Helen of Troy (2003)

 

 

 

 

Director:  John Kent Harrison. 

Starring:  Sienna Guillory (Helen), Matthew Marsden (Paris), Rufus Sewell (Agamemnon), John Rhys-Davies (King Priam of Troy), Maryam d'Abo (Queen Hecuba), Emilia Fox (Cassandra, Princess of Troy), James Callis (Menelaus), Daniel Lapaine (Hector), Nigel Whitmey (Odysseus), Stellan SkarsgDrd (Theseus), Joe Montana (Achilles), Katie Blake (Clytemnestra), Craig Kelly (Pollux), Manuel Cauchi (Paris' Father), Kristina Paris (Iphigenia).

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

 

Disc I.

Troy.  A young girl named Cassandra runs to her parents shouting:  "Kill him!  Kill him!"   Her mother Queen Hecuba of Troy has just had a male child.  King Priam asks Cassandra how did she know that it was a boy child before anyone else knew?  "Have you had another of your visions?"  Yes.  The boy will be named Alexandros.  Dad asks:  "What else did you see?"  Cassandra hesitates then says firmly:  "If he lives, Troy will burn."  Priam believes in Cassandra's ability to see into the future so he gives the order to take his son into the mountains and throw him off the highest peak.  The queen strongly objects to this, but the boy is taken from her.  The servant takes the boy, but just leaves the boy by the edge of the cliff.  Another man has been watching what is going on and he goes up into the mountains and takes the baby.  He says the baby will be named Paris. 

Paris as a young man is a goat herder.  A goat gets away from him and Paris has to go into a cave after him.  He stops in the coolness to rest.  Three goddesses greet him:  Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty;  Hera the goddess of wealth; and Athena the goddess of power.  They ask him to choose between the three of them.  Paris selects Aphrodite.  The goddess of beauty shows him an image of a young woman named Helen, who lives in Sparta and is the daughter of the King of Sparta.  At the same time she shows Helen the image of Paris.  The two people fall in love with each other 

Helen's brother, Pollux, comes to get Helen for she has to get prepared for the wedding of her sister Clytemnestra to Agamemnon.  They watch as King Atreus of Mycenae, the father of Agamemnon, leads the wedding party to Sparta.  Besides Agamemnon rides his younger brother Menelaus.  

Also coming to the wedding is King Theseus of Athens, who believes Helen to be the most beautiful girl in the world.  He is accompanied by one man. 

The King of Sparta Tyndareus greets the Mycenaean wedding party.  He introduces his daughter Clytemnestra to the King of Mycenae.  Agamemnon steps up and says:  "I hereby claim you as my wife."  Just then Pollux and Helen arrive.  Agamemnon is bowled over by the beauty of Helen.  Tyndareus is upset with Helen and describes her to everyone as "an untamed and disrespectful daughter".   Menelaus is equally as shaken as Agamemnon by the beauty of Helen.  He volunteers to be Helen's escort. 

Pollux takes Helen to get cleaned up for the wedding.  She tells her brother that she will marry a shepherd.  One day, her beloved will find her.  Pollux says yes, but for now she can be meeting a lot of different men, all of whom will desire her. 

At the wedding both Agamemnon and Menelaus stare at Helen.  She is bothered by this, so she walks out of the wedding.  She runs right into King Theseus of Athens, who, with the help of his assistant, kidnaps Helen.  On a break from riding, Theseus and the other man throw the dice to see who takes Helen.  Theseus wins. The other fellow leaves.  Theseus tells Helen that he is going to marry her.  Perhaps to humble Helen a little, Theseus tells her the truth that although she is Queen Leda's daughter, Tyndareus is not her father.  This shocks Helen and she asks how does Theseus know this?  He says that Queen Leda threw herself from the west wall of the palace after she had given birth to Helen.  She had been raped when her husband was away and got pregnant. 

