Achilles is cute and all, and he knows how to fight -- he apparently learned his stuff from Hong Kong action movies -- but there's nothing dramatically compelling about the way he's presented here.
Mr. Petersen achieves a noble mood of dignity. Dignity is a forgotten virtue with many contemporary filmmakers, but he manages a majestic overview of both the glory and the folly of combat.
The opening scene involves two thousand-man armies marching determinedly toward each other across a field the size of Rhode Island. And that's one of the more modest battles.
This hulking, flawed epic stomps about with furious thunder, managing to entertain even as director Wolfgang Petersen turns parts of Homer's epic poem into an afternoon soap opera.