MOVIES: "300" Review

I’ll make this one short and sweet.  Do you like “Gladiator”?  Do you like “Lord Of The Rings”?  If you do, chances are, you will like “300.”  Based on a graphic novel by the same man who wrote “Sin City,” this one is not quite as violent but still is rather enjoyable.

As far as I remember from the fifth grade and the “History Of The Ancient World” class, this is a fairly accurate depiction of the famous Battle of Thermopylae (480 B.C.E.), where 300 Spartans defended a narrow passage from a 100 000 Persian army and all died on that spot.  Two famous expressions from that event:  “Come and get it!” and “Our arrows will shadow the sun!” – “Then we will fight in the shade.”  All characters in the movie are walking cartoons (a “graphic novel” is, after all, a fancy word for a comic book) with very few human emotions, and that makes “300” inherently inferior to “Troy” (which is one of my all-time favorite pseudo-historic films).  But the three problems with this movie are:  (1) freaks (2) freedom and (3) Republican propaganda.  This movie clearly chases after imagery instead of reality and perceptions instead of people.  An executioner with saws-for-arms, a hunchback who looks like a human-size tumor, elephants straight from the “Return Of The King” CGI files:  they all create a Fellini-esque orgy of images and perceptions.  If that doesn’t bother you, move on.  Constant repeating of the word “freedom” grates me like a rusty saw.  Used in practically every Hollywood war movie since “Braveheart,” it does nothing but irritates me.  For one, Spartans had a very different definition of the word “freedom.”  In fact, there were more slaves (“helots”) in their society than freemen. 


Finally, this movie is as much about current events as it is about 5th Century B.C.E., from the point of view of an extreme Conservative.  A noble king fights for his country with a limited contingent of troops against the overwhelming “Asian hordes,” while the State Council is debating whether or not send him more troops.  A councilman that stands against it is corrupt and bribed by the Persian money.  Does this not sound like President Bush, Democrats in Congress, and the war in Iraq?  Certainly does, if you are Ralph Peters, Oliver North, Sean Hannity, or any other extreme right-winger.  From this standpoint, the only thing missing in real life is Laura Bush dropping her dress to be screwed by Ted Kennedy, in order to ensure his support of President’s escalation of war on the Senate floor.  Ah, to hell with them.  If none of this bothers you too much, and you don’t mind seeing lakes of blood, piles of corpses, and some pointy nipples, enjoy!  Hell, it beats “Alexander” any day.  B-
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