By force the Trojans take a bull from Paris.  He had raised that bull from it's infancy.  The bull is to be the grand prize for the winner in a series of combats between two men.  Paris is very upset about the loss of his bull. 

Helen asks to be told more about her mother.  Theseus tells her Tyndareus was away in Egypt.  Her mother had been disgraced as everyone saw her pregnant, while her husband was away.  This is why she killed herself shortly after the birth of Helen.  Helen gets upset and runs away.  Theseus follows her.  She flops down on the ground.  Theseus comes up to her and she asks him who is her father?  Theseus tells her that Zeus is her father and that's why Helen is so beautiful.  The King of Athens now asks her to let him be her friend.  Helen says yes, as long as Theseus accepts that she must always know the truth.  Theseus agrees, saying:  "Always." 

Paris asks his father why do the Trojans treat them so badly?  He is determined to win the bull back.  Troy then was the richest city in the world.  People and products from all over the area came to Troy.  The city controlled all the trade north and south of the Aegean.  And it would be Paris who would control the fate of Troy. 

Paris comes to Troy.  He sees his bull. but he is pushed away by a guard.  He goes and signs up for the competition.  He tells the registrar that he is from Mount Ida and, no, he doesn't have any armor or helmet.  The registrar tells someone to get this man some used armor.  Not that Paris is going to win, says the registrar, but the armor and helmet will help somewhat.  Paris asks:  "Why can't I win?"  The registrar answers:  "No one ever beats Prince Hector."   Paris doesn't realize it, but Hector is his biological brother. 

The first fight for Paris is against a man known as Pres Byterian.  In the fight, Cassandra senses that the young man is her brother Alexandros.  She is very alarmed at this.  She gets out of her seat to get a better look at this man called Paris.  In the fight Paris gets knocked down.  They have to revert to fighting each other with their bare fists.  Paris knocks out his opponent.  Paris of Mt. Ida is declared the winner by King Priam. 

Prince Hector comes over to the stranger and tells him that he needs better armor.  In fact, he says Paris shouldn't even be fighting because he has been wounded.  Paris says he has to fight because he wants to get back the bull the Trojans stole from him.  Hector tells others that he can't fight a wounded man, referring to Paris. 

Paris now fights Damien of Argus.  He wins again.  While waiting for his next fight, his adoptive father comes over to tell him to please come home for Paris is his only child.  Paris will fight again.

The third fight is with Hideus of Seronea.  Paris wins again.  While waiting for the match with Hector, Cassandra tells the adoptive father that he is not the father of Paris.  Paris is Alexandros.  She adds that Paris should be dead.  Paris doesn't know what this crazy woman is telling him. 

Now it's brother against brother.  Cassandra whispers to Hector:  "You must kill him.  He is baby Alexandros."  Hector chooses to fight Paris with daggers.  Priam is shocked by his move.  He hears Cassandra hissing: "Kill him!  Kill him!"  He has heard these words before and senses that Alexandros must be Paris.  The two men fight and again Paris is the winner.  Now Cassandra comes forward to say this Paris is Alexandros.  Paris turns to his father for help, but his adoptive father has to tell him:  "You are home."  He explains to the king that he found Alexandros on the mountain and took him home with him.  The queen sobs and then hugs Alexandros.  She says:  "You have brought home our son."

Prince Hector now announces "Prince Paris of Troy" to the audience.  He then says quietly to Paris:  "Because you live, we all must die!" 

Helen tells the king of Athens that she is now ready to make love.  Theseus tells her that some day she will find a better man to be her husband.  This really upsets Helen and she reminds Theseus that he had told her that they would be wed.  She becomes angry and runs away.  In doing so, she runs right into her brother Pollux.  With him are some soldiers and they now go after the king of Athens.  The king does well for awhile, but one of the soldiers gets the end of a whip around the king's neck and he pulls him up against a pole.  Pollux then stabs the king of Athens who goes down.  As Pollux relaxes, the king has just enough energy to stab Pollux in the gut.  Both men die. 

