(1997)3Mike CummingsThis 1997 production captures the spirit of Homer's epic poem about the wily Greek hero willing to risk all to explore strange lands, test the limits of his courage, and challenge the will of the gods. Armand Assante is suitably arrogant, crafty, and dauntless as Odysseus, the western world's archetype of the universal man seeking knowledge and adventure. Although director Andrei Konchalovsky and executive producer Francis Ford Coppola omit and condense parts of Homer's work, enough of it is there to bring it to life. To their credit, they add a segment not included in Homer's epic -- the opening sequence about the Trojan War, featuring the exploits of mighty Achilles and cunning Odysseus, maker of the most famous gift in history, the Trojan horse. This primer on the war helps the viewer understand the mythological background of the epic and the motivations of Odysseus and the sea god Poseidon. The acting in the film is generally good, the action well-staged, and the period ambience believable. Of course, the script is only a distant cousin of the ancient Greek poetry of Homer and its various incarnations in English. Assante himself was unhappy with it, maintaining it was not developed enough to present a well-rounded Odysseus, and had to be sued for 35 million dollars to live up to his commitment to make the film. Even so, he won a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, and the production itself earned two Emmy awards. Other notable performances include those of Isabella Rosselini as Odysseus' powerful patroness Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war; Greta Scacchi as Odysseus' long-suffering wife, Penelope, who waits 20 years for her husband to come home from work; and Irene Papas as Anticlea, the austere mother of Odysseus. Finicky technophiles have criticized the production's special effects, but the average viewer probably will find little fault in them. For those looking for an entertaining introduction to Homer's Odyssey, one of the greatest literary works in history, this production provides it.
Utilizing an exceptional international all-star cast and excellent special effects, Hallmark entertainment and American Zoetrope productions created this fun-filled adaptation of Homer's most-famous epic poem. It was originally broadcast as a four-hour miniseries on the NBC network. The story faithfully chronicles the many adventures of sailor Odysseus (Armand Assante), his colorful crew as they encounter a variety of mythical figures, including Odysseus's spiritual guide Athena (Isabella Rossellini), the seductive Calypso (Vanessa Williams) and the treacherous Eurymachus (Eric Roberts). Highlights include the Trojan Horse (made to original scale and filmed on location in the ruins of Troy) sequence. Much of the miniseries was filmed in Europe and on the Mediterranean, making it a feast for the eye.