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Troy’s movie errors

Posted by DreamSharer on February 19, 2012


Since I have a huge passion for Greek mythology and its influence on pop culture, I was very upset when through my expertise in this topic I noticed big factual errors in the movie Troy Directed by Wolfgang Petersen and starring Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana.

My criticism starts by noting that most equipment used by the Greeks in the movie, such as the large round shields and Achilles helmet, was not from the period of the Trojan War but was actually from the Classical Period (5-4th centuries BC). At the time when the epic was set, the Greeks used small bowl-shaped helmets and light leather shields shaped like the number 8.

Furthermore, I was shocked at the burial coinage rituals used in the movie. When burning the bodies on pyres, the characters in the movie placed coins on the corpses’ eyes. As noted in Greek history and in worldwide encyclopedias, the Greeks placed a coin in the mouth under the tongue of the corpse, not on their  eyes. However, the major factual error lies in the fact that  at the time of the Trojan War, coinage was not even invented yet. Coinage of the dead, according to Greek and Roman literary sources, was invented from the 5th century BC through the 2nd century AD.  Thus, this shows that during the Trojan War, there wouldn’t have been coins at all.

Coins were found in Greek burials as soon as Greece was monetized. The jawbones of skulls found in certain burials were stained greenish from contact with a copper coin. According to Greek History, Greeks put the coins under the corpse’s tongue for safe passage across the river styx in which the dead had to pay charon the ferryman one golden drachma to enter the underworld. Legend has it that once you enter the underworld you go to the fields of ashphodel, or if you offended a god you will get a punishment like Tantalus did. Tantalus was given a really bad thirst, and was put in a river but every time he bent down to drink, the water sloshed away from him. However, the Greeks said that if you were a good person you were sent to the Elysian fields where you partied forever or were given a chance to be reborn. If you have been reborn thrice and sent to elysium three times, you were sent to the isle of the blessed.

Moving onto the next factual error in the movie is when the boy goes to find Achilles to fight the enormous warrior from Thessaly, the boy tells him that “the Thessalonian is huge”. The correct way of saying it is “Thessalian”. A “Thessalonian” is someone from Thessaloniki, a Greek city that was not founded until centuries later (4th century BC) by Cassander, who became the king of Greece after Alexander’s death. Cassander married Thessalonike, Alexander’s sister and named the city after her to honor her. Had there not been Thessalonians and Thessalians, that kind of mistake would have passed. However, because these two cities existed in history, that made it a big factual error.

Not only was I shocked at the factual  errors but given the fact that I studied film and television and I’m a director myself, I could not help noticing the continuity issues in the movie. I feel sorry for the producer and director because they are paying script supervisors and continuity supervisors who were not doing their jobs. Their jobs was to be aware of any continuity issues and they did a pretty crappy job at it. I say that because those errors were not hidden or unnoticeable but were actually evident and obvious. I will start with the scene when Patroclus was fighting Hector in Achilles’ armor. Hector quite prominently stabbed Patroclus in the chest, which would logically make a hole or a least a cut in the armor. Yet, when Achilles goes to fight Hector in the same armor his cousin died in, no such marks were visible and the armor was perfect with no holes or even scratch marks.

Another event as such occurred when Achilles was dragging the dead Hector away from the walls of Troy, the spear that went through Hector’s body disappeared from his body in every long range shot, however, that spear reappeared and remained in every close up. So that is yet another major and obvious continuity mistake.

We also see a continuity problem as Achilles dies when his sword is seen sticking out of the ground in a horizontal position, but when the camera pans upward in the next shot, the sword is clearly now lying on the grass next to him.

The last point I am going to bring up is when Achilles and Hector fight, they both break their spears so now we see the end of the spear that is sticking out. However, when Hector picks the spear up again after it was knocked off from his hand, We see a perfect non-broken spear. How could that ever escape a script supervisor or a continuity supervisor.

The director is not to blame because he is too busy with the creative process. The producer was too busy getting things done so again this is the fault of people who were only supposed to look for in-continuities and inconsistencies and failed at that. Also such issues should have been revised in post-production. I just feel bad because I loved the movie and I loved Homer’s epic “The Iliad” too and I am not the only critical viewer out there. There are way too many movie critics out there waiting to tear this movie apart, so thanks to the researchers who were supposed to research the facts of the historical period the movie was about, and thanks to the people supervising continuity; those 2 teams were a big reason the critics have it easy to mock the film and make negative reviews that would affect the ratings of the movie.

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