more different from Achilles.

The confrontations between Hector and Achilles have drama and destiny written all over them. The one-on-one fight sequences are brilliant. Pitt has a great attack gambit, leaping and whirling over his opponent's shoulder and striking down through the neck into the main arteries. And he does this twirling thing with his shield that serves to rev up his engine as he moves in for the kill. Brilliant! The big duel between Hector and Achilles doesn't disappoint - though coming before the Horse, it turns out to be a little anti-climactic.

It isn't so much that Orlando Bloom as Paris terrible, it’s that Paris is such a wuss – or at least he is written as such a self-serving adolescent that we would as soon Hector throw him overboard the moment he learns of his brother’s betrayal. Paris only goes downhill from there. On the other hand, his being such a coward makes the irony of his eventual murder of Achilles that much more tragic.

Agamemnon, played with zestful venom by Brian Cox, ruler of just about all of what there was of Greece at the time, can hardly stand it that he is unable to win his battles without Achilles, and that he is chronically in his debt. At a critical moment in the war, he complains to his generals: "He's as likely to spear me as to talk to me." As compensation, he agrees to return the priestess, Briseis, to Achilles: "He can have the damn girl. I haven't touched her. I gave her to the men. They need some amusement – after today."

Finally, there's King Priam, represented as a wash of Goya by Peter O'Toole. His advisors - sycophants all, as in our time - are so full of themselves and their country's past victories that they cannot but assure him of their invincibility. Even so, Priam has reasons of his own to defend his errant son, as the new Director's Cut makes more clear.

It is no accident that absent from this mythic melodrama are the gods themselves. There are no visuals of the heavens. No thunderbolts. No voices from on high. No dialog between the humans and gods of any sort. There is, however, a good deal of reference to gods, especially in Achilles' many disrespectful gestures, despite the admonishments of those around him. Perhaps this was Peterson and Benioff's way of making this story pertinent to our time. Not because the gods are no longer here, but because they are – at least in the sense that Man's folly still has devastating consequences. And that free will without accountability and discipline – God, if you will - leads to folly..




Image : 9 (9/9)

High definition video, perhaps unfairly, invites us to be more critical about picture quality in ways that the theatrical presentation does not. The image here is fairly uniform – a tad soft in spots, but generally filmlike. As the camera looks into the distance, armies and ships become increasingly less clear, as some other Blu-ray titles do not. However, this is likely a CG problem and not an issue with the transfer. Contrast and color is perfect with deep blacks and proper flesh tones when desired.

However, we might wonder at the amount of wasted space on this disc. With a capacity of 50 GB, only 32 are allocated altogether, and, of that, a little less than 28 GB are reserved for the movie. Troy’s director’s cut of over three hours on what amounts to a fraction more than a single layered disc, the bit rate necessarily suffers with a mere 11.77 Mbps. Even though this Blu-ray was an early release in the medium, we puzzle over the topography. That said, the image is often quite stunning with an unproblematic transfer


















Audio & Music : 8/8

In the first couple of years of Blu-ray history, Warner was notorious as a holdout for lossless, uncompressed audio. But here the studio is in exuberant embrace. Curiously, Warner decided on LPCM 5.1 mix at 48kHz/16 bit, which uses three times the space of a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD (about 6 or 7 GB I calculate). I was hoping for something emotionally stirring, but instead I found a “more is better” approach. During the battle scenes, I felt the activity in the surrounds to be somewhat overproduced, yet curiously unsubtle in the quieter moments. Perhaps I was expecting a more classical approach to the material, but alas, Troy is modern theatricality at its best. (Silly me.) That said, the music, effects and dialog are always clear within the mix. I also liked the score by James Horner: not as exotic as Vangelis was for Alexander, but then this is a different kind of movie.




Operations : 7

One thing I appreciate about Warner Home Video, especially as compared to Disney, for example, is how directly we get right to the business at hand. Before we know it, the movie begins – no previews or ads for the medium. Brave. The menu is straightforward, simple, easy to understand. As is typical with Warner Blu-rays, the slightly expanding thumbnails are not titled. In a way, it's nice to have so many chapters, but unless you know the movie very well, many of the thumbnails could as easily refer to one scene as another.


Extras : 6

The disc is loaded with extras (from the DVD) that tell us about the production in the usual terms - alas, all in standard definition. The titles of the various featurettes pretty much speak for themselves. The fault, dear Wolfie, is the absence of a commentary track (as there was, in its way, for the HD-DVD) – or, perhaps better than that, a piece on the Homer original.



Recommendation: 8

There will be those who complain that this movie doesn't represent history, or at least what we know of it - not least by compressing the events of years into days. To those I say: If you go to see a movie like Troy expecting authenticity, you're a braver man than I. Recommended.

Leonard Norwitz
September 30th, 2007

June 2010





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About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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