Tyndareus now has no male heir.  So he seeks someone to replace Pollux.  Odysseus, King of Ithaca, is the first to come forward, but he is followed by many others, including the strong man Achilles of the Myrmidons.  Menelaus also makes himself a candidate.  Tyndareus is furious with Helen because she shows no grief over the loss of her dead brother.  Dad drags Helen over to the competing rivals for her brother's place.  (Brief nudity through translucent blouse.)  Tyndareus says that he will leave Helen to the man who will be king of Sparta. 

Menelaus makes it evident that he wants Helen very much.  The other men say that Helen would be a curse on any husband of hers.  Agamemnon wants Helen but he is married to her sister.  What he is concerned about is the unification of the Grecian city states.  He says Greece should be united.  Achilles objects that Agamemnon does not command an army at all.  Agamemnon replies that their father King Atreus will die in a matter of days and Agamemnon will become the new king.  Achilles toasts to Agamemnon saying in that case "we greet you as our new high king".  They all toast to the mighty Agamemnon of Mycenae. 

With that settled the men swear an oath that whoever marries Helen, if something happens to her, they will all come to the aid of the husband.  Agamemnon makes sure that all the men present swear to the oath.  But who will get Helen?  They all put their seals (their rings) into a large cup.  The seals will be thrown up into the air over an open container.  The seal that falls closet to the jar will claim the bride.  One seal falls right into the container.  Menelaus wins!  Menelaus can hardly believe his ears.  Helen is his.  (His brother Agamemnon does not look happy about it.)

Helen is sad, but her sister tries to cheer her up.  She says that now they will not only be sisters, but also sisters-in-law. 

Hector comes to Paris to tell him that their father is sending him to Sparta.  Paris is to be on a peace mission, but by this action he will also find out if the Greeks are thinking about waging war against Troy. 

Paris arrives in Sparta.  Meanwhile, Menelaus has a naked Helen come into the room of influential men with him to show her off.  She walks in like a model and then goes to stand on top of a large pedestal.  Paris comes into the big room and sees Helen on the pedestal.  Helen sees him too.  Bingo!  The two recognize each other.  (Very brief nudity.)  Paris and Helen look at each other once more. 

Meanwhile, Menelaus and Agamemnon argue about how they should respond to the Trojan envoy.  Agamemnon is very agitated.  Menelaus has a cooler head and tells his brother that it is obvious that the Trojans have sent the envoy to divide the two brothers.  Agamemnon is very rude to Paris. 

Helen leaves the room.  She gets dressed and walks up onto the parapet of the Spartan fortress.  She is about to jump off the parapet, when Paris grabs her and pulls her back.  He tells her:  "I have come for you."  She responds:  "It's too late."  Nevertheless they embrace.  She says something about his loving her, kills her.  Paris promises:  "I will never leave you."   Clytemnestra followed Helen and now she overhears the talk between Helen and Paris.  She hears Helen tell Paris that he must leave her and never see her again. 

When Helen is alone Clytemnestra comes up to her and slaps her across the face "for consorting with an enemy, a Trojan".  She then tells Helen that Agamemnon and Menelaus will question the Trojan envoy and get all the information they can from him.  Then Menelaus will kill him. 

Agamemnon plays with his young daughter.  Menelaus talks with Paris.  He asks Paris if the walls of Troy are made with gold?  No.  Agamemnon goes over to see Helen.  Her sister sees Agamemnon touch Helen's hair wistfully.  Later Clytemnestra tells Agamemnon:  "No man can possess all he desires."  Agamemnon doesn't like this remark so he grabs his seer.  The seer tells him that Agamemnon will rule the Aegean.  He points this out to Clytemnestra and then strongly tells her to never again interfere in his affairs. 

