After Ridley Scott’s Gladiator burst onto the scene in 2000 and raked in over $460 million at the box office, going on to win five Academy Awards from thirteen nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe, the rest of Hollywood suddenly jumped on the bandwagon and decided to make big budget action-driven epics of their own.
Over the next few years, countless movies clearly inspired by that success were released including The Last Samurai, Alexander, King Arthur and The Alamo, and Scott himself even returned to the well twice more with Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood. But the only title that manage to exceed Gladiator at the box office was Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy.
At a cost of $185 million, it was one of the most expensive movies ever made at the time, and the Air Force One director assembled a star-studded ensemble led by Brad Pitt that also featured Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, Rose Byrne and the legendary Peter O’Toole. Troy may have provided style over substance, but the spectacle was often awe-inspiring in a lavish production that threw every penny up there on the screen.
Reviews were positive if not overly enthusiastic, but it provides plenty of bruising battle sequences and overwrought drama for those seeking nothing but pure escapism. The Director’s Cut is a vastly superior movie that adds 30 minutes of additional footage, but the theatrical edition still provides plenty of bang for your buck. Brad Pitt‘s accent might leave a lot to be desired, but his performance as Achilles is powered by nothing other than A-list magnetism and charisma.
Troy is one of the more underrated blockbusters of the last 15 years or so, but should prove very popular with subscribers when it arrives on Netflix next month, on October 1st.