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300: the movie to see

John Hawkins saw the film 300, twice actually, and loved it. He wrote a mini movie review yesterday that is so positive that I want to see it. Here's a portion of John's review:

Why was it a great movie? Well, first off, to call this film action packed is like saying that Dolly Parton's bra is "bigger than average." This movie was just full to the brim with phenomenal, well shot combat scenes.


Perhaps more importantly, this is not your typical, politically correct Hollywood movie. The good guys are militaristic, absolutely ruthless Westerners who are willing to die for what they believe and would probably be right at home in the Special Forces or the Marines. Moreover, the bad guys were the more cultured, decadent, and probably in many people's eyes, the more reasonable of the two sides.

I could also add that the movie is pro-war, morally unambiguous, and it is also unashamed about putting forth the message that freedom is vitally important and worth fighting for -- (by