Paris and his two companions are made prisoners.  Helen finds out and she gets into the room where the captives are being held and gives Paris a dagger.  He frees himself and his companions by killing the guards.  Helen tells him:  "Go now.  You are free."  Paris tells her that he is nothing without her.  Helen replies that she begs him to please go.  So Paris and his companions get on the ship heading to Troy.   Helen watches from the dock.  As the ship pulls out, Helen dives into the water and swims to the ship.  Paris fishes her out of the water.  Helen asks him:  "What have we done?" 

Menelaus goes to his brother telling him that he will have the head of the Trojan on the end of a spike.  Agamemnon says that he will lead the coalition to fight Troy, but Menelaus must agree that he will get no spoils other than Paris and Helen.  Menelaus doesn't like it, but he has no choice but to agree. 

The ship which carries Paris and Helen runs into a bad storm.

It's now been two months and the wind is still against the sailing of the Greek ships for Troy.   Agamemnon asks his seer what it will take to make the winds favorable for him?  The seer says that the gods will give him fair winds, but he will have to sacrifice his daughter to them.  And Agamemnon must hold the killing knife himself.  The gods demand it.  Agamemnon tells his gathered men that they soon will have the winds with them.  The king now sends soldiers to grab his little girl.  Agamemnon kills his daughter (no bloody scene shown).  Immediately fair winds arise and the soldiers and sailors roar in approval. 

 

Disc II.

The ship carrying Paris and Helen ran aground on an island.  They have been stranded there until the ship gets repaired.  In the meantime they enjoy taking long walks along the beach.  When the ship is repaired the group prepares to continue their journey.  Just then someone announces that many ships are headed passed them.  Paris and Helen take a look and see a massive Greek fleet (carrying 10,000 men) headed to Troy.  Paris and Helen know they must immediately sail for Troy to warn them of the oncoming Greeks. 

Paris and Helen arrive in Troy ahead of the Greeks.   Hector is furious with his brother, saying:  "It is you who bring harm to Troy."  When they come in front of King Priam, he yells at Paris:  "You steal the King of Sparta's wife?"   In his defense, Paris explains:  "I did not take her."  Helen is brought in wearing a fresh outfit.  Cassandra goes a bit crazy shouting that Helen must go.  "She will kill us all!"  When Helen speaks she says:  "I wish to return to my husband."

Menelaus and Odysseus come to talk with King Priam.  Menelaus demands that the king return Helen.  King Priam asks:  "For what purpose?"  Menelaus is flabbergasted and in a threatening tone demands Helen's return.  Odysseus interferes saying that Menelaus is blinded by love and cannot state his case clearly.  He basically answers Priam's question by saying:  for the purpose of love.  Priam says that this was a good answer, but it will be tomorrow morning before the Greeks will get their answer to the request of Menelaus.

The king speaks with Helen in private.  He asks her:  "Do you love my son?"  She answer "With all my heart."  He then asks if he gives Helen back to the Greeks, will this stop the oncoming war?  Helen answers no, because she knows Agamemnon and what he wants is to dominate all the Aegean.  He is a man so determined for fame and power that he even killed his own daughter just to get some fair winds from the gods.  King Priam then says that she will become a part of Troy and she will be known as Helen of Troy.  Helen accepts the offer.  Cassandra is mad, furious with her father and disillusioned.  She senses death all around her. 

In the morning the Trojans do not come and Menelaus says:  "It appears they will keep her."  Then he raises his sword and shouts to his men:  "To Troy!"  The men roar in approval. 

The Greek troops start landing.  They are met with a heavy rain of arrows falling upon them.  Quite a few men are killed, but there are too many Greeks to kill.  They push the archers back and back.  Then Trojan regular troops try to stop the flow.  They too are pushed back.  Meanwhile, Agamemnon and Achilles with a group of Greeks climb up on top of the cliffs of Troy.  With cloaks hiding their uniforms and faces, they head for the center of the town of Troy. 

As news spreads of the onslaught of the Greeks, people in the town start to panic and start running.  They rush into the Trojan fortress.  Reaching the market area, Agamemnon and the others push their way through the market.  Soon after this the regular group of Greek soldiers nears the fortress of Troy.  Agamemnon has his men take off their cloaks.  A big fight begins between Agamemnon's men and Trojan soldiers. 

