Dr. Frank has a funny post about the new movie “Troy.” Even for the unintentionally funny parts, I wouldn’t give a nickel for anything with Brad Pitt in it. I started to write a comment, but it turned into a rant I decided I’d put on here instead.
One guy in the comments mentioned Jason and the Argonauts. Ray Harryhausen. The BEST. Now THAT is ancient Greece, man. The Gods stride amongst the mortals. Giant beings shake the Earth. Dynamite babes frolic about in togas. Heroes slay monsters. Still an utter masterpiece. Showed it to my kids a few years ago. One kid was so scared by the winged harpies she had an “accident” right there in my sister’s living room. The skeletons coming out of the ground. Oh man.
Another guy suggested that Mel Gibson should make the movie in literal, word-for-word ancient Greek. Funny, maybe, but …
That could be the TRUE and perfect Iliad movie. Yes. I can see it, almost. A 60 hour long, all ancient-Greek version directed by Mel Gibson would DOMINATE. Grunts, shrieks, running men, sweat, blood, dirt. Fleeting glimpses of spears being flung or thrust, of huge stones whistling down and splintering skulls, of limbs crunching under chariot wheels. Disembowellments, lower jaws hewn off, spears piercing thighs, bladders, lungs, eye sockets — each and every one of the harsh clinical, medical details of Homeric butchery. And the resonant Greek (with subtitles) of a voice-over of all of Homer’s incredible capsule biographies of one doomed warrior after another as he steps up for his moment of truth, only to be immediately felled into the dust by Ajax, or Hector or one of the other Heroes. Only an instant before a son, a husband, a father, a proud, strong man in the flower of youth, and now only food for the birds of the air and the wild dogs which prowl the edges of the battlefield. Death is never anonymous in Homer. Each one is personal. Each one has a story and a name. Each one hurts.
Strictly speaking the movie would be unwatchable. And not only because it would be a pitiless, unremitting cacaphony of screaming, bloody horror. The movie would also be way too long to watch even in a marathon session. We’d have to watch it in three hour segments over several months.
It would be the film equivalent of the Iggy & the Stooges Complete Funhouse Sessions — way, way too much for anyone entirely sane to want to listen to, but far, far too good to not eventually listen to it all.
All we need is someone with Mel Gibson’s money and contacts to take leave of his senses, and in an act of abject commercial lunacy embark on this cinematic dream quest for the perfect movie version of the ur-document of Western civilization. It will always remain only a theoretical possibility, I fear.
But I’d buy the DVD set for sure.