I went to see this film in the cinema just to see the spectacle of the huge Greek fleet sailing to Troy and fully expected the film itself to be rubbish. Instead I found the film to be a pleasant surprise, and became one of the few people who loved the theatrical version of this film and intensely disliked the director’s cut – considering the majority of the added material unnecessary and needlessly graphic. I read the description of this edit a number of times without downloading it, as it sounded like a pure action edit and nothing more; but I downloaded it on a slow Sunday afternoon, when I was bored, and received another pleasant surprise.
Gekko maintains that there were 200 edits and I can believe it. There are numerous trims to scenes, all implemented in a masterly fashion, and the action speeds along at a terrific pace. While I personally enjoy long sprawling films, people who found that Troy dragged will enjoy this considerably tighter cut. The cuts also serve to add small but perceptible nuances to interactions between characters, or alter slightly those that were already present, and this was as refreshing to me as it was unexpected. Moreover, while action is emphasised, the rest of the plot is not neglected, and the viewer still has sufficient explanation of the events, the characters and their motivations. Even the battle scenes are subtly trimmed, and this edit is not a simple wallowing in the bloodbath of the graphic carnage of the director’s cut.
This is not my ideal version of the film, which will always be the theatrical cut, or else a hybrid that adheres closely to it; but it is unrealistic to expect one’s ideal version of a film from another faneditor’s work anyway. Instead, I expect the faneditor to have a coherently implemented vision for a true fanedit, from which he does not waver, and to provide an alternative experience of the film. Gekko succeeds admirably here, and I enjoyed the edit immensely.
Nonetheless, I did feel that the edit was a little too short given the amount of time covered by the subject matter. The end of the film seemed to come extremely quickly. Action movie fans will love this though, and I did like the retention of Sean Bean’s narration at the beginning and end.
I have one nitpick. The moving of the introductory text and map until after the initial fight between Achilles and Boagrius creates a minor continuity error. The text still states that only Thessaly remains unconquered, but as Achilles has beaten the king’s champion and the king has relinquished his sceptre in order to yield suzerainty of Thessaly to Agamemnon in accordance with their agreement, this is no longer true. I would imagine this is a result of the difficulty of recompositing the map and the text though, and it is admittedly a quibble.
Editing: 10 out of 10 for the editing itself
Entertainment: 9 out of 10 (theatrical â€“ 10 out of 10; director’s cut 7 out of 10)
Image and video quality: The video – based primarily on the director’s cut with its enhanced color palette – was of excellent quality. 10 out of 10
Audio editing and audio quality: There is clear audio with no hard cuts at all. 10 out of 10
Presentation: I watched the MP4 – actually a .mov – so I will not give a rating for presentation. I shall say that the new “Age of Achilles” title was skilfully integrated with the opening sequence though.
Overall: 9 out of 10
Gekko’s “Age of Achilles” is that rarest of action movie animals: a beast with a touch of class.