Up on the parapet, King Priam calls for his archers.  They start firing their arrows at the oncoming Greeks.  For Menelaus, it seems that time stops.  He sees Helen up on the parapet with the King and Queen of Troy.  He looks around at the time-frozen men fighting for their lives.  The action begins again. 

Paris fights against Agamemnon and his men, but things seem to be going the way of the Greeks.  Hector saves his brother by grabbing his hand and pulling him up and onto the frame beams of the merchant selling booths.  This removes Paris from the fighting.  The Greeks try to kill Paris, but Agamemnon is forced to fall back because Trojan archers arrive.  Paris and Hector get back into the fortress and yell:  "Close the gates!"  Paris tells Hector that he owes his brother his life.  Hector merely says:  "We are blood." 

Cassandra now tells her family that the Greeks will be held back for ten years.  In this time they will grow rich and powerful from the spoils of war on the nearby villages and the town of Troy.  She also says that she sees the image of the city of Troy flooded with tears.  She cries out that they must listen to her.  Hector says that Cassandra is simply mad (in the head).  She adds that a creature will come that eats men and they will eat the people of Troy.  "You all will die!"

10 years pass.  The Greeks are growing very exhausted from ten years of waiting for victory over Troy.  Most of the men want to go home.  Everyone agrees that ten years is just too long a time.  Agamemnon then says that they must finish this war or go home.  Agamemnon says he has an idea on how to win.

Back at home in Sparta, Clytemnestra tells her servant that when the outcome of Troy is known, she wants to know immediately. 

Paris receives a message.  Agamemnon proposes peace.  Hector asks:  "At what price?" 

Paris and Hector go to talk with Agamemnon, Menelaus and Odysseus.  It is decided that Paris will fight a match with Menelaus in single combat.  Whoever wins will claim Helen.  Agamemnon says that no matter who wins, the Greeks will leave.  Menelaus chooses to fight with javelins.  Agamemnon gives Menelaus four javelins owned by their father. Paris throws his javelin at Menelaus but misses.  Menelaus throws his javelin partway through the shield of Paris.  As Paris pulls the javelin out of his shield, he cuts his left forearm on the tip of the javelin.  Another exchange of javelin throws hurts no one.  So the two men use their swords.  In the fight Paris gets spun around and suddenly starts getting very dizzy.  He tries to shake it off, but he can't.  Menelaus knows that Paris has been weakened.  He watches as Paris falls to the ground. 

Agamemnon urges his brother to finish off Paris and revenge the House of Atreus.  Menelaus grabs Paris by his helmet and pulls him along the ground until the helmet gets ripped off of the head of Paris.  Menelaus sits on the ground.  He says some substance was used to weaken Paris.  (Most likely it was smeared on the heads of the javelins Agamemnon handed to Menelaus.)  Menelaus swears to Paris that he did not know about  the substance on the javelins.  He then asks Paris:  "Do you honestly believe that you deserve her more than I do?"  Yes, says Paris.  Menelaus then asks if Helen has spoken of him?  Paris thinks no, but stays silent.  The topic switches to Agamemnon.  Menelaus says that his brother wants Troy, not Helen.  Paris says:  "Then why are we trying to kill each other?"  He says that maybe Menelaus should defy his brother some day.  (The javelin was rubbed with a substance the Thracians use to kill monkeys.)

Menelaus comes out of the alleyway first to the great hurrahs of the Greeks.  Then Paris comes out and the shout goes up:  "Paris lives!"  Agamemnon says that the two will fight again tomorrow.  Hector doesn't like the idea so he challenges Agamemnon to fight in single combat, but this time without the poison.  Achilles steps up to fight Hector on behalf of Agamemnon.  King Priam from the parapet pleads to Hector not to hand over his life to that brutal, war-loving dog Achilles.  But Hector insists on fighting Achilles.  Achilles makes it easy on Hector by turning his back to him, but Hector says he doesn't fight that way.  Achilles says that Hector should have taken the opportunity, because he, Achilles, does fight dirty.  He swings around and throws his javelin into Hector's body.  Achilles then grabs Hector and ties his feet feet to his chariot.  He drives away with Hector being dragged behind him.  He shouts:  "Today I feed your son to my dogs."  The Queen and Helen both cry. 

