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Troy - World premiere, US reaction and exhibition



Story by: Jack Foley

THE world premiere of the epic movie, Troy, took place in Berlin on Sunday, when thousands of screaming fans turned out to mob its main star, Brad Pitt, and a 10-metre high wooden Trojan horse was built in its honour.

The eagerly-anticipated film, starring Pitt as Achilles, debuted in the home country of the film's director, Wolfgang Peterson, one week ahead of its US release (on May 14), and its debut at the Cannes Film Festival.

The CineStar cinema played host to the event, which was also attended by the film’s co-stars.

A press conference held before the premiere was also held, at which Pitt told journalists that he thought the skirt look from the film would catch on.

The star also admitted to realising the irony that he had injured his Achilles tendon while making the movie, in Malta and Mexico.

"Maybe it was the Gods getting angry with me," he joked.

The film is based on Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, and opens in the UK on May 21, following previews from the previous weekend and an exclusive presentation at the Odeon Leicester Square.

US reaction

Once the dust had settled, and the final verdicts had been delivered, it seems Troy fared quite well with US critics, despite some notable expressions of disappointment from some of the leading publications.

USA Today found it to be ‘a gripping, well-told adaptation of one of the oldest human dramas’, while the Philadelphia Inquirer observed that ‘when the film focuses on the Trojans, it's splendid. But when Troy attempts to sort out the competing agendas of the Greeks, it drags’.

The New York Times, meanwhile, wrote that ‘this big, expensive, intermittently campy example of Hollywood Homerism is desperate to be regarded as a classic. It isn't, but it's not so bad either’.

And the Minneapolis Star Tribune declared that ‘the opening scene involves two thousand-man armies marching determinedly toward each other across a field the size of Rhode Island. And that's one of the more modest battles’.

The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, described it as being ‘in a league with Hollywood's top historical epics, ancient or otherwise’.

Less impressed, was the Los Angeles Times, which opined that ‘although screenwriter Benioff's attempt to make the dialogue contemporary is sincere enough, the final product is flat and soap opera-like more often than not’.

While Entertainment Weekly dismissed it as ‘a pageant long but not deep, noisy but not stirring, expensive but not sumptuous’.

But E! Online wrote that ‘it's basically a long-ish, well-crafted epic, thanks to a timeless story that even Tinseltown can't find a way to mess up’.

And Efilmcritic.com felt that ‘there are well-hewn and deeply engaging character shadings that capably fortify the moments between Troy's astounding action sequences’.

Newsday, meanwhile, declared that ‘it does possess the aura of the ancient - at least within the parameters of the Hollywood epic’.

The Hollywood Reporter described it as ‘a protracted and uninvolving affair in which men battle over issues that audiences may struggle to find compelling, and no central figure emerges to take command of the film’.

While Variety felt that ‘despite a sensationally attractive cast and an array of well-staged combat scenes presented on a vast scale, Petersen's highly telescoped rendition of the Trojan War lurches ahead in fits and starts for much of its hefty running time, to OK effect’.

But there were positives, with Rolling Stone declaring that ‘Troy, besides being tremendously entertaining, is the best crib-sheet guide to Homer ever’.

And Time Magazine stating that ‘this is The Iliad as a WWE SmackDown: violent fights, snappy insults and a connoisseur's idolatry of beautiful brawn’.

Exhibition

The British Museum is to stage an exhibition to tie-in with the release of Troy.

‘Discover Troy’ opens on Wednesday (May 12) at the central London museum and will feature weapons from the Greek Bronze Age, alongside Greek vases and plaques.

In an event designed to rival the success of the Lord of the Rings exhibition, at the Science Museum, five costumes from the film, as worn by stars like Brad Pitt and Peter O'Toole will also be on display.

It also forms part of the museum's Greek Summer programme.

A number of special events have also been lined up, including ‘Troy Day’, on June 19, which will explore the making of Wolfgang Petersen's film, with a speech by his son, Daniel, who has followed the production since its inception.

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