Andrei Konchalovsky's expansive television mini-series production of Homer's epic poem gets off to clumsy start as he tries to squeeze the Trojan War into a mere half hour, but once the arrogant but honorable Odysseus (str... more »ikingly played by Armand Assante) and his loyal crew begin their doomed voyage home, this film turns into a fantastical adventure. Integrating often-stunning special effects with inventive art design, Konchalovsky achieves a beautiful look on a limited budget as he follows the 10-year ordeal of Odysseus from his battles with the Cyclops and the magical Circe (Bernadette Peters) to his secret homecoming and his confrontation with the treacherous Eurymachus (Eric Roberts). Isabella Rossellini appears as his spiritual guide, the goddess Athena, with Greta Scacchi as Odysseus's faithful wife and Vanessa Williams as the seductive Calypso. The rest of the cast includes Geraldine Chaplin, Jeroen Krabbé, Christopher Lee, and Irene Papas. The production was shot on location in and around the Mediterranean, making for a lush, lovely visual experience. --Sean Axmaker« less
Tim W. (pusheeman) from ALPENA, MI Reviewed on 2/22/2014...
Love this movie, animation is hilarious.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
"Monsters, Myth & Magic: a SuperAdventure--Start to Finish!"
Jerry Parks | Lexington, KY USA | 03/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a part of teaching 7th graders ancient Greek history every spring, I have the privilege of introducing to them Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey". They think they know what real adventure is till they learn about Odysseus' grand voyage home from the Trojan War. And then--when we watch this movie, the students have a much greater appreciation not only for real adventure, but real literature!Filmed on location around the Mediterranean, the film captures the perilous journey of Odysseus back to Ithica and his beloved Penelope. The glaring weakness of the script is attempting to condense the Trojan War into a half-hour. Nevertheless, Achilles' slaughter of Hector is awesome, and after all--the film isn't titled 'The Iliad'.While the 7th graders enjoy the mysterious Aeolus (and his bag of winds), and less so Vanessa Williams' seductive Calypso (which gets a bit 'steamy'), there is simply nothing to compare to two scenes. First, the Scylla and Charybdis, which evoke all the surprise, blood, and special effects which today's teenager expects (without overdoing any of the three), and second, the concluding sequence where Odysseus is revealed to the wicked suitors who have "...stolen (his) world", and violated the most sacred of ancient Greek customs--hospitality. The bloodletting here is intense, but Homer would certainly have applauded the interpretation presented.Not all of Odysseus' ten adventures are included in the film. For example, we do not see the lotus-eaters, the slaughter of the cattle of Helius, the rescue by the sea nymph Ino, etc. But what we do see is wonderful! One will never forget the belching and monstrous cyclops who (again) pictures for us the unavoidable punishment Greeks felt was certain to befall the inhospitable! Also missing is the death of Odysseus' faithful dog Argos upon beholding his master's return. Finally, also missing is what would have been a great visual scene--Odysseus bound to the mast of his ship as he experienced the wonder of the deadly sirens' call--and lived to tell about it! I also found it just a bit disconcerting that although we see King Menelaus of Sparta, we see nothing of his wife Helen whose beautiful 'face launched a thousand ships' and started the whole darn Trojan War in the first place. And where is Paris...? (Oh yes, I forgot again--this is "The Odyssey"!)For me, the highlight is Odysseus' trip to the underworld to seek the blind prophet's direction on how to get back home. Though combining two of four rivers of the underworld into one (the Styx, and the Phlegethon--river of fire), the sequence loses none of the magical mystery of the Greek conception of the afterlife. Even included is the haunting meeting of Odysseus and his mother who committed suicide, in believing her son would never come home.Bernadette Peters' Circe sequence is as humerous as it is clever, and watching Odysseus' men turn back into men from animals is memorable. Nevertheless, character development is often sacrificed at the expense of trying to cover the many adventures, but I guess one can't have it both ways!The special effects are great--especially the face of Poseidon in the waves as he strives to punish Odysseus for blinding his son (the cyclops), and (as one of my students pointed out)in reality, ends up making our hero a better man, by crushing his hubris, and teaching him the ultimate Greek lesson: "...man is nothing without the gods!" Great movie! Whether they know the classic tale or not, the film will entertain teenagers (and most everyone else). But as a supplement to teaching the great literature pieces of Homer...ah, it doesn't get any better than this! Now, if the same director would only make "The Iliad"...."
Great subject & spec effects; could've been truer to Homer.
Rebecca Johnson | 06/30/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Being a fan of Homer, the Trojan War, et al, I had to watch the flick; however, I was somewhat disappointed with the overall treatment of the story; although the props, for the most part, seemed historically correct, the writers had to make changes that deviated from the Homeric epic. For instance, the battle scene with Ahkilleus and the death of Hektor was far-removed from the actual lines (kind of like how they reinvented "Helen of Troy." From recollection (since I've yet to find the video or see a rerun in over 20 yrs) "Ulysses" with Kirk Douglas, is by far, the best rendition of the Odyssey."
Nicole Powell | 01/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie in my social studies class. I thought it was going to be boring, I mean, we were in school, but it was great! It was an excellent movie, great for learning and amusement. The scenes from the war were very gory, but seemed VERY realistic, I thought it was cool. If you didnÕt know, the Odyssey is based on the epic poem by Homer. It begins with a reference to the Iliad at the Trojan War, a ten year mythical war between Troy and Ithica, to give you background into the story. It's mainly about OdysseusÕ long journey home back to Ithaca to see his wife and son. Little does he know, that insulting the great god,Poseidon, will make his journey even longer and harder. The Odyssey also references many Greek gods. Gods played an important and unique role in everyday Greek life. OdysseusÕ personal god was Athena. She helps him and his son with OdysseusÕ journey home. The clothes in the movie were awesomely realistic. Original clothing of the Greeks were made out of linen. Ordinary people usually wore white clothes, but the wealthy would wear elaborate colorful robes. The movie also showed OdysseusÕ crops and herds of sheep. They both played a vital role in their life. Sheep gave milk, food, and clothing. Olives, the main crop of Ithaca, made olive oil. You can see Penelope(OdysseusÕ wife,played by Greta Scacchi) pressing them to make oil in the movie. These were the main sources of food for the people of Ithica, and they were very important in their lives. I thought that the director did a good job making everything in the movie look realistic. Mythology comes alive when you hear the roar of PosiedonÕs voice, the wail of the Cyclops(Reid Asaita) as he is blinded by ÒNobodyÓ, and the flicker of the bright-gloomy flames of the under world. I thought the movie was excellent! Enjoy it,youÕll love it!"
Not a bad Tale, especially if you're an English teacher.
Nicole Powell | Michigan | 04/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a freshman English teacher, I am very greatful for this movie. I am also a huge fan of Homer's epics, and this movie is very well done! The transitions between what goes on at home and Ithaca and Odysseus' travels are excellent.
My and my students' only complaint is some of the potentially interesting and tense stops on the journey are cut; my kids complain that the Sirens are cut from this version. Also, I am a little dissappointed that his adventures are not in the same order as he encounters them, so I end up having to wait until after my students read the story to show the movie.