Helen goes to see Cassandra, who has been locked up.  Cassandra doesn't want to see Helen and shouts at her:  "Leave me!"  She says that Helen brings ruin to her house.  Helen takes it and asks Cassandra to tell her what she can do to save Paris?  Cassandra tells Helen to come up really close to her.  She then tells Helen that Achilles dies, Ajax dies, Odysseus is wounded, Agamemnon is wounded so that only Menelaus is left to lead the Greeks.  She then says if Helen surrenders to Agamemnon, the Aegeans will leave.  Helen asks what about Paris?  Cassandra says he will not die today. 

At night, Helen starts out to see Agamemnon.  The guards see her and tell Paris that Helen has left the palace.  The Greeks are still celebrating the death of Hector.  Achilles still drags the body, but he drive sthe chariot around and around in a small circle.  Paris goes alone to get Helen.  Helen comes to Agamemnon and says:  "I come to end this war."  Agamemnon asks:  "Just like that?"  She says she wants a trade.  She will give him the daughter of Zeus for the body of Hector.  Agamemnon asks Helen:  "Did my daughter die in vain?  Can you imagine?"  He talks about how trusting his daughter was and then he stabbed her.  She had a terribly confused and hurt expression on her face.  He shouts:  "There is no trade.  Not you, not Troy, not even my own life."  Helen criticizes Agamemnon and he becomes furious.  She grabs a spear to keep him away from her and she then runs out of the tent.  Agamemnon grabs a cloak to hide his face and goes after her. 

Paris is there and he wants to fight Agamemnon now.  But Achilles is also there and he says he stands for Agamemnon.  He tries to run over Paris with his chariot, but Paris dives out of the way, grabs a bow and arrow and shoots the arrow into the heel of Achilles.  The huge man screams out in pain and dies.  Now Paris grabs Helen and makes a run for it.  When they stop, however, Agamemnon comes out of nowhere to stab Paris.  Helen asks Paris to please stay with her, but he dies. 

The funeral pyre burns the body of Paris.  The queen tells the king that he wouldn't believe Cassandra's prophecy and now look at what's happened.  A messenger comes to King Priam and says: "My king, the Greeks have sailed."  A boy walking towards the coastline runs into an absolutely humongous wooden horse.  He shouts for his mother.  A big crowd gathers around the huge horse.  Helen tells the king don't trust the Aegeans or their gifts.  The king has his archers shoot their arrow into the underbelly of the wooden horse, but nothing happens.  The king orders that the wooden horse be burned, but a man steps forward to say that the horse may be some type of offering to the gods.  He then takes the king over to see a foreign man buried up to his neck in sand, left there by the Greeks.  They start asking the man what happened?  He confirms the idea of the horse being an offering  --  in this case to the goddess Athena.  The foreigner also says that the Greeks said that the Trojans would never be able to get the horse into Troy.  This challenges the pride of the Trojans and it is decided that the wooden horse will be dragged into the fortress.

Men set to work knocking down the top part of the wall enclosing the gates.  They don't have to cut too much because the horse's head is thin and doesn't take up a lot of room.  They can squeeze it through a small opening in the wall. 

In her jail cell, Cassandra sees the horse suddenly come to life.  Helen comes in to see Cassandra again.  She wants to know if Cassandra can see what happens.  Cassandra says she sees Helen where she belongs (back in Greece).  Helen tells her that she gave herself up to the Greeks, but it didn't save Paris.  Cassandra asks:  "But you didn't surrender, did you?" 

