Sunday, March 25, 2007


Staring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Based on the graphic Novel by: Frank Miller

Sure 300 is not going to win any script writing awards (though it could pick up a few visual effects awards), but for what it’s worth I thought the film was brilliantly done.

The film is pretty straightforward so I won’t bore you all with any summary. I just LOVE the reaction of some people towards this film. I’ll break it down into a few different groups of people who seem to have utter contempt against this film. If only these people could come out of the woodwork for Jerry Bruckheimer schlock-fests.

The FILM is based on a comic book. One of the selling points of this film was that it was almost EXACTLY the same as the graphic novel. Apparently many critics can’t get this past their giant egos. Steven Hunter, a writer for the Washington Post is one such person. Check out his second review for 300 from this Sunday where he has to defend his original position on the film by claiming that a better film could have been made decades ago about Thermopylae. Unfortunately for him there was one, “The 300 Spartans” and it was just barely “okay.” It is the ultimate example of grasping for straws and another reason why sometimes you should just keep your mouth shut when someone criticizes you by realizing that thousands of people send nasty letters for EVERY negative review you write.

The film NEVER claimed to be a bastion for historical accuracies. In fact the only people berating this film are the only ones claiming that it should be so. The people who are complaining about this film are going after the wrong “historical” culprits. Anyone walks away from this film actually thinking this is how it happened, couldn't have been helped to begin with. Films like Gladiator (which I enjoyed) do more to harm people's perceptions of history far more than 300 ever could. Gladiator, and historical films like it, bury historical a vast array of inaccuracies within a realistic setting, sprinkled with some historical truth.

It is far more obvious, and important to know that someone like Commodus (in Gladiator) was nothing at all like he was portrayed in the film and Marcus Aurelius never intended to give Rome “back to the people.” He never traveled to Barbaric Germany, and died in ancient Vienna, most likely from disease. Commodus reigned for over a decade and even co-ruled with his father. Now contrast those with the Persian Army, which had people dressed vaguely like stylized ninjas and had giants with blades for arms. Like I said before, if anyone honestly thinks this is how it happened, or even how it looked, couldn’t have been helped from the start.

Now, delving into the story itself, there seems to be a large minority that bashes the film for either “simplistic” storytelling or racist/bigoted biases. Much of the film is in actuality a story-within-a-story. This is not clear at the start, but becomes clearer later on in the film. Granted this should generally not give it free reign for films to use this technique to “wash their hands”, it’s clear in this film that the intent was not to paint any particular race or modern day culture as “evil.” This isn't a film about "race" but about Greeks vs. Persians. The non-GREEKS are depicted as brutal, savage, and effeminate. It's a subtle difference that many seem to be having trouble grasping about the film. Perhaps I am an anomaly in that race is usually the LAST thing I think about when watching something.

So why are the Persians, erm…. I mean the Iranian Government mad? It is because the Iranian government hates Western Civilization. I mean, by their line or reasoning modern day Italians should HATE the series Rome based on the portrayal of their respective “ancestors”. Never mind that both the modern Italians and Iranians are not a product of only their 2000+ year old ancestors, but that of every culture that conquered or migrated to that area all the way to today. Only a completely bankrupt person would think that a film that portrays events that happened 2500 years ago is something to get all ticked off about now. Anyway, some of the very same leaders in Iran (Mullahs, Ayatollahs) used the defense to depose the Shah of Iran that he focused too much on the very same Persian history that they are currently decrying the "twisting" of in 300.

What I gather from many is that any movie, within any historical context can't portray anyone in bad light, except for maybe those pesky Caucasians, right? I really hate it when they portray the Vikings with predominately reddish hair. It's just not fair!

On a lighter note, you knew something “cool” was coming because of the rock music that dominated the score would come full tilt blasting into all the speakers. Now THAT’S the kind of movie it was, and should be viewed as.

Verdict: ****/*****

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