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  1. TopTop #1
    Dixon's Avatar

    Short review of "300"

    I saw "300" Tuesday night. I sent this little report to a friend who asked about it, then decided to post it here on Wacco for anyone interested:

    I thought it was worth seeing, but not great. It was worthwhile mostly because of its visual beauty (it was very faithful to the graphic novel). The critics are right in calling it a “guy movie”, because a lot of it is about battle action, which is well-filmed, but not enough by itself to make a movie worthwhile for me. They are also right in pointing out that, in spite of having brief scenes with a couple of sexy women, the movie is a gay guy’s paradise, with hundreds of buff studs running around in little more than sandals, leather jockstraps and capes.

    For me, the worst flaw is the hypocrisy of casting the battle as the forces of freedom (the Spartans) against the forces of tyranny (the Persians). Casting the Spartans, who had slaves and treated their women as 2nd class citizens, as freedom fighters is propagandistic, ethnocentric bullshit with strong resonances with our country’s current nationalistic, militaristic bullshit. It reinforces my suspicion that ("300" writer/artist) Frank Miller is a bit of a right-winger.

    Also, the movie was Hollywoodized in a couple of ways, partly to be true to some hokey aspects of Miller’s fictionalization of the story. For instance, some of the warriors in the battle are deformed to the point of being comic-bookish fanged monsters—realism is sacrificed for sensationalism. None of the Spartans have any noticeable body hair; they’re shaved (another sop to the gay guys, maybe, and/or to women?). The scene with the oracle is gratuitously sexualized. Christianisms sneaked in, as with a reference to “the Lord” and the line “Tonight we sleep in Hell!” Since when did ancient Spartans talk that kinda Christian jive? And, everybody in the movie mispronounced Leonidas (the accent is on the “on” and the “i” is short).

    So anyway, if you want to enjoy some nicely composed and colored screen images and some rousing macho action, it’s fun. But it’s not profound by a long shot. I liked the graphic novel a little better, I think.

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  2. TopTop #2
    "Mad" Miles

    Local Academic Film Analyst on "300"

    Hey Film Freaks!

    Check out this scholarly article on the political significance of "300" and other recent films he deems "Proto-Fascist".

    While I do not agree with Professor Kashani on some points, I agree with his main point, that Hollywood is attempting to brainwash our youth, particularly males, to be willing Imperialists and Racists who would accept brutal slaughter of "others", in this particular case Iranians, in the name of "Democracy, Reason, Freedom" when in reality it is just a resource grab.

    For those not familiar with the theoretical language in the piece, don't give up, he uses the terms in a context in which they are fairly well explained. And he's quoting and referencing some of the most interesting and influential PoMO (Post-Modern) intellectuals of the last twenty or thirty years.

    I was tempted to reply to him, "Dude! It's just a cartoon! Lighten up." But in spite of the hyperbolic and slightly frantic rhetoric, (Like I'm one to complain about that!) I think he makes very important points.



    To see my original "Miles On Movies" review of "300" just go to that thread, it's there with the rest of them.

    Hey! Where'd the little film projector go? I can't find it amongst the other "smilies"!

    [It's here, Miles: -B]
    Last edited by Barry; 04-07-2007 at 11:13 AM.
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  3. TopTop #3

    Re: Short review of "300"-- a shorter one

    Hey, Dixon, Miles, and all, yes. Thoughtful "reviews." We left the movie in middle, because it seemed that the head chopping was going to be the basic theme of the movie, and we had seen enough.

    Interesting note: I was wondering where they found all the buff hairless men that also knew how to sword fight, etc. A friend told me that a female friend of his (a sword expert) was one of the 300-- apparently those were sculpted body suits, and not even real bodies!

    The whole thing was shot in front of a blue-screen, and backgrounds added digitally.

    Movies are certainly illusion-- just like the rest of life. We all see it differently.

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  4. TopTop #4

    Re: Short review of "300"

    I am glad to see that there is some very thoughtful discussion going on about this movie. Thanks Dixon, Miles, and Don Allan.

    I had recently been reading The Illiad and thought I would go to see this movie for the possible mythic dimension that it could offer. And I too was a bit turned off by the gratuitous-head-loping that seems to have become a mainstay of popular movies. I didn't walk out on this one but was tempted. (I did walk out on Mel Gibson's Apolalypto a couple of months ago because of the sickening violence and twisted story of the Mayans.)

    I think that there are always going to be those who embody the Warrior Archetype and gravitate towards the need to live out the hero myths. And I also believe that it is a worthwhile endevor to see films like this to try to get a deeper understanding of how the Warrior's drive to protect is subverted by propaganda and other means. Ghandi's theme in striving for peace was based on understanding his adversary.

    This movie is also significant in that it portrays that the battles between western versus middle-eastern thought has been going on a very long long time (ie before Christianity).

    What troubled me the most about the movie, besides the violence was one of the last lines of the movie where the remaining captain of the Spartan troops say something like "Generations from now they will remember the 300 that stood to abolish tyranny and mysticism." Seeing tyranny and mysticism ganged together in that statement really got me. Nobody likes a tyrant and any 'ism' is going to have its problems. But I believe mystic traditions are where we need to turn in order to find a re-enchantment with our world.
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