The foreigner goes under the horse and stands there for awhile.  This is the signal that it's time for the Greeks inside the belly of the horse to come out soon and fight.  The men inside start putting on their armor. The foreigner kills a Trojan guard and throws a lit torch over the parapet.  This is the sign to the Greeks hiding in the dark outside the fortress to start their attack.  The foreigner now goes back to the horse and taps on one of its leg. The Greeks let themselves down by ropes from the belly of the horse.  They immediately start killing Trojan guards.  They also start setting fires and let the other Greeks into the fortress.  A group of them go to the chambers of the king and queen.  Agamemnon stabs King Priam and the soldiers start hacking away at him with their swords.

Agamemnon orders that Helen be brought to him.  Menelaus watches as Helen is brought over to his brother.  Agamemnon grabs Helen by her hair and throws her up on a table.  He starts raping her.  Menelaus tries to stop him from raping Helen but two soldiers hold Menelaus back.   

All of a sudden Clytemnestra makes an appearance in the palace.  She makes her way to the indoor pool.  There she sees Helen naked and all beaten up and her husband together with a nude woman.  The other woman leaves quickly.  Now Clytemnestra tells Helen to go.  In the water Agamemnon does not like this and he says that he told Clytemnestra before that she in never to interfere in his business.  Clytemnestra tells Agamemnon that she went to the place where he killed their daughter.  She then quickly grabs a net and a sword, rushes over to Agamemnon and throws the netting over her husband.  She then starts stabbing Agamemnon over and over again.  The water starts turning red from Agamemnon's blood. 

As narrator Menelaus says:  "War is waged by nations, but it is human beings that pay the price."  Helen walks over to the place where Paris was killed by Agamemnon.  Menelaus walks over to her.  She moves her head away from her neck ready to have it lopped off by Menelaus.  He says that surely she doesn't think that he would kill her?  Helen replies:  "I do not thank you for my life."  She adds:  "I cannot love you."  Menelaus asks her:  "What will you do?"  She answers:  "I will follow."   He responds:  "I accept."  He starts walking away and Helen follows him. 

 
 

Menelaus as the narrator says the traditional story of Helen of Troy didn't happen the way it has been told.  He says he knows this since he was there.  Now he will tell everyone the real story of Helen.  So I was expecting a twist on the old story, but found that though some of the details might be a bit different, the story was still largely and basically the same.  The film is on two discs so more time is spent on the story itself, but the story was still familiar.  Although I know the story well, I still enjoyed watching this version.  Sienna Guillory was good as Helen and she is definitely pretty, but the most beautiful woman in the world?  I think titles like this are meaningless, because the tastes of men and women vary so much as to what they consider beautiful. And this makes deciding who is the most beautiful woman exceedingly difficult.  So whey even use the title?  Sienna looks like a model and is very pretty.  It's best to leave it at that. 

The film makes it clear that a war was not really started because of a beautiful woman.  King Agamemnon wanted to attack Troy even before he knew Helen.  Troy was the richest city in the Aegean and Agamemnon wanted it conquered.  Helen just provided a nice cover for the start of the war.  He could use Helen as a way of getting the Greeks to unite around a common cause.  King Priam realized this and considered giving up Helen.  Giving her up would have changed nothing, except for its effect on Paris.  So he had Helen stay with them. 

What a difference between this Helen and the Helen of the Euripides play The Trojan Women.  In this film she is reasonably compassionate, but in the latter film, Helen is regarded as a terrible monster with no feelings at all for the fate of others.  So to this extent, the film was different a bit. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 


Historical Background:

 

Athens  --  dominates the Attica periphery northwest of Sparta. 

Mycenae --  90 km south-west of Athens; 11 miles north of Argos; and 48 km south of Corinth, in the north-eastern Peloponnese of today's Greece.   In its heyday it dominated most of southern Greece. 

Sparta  --  located the banks of the River Eurotas, Laconia, south-eastern Peloponnese, southwest of Argos.

 

 

 

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