Gladiator v Troy

Border troy

Sharpen your sword and slip on your sandals – it’s the battle everybody wanted to see (well, two of you did). Russell Crowe takes on Brad Pitt. In skirts. What we do in this battle, will echo in the comments section…

Ross McG: Gladiator

At my signal, unleash hell

Pitting Troy against Gladiator is a little like throwing a new-born kitten into an arena with a huge man-eating tiger. There really is no contest. One is an instant classic, the other has Brad Pitt trying to look tough. With pigtails.

Gladiator is brilliant and remains one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had in the cinema – up there with Jurassic Park and Speed. Troy had about ten minutes of fun squeezed into its dreary seven-hour running time. Gladiator has Russell Crowe slicing and dicing his way through human flesh like a man possessed. Troy has Brad Pitt deciding whether or not to fight. His Achilles really was the Ronaldo of his day – petulant, moody and always looking at himself in the mirror. Crowe’s Maximus will go down as one of the movies’ all-time great heroes. A mean git, sure, but a mean git you can root for, especially when his family are wiped out.

The brilliance of Gladiator – besides the super action and the fun performances – is in its pacing. It begins not in the Colosseum but in the wilds of Germania, where Crowe must kick some ass in the name of Rome. Troy, in contrast, is in such a rush to get to its titular destination that the remaining two hours of the film is spent watching Brad Pitt on a beach, doing nothing. That’s fine if you have paid to see Heat Magazine: The Movie, but if you want some action you will be sorely disappointed.

Anyone else think A Good Year was crap?

Anyone else think A Good Year was crap?

In fairness, Troy has one great scene – Pitt’s fight with Eric Bana, the only actor in the film who does any, uh, acting. But Gladiator is a different beast, loaded with compelling sequence after compelling sequence. The aforementioned opening battle is terrific, yet it is bettered by the bloody first arena fight. When Crowe and Co eventually reach Rome, the action manages to go up a notch with a series of Colosseum clashes that have you wincing and cheering. Meanwhile, back in ancient Greece, Orlando Bloom (who was obviously cast to make Pitt look tough) faces Brendan Gleeson in a scuffle that wouldn’t reach the violence levels of a scrap in a primary school playground.

When Pitt screams: ‘Is there no one else?’ ten minutes in, he could be asking if there’s anyone left in the audience. But when Oliver Reed tells Crowe to ‘win the crowd’, he does just that. Am I not entertained? You’re damn right I am, Crowester. If only I could touch you on the shoulder once…


Ross McD: Troy

Careful boy, my mercy has limits

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Gladiator is a classic – we get it. But which would you really rather watch? The DVD tray is open: in one hand you’ve got a sword and sandals epic played by possibly the greatest ensemble cast ever, em, ensembled – Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Brendan Gleeson, Peter O’Toole, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, and of course, because he had a few minutes to spare that day, Brian Cox. In the other, you’ve got moody Russell Crowe stomping around for 2.5hours, while Joaquin Phoenix does his best to outsulk him while trying to bone his sister.

‘My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, me kid’s dead, me wife’s dead, yada yada, etc etc…’ Is it even possible to bring up the subject of films in the pub without some dick reciting this? It has become the new Samuel L ‘strike down upon thee’, and it is grating.


'The pink brolley isn't doing much for your hardman image, my love'

You see, Troy didn’t have the liberty of simply being about one guy’s vendetta mission. It is a sweeping epic that encompasses all the best things we learned about ancient Greece – the wooden horse of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships, Achilles v Hector, Achilles’ heel, the Odyssey, the Iliad – and that makes it fun to watch. Why couldn’t this film have been made while we were studying history in school? OK, basing your thesis on this particular depiction might have lost you some points for accuracy, but if you were allowed to draw pics of Brad’s awesome abs, then surely female markers would have been won over?

One of the main complaints I hear about Troy is Orlando Bloom’s Paris. Yeah he’s a pussy, but what do people expect? He’s a lover not a fighter! I for one think he played the character well: his pathetic ankle grabbing antics make you cringe as director Wolfgang Petersen wanted you too. I am sure, however, that Ridley Scott was not going for the same reaction during Connie Nielsen’s final speech over Russell’s dead body – ‘Is Rome worth one good man’s life? Today, we celebrate… our Independence Day.’ Cheesus Christ.

Troy has some absolutely cracking scenes – Achilles’ introduction as he dispatches that rather tall gentlemen without even looking at him, when he takes out a Trojan using a javelin like a sniper rifle, and best of all his scrap with Hector, when he refuses to let that stone take his glory. Pitt’s chemistry with Cox is delicious, while a young Sharon-Ni-Bheolain-lookalike Diane Kruger’s Helen is just the cherry on top.

Not to mention the most awesome names ever: Agamemnon? Menelaus? Priam? Patroclus? My first four kids’ names right there.

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24 Responses to “Gladiator v Troy”

  1. I tried so hard to like Gladiator. I really did. It just seems like one of those films I should like. But no matter how hard I try, I always just end up bored out of my skull! The only good bit is the very end, and that’s mainly cos of the music. Sorry Ross McG but Russell Crowe wandering around in a bad mood does nothing for me.
    Troy might not be the best film I’ve seen, but I’ve gotta agree wtih Rodd McD that it’s a lot more fun. Give me a straight choice….I just can’t sit through those 2 hours of terium again….

  2. Justin Michaels Says:

    Ross v Rodd – now that would be a much better website

  3. Terry McDonald Says:

    How about battle of the ageing Irish father figure – Richard Harris’s Marcus Aurelius vs Peter O’Toole’s Priam? Who would win I wonder (my money’s on Harris).

    Gladiator btw, every time over Troy. Troy is destined to end up as one of those camp classic moves, like Spartacus.

  4. keegobob Says:

    Sorry McG I have to agree with katie there, I thought Gladiator started off well but it was a bit too moody for me and it did drag on a bit, in fact it came to a point where I just wanted the film to end.

    It was always going to be difficult for peterson to cram a story like troy into 2 hours but it was a good attempt. Always makes me laugh when hector and pratroclus(pretending to be achilles) meet in battle and 10000 soldiers all just stop fighting to watch those 2 scrap it out.
    Another funny bit is where achilles does a bit of a stephen ireland and won’t fight anymore, instead he and his cronies watch hector kill ajax from the top of a hill where they could’nt possibly be able to see whats going on.

  5. Kathryn Says:

    I liked BBC Radio 4’s take on Gladiator.

    ‘My name is Maximus Decimus Meridias, Commander of the Armies of the North… father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife…
    And that’s why I called Claims Direct on 0845 585 285, to speak with one of their advisors’

  6. OK Justin I can’t type. Thanks for that.

    Sorry, RoSS

  7. That’s okay, Kalie.

    In Rodd we trust

  8. Superb work Ross McG, great piece and the Ronaldo comparison is absolutely spot on! Gladiator is about 100,000,000,000 times better!!

    I personally thought Russel Crowe gave one of the greatest acting performances in any film ever and think you have to have a heart of stone not to feel for him, those that say he was moody couldn’t of been watching Gladiator..the problem with Troy was I couldn’t get emotionally involved in the film bcause I couldn’t care less about any of the characters!

    Just like Braveheart, Gladiator is an emotionally charged rollocoaster ride with loads of great performances and plenty of action…I also love the Maximus speech and I’m proud to know it off by heart! Remember Harris’s talk with Maximus befor he dies..nothing in Troy comes close to this piece of acting!

    Troy was watchable with some decent moments, but their was absolutely nothing great about the film, Gladiator on the other hand needs to be in everybodys DVD collection!

  9. fandangogroovers Says:

    Gladiator is overrated and Troy is underrated but Gladiator is still a much better film!

  10. Troy has the misfortune of coming after Gladiator. Just like every other swords and sandals epic that followed. It’s not really a bad movie (the acting is horrible nearly all around, except O Toole, of course, who can probably make snoring look enigmatic), it just has to compete against unbeatable odds. Plus, Ridley Scott.

  11. What we have here are two swords n sandles flicks, one which is considered to be an epic, an all time classic (Gladiator) & a movie which seems to have the rep as its souless,MTV generation baby brother, which i have to say i don’t think is very fair. Watching Hector get cut down infront of his watching and adoring family was an amazing piece of cinema. also when priam goes to Achilles to beg for his boys body. “I loved my boy from the moment he opened his eyes until the moment you closed them.” brilliant stuff, give Troy its due’s folks!

  12. I did love Gladiator until Paul played it 527 times in a month.And 1’d look at Brad Pitt in a Barbie movie…………..

  13. General Griervous Says:

    Id pay 2c Heat Magazine: the movie!!
    Troy is definatly more fun, if I had the two movies in my hand, it would def b d1 I put in my dvd player. Plus its based on the illiad, u cant get better base material dan dat!
    Tho in fairness, Sharon-Ni-Bheolain!! gimme a break!

  14. 100000 times the Gladiator!

  15. Gladiator. Seen it way too many times, kind of overrated, but still a hell of a lot better than Troy, which was pretty must just riding the coattails of Gladiator like every other movie like Kingdom of Heaven and shit did too.

  16. Aykut Tütüncü Says:

    i say absoultly gladiator too… like MaryG90 🙂

  17. r u kidding me? Gladiator all the way, not even close

  18. Camau mburu Says:

    Gladiator!! Period.

  19. sebastian Says:

    are you guys serious? Gladiator all the way, troy was good but daym! Gladiator is like a gazillian times better

  20. maximus Says:

    Gladiator but Troy was also a good flick.

  21. My name is maximus decimus meridiuscommander of the army of the north, general of the felix legions, faher to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife and i’ll have my vengeance in this or the next

  22. i will tell you a secret something they don’t teach on the temple:the gods envy us. thy envy us beceause we are mortals, beceause every moment of our life could be the last. Every thing is more beautiful beceause we;re doomed.You will never be lovelier than you are mow. we will never be here again

  23. ‘Gladiator’ is Overrated and ‘Troy’ is underrated

  24. While I do think “Troy” is much better than many give it credit for, I’m still handing it to “Gladiator”. Both are very well made and entertaining with solid casts/characters, but I just find those in “Gladiator” to be a bit more compelling. Still, I do think “Troy” is well worth watching though.

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