* Talented eye candy by the bucketload. Sean Bean for starters (and afters, heh); Eric Bana (a wonderful, noble Hector); Brad Pitt, looking very buff, and not pretty-pretty at all, very much the angry glory-hound Achilles (not usually a Brad fan, although I liked him in Thelma & Louise, Fight Club and 12 Monkeys).
* Good performances & some excellent casting in the smaller roles as well - esp Brian Cox as Agamemnon.
* Great battle scene direction. The duels were probably the best, Achilles/Hector in particular (D'Amage said, wait until you see this one, it has spear & shield fighting like it's actually supposed to be done. He was right). But the massed action was pretty realistic as well, within the broad boundaries of heroic myth. How to react when a large enemy force is attacking you at speed from uphill? Well, you don't just stand there waiting for them to hit your line, or advance towards them in a flat formation, you have to either go around or penetrate their front to get on equal footing. So I cheered when I saw the flying wedge (swine array)!
* nods to the original myths, without the Gods. Thetis standing in water (Julie Christie still looks great), the arrow in Achilles' heel, Achilles weeping for Hector (nice bit, this).
* Paris suitably stupid & cowardly
Pity no Penthesilea or Cassandra. Didn't mind the partial conflating of Briseis and Clytemnestra (also I liked the actress who played Briseis) and I (grudgingly) admit once they had established Agamemnon and Menelaus as the bad-guy brother kings they couldn't let them walk away victorious at the end. Likewise a few of the "nice guys" had to escape and not be hauled off into slavery or worse. I also suppose they had to keep Achilles around until the sack of Troy *hmph*. And there was just enough of a hint of the Homeric relationship between the "cousins" *cough* Achilles and Patroclus for me to give it a pass.
A complete melting pot of ancient styles from Babylon & Assyria to Rome, and Hollywood Ancient costuming struck again, but there was so much other nice stuff to look at, I didn't mind as much as I usually would. Or maybe I'm mellowing in my old age *g*.
Sooooooooo what's the chances of a SB film based on The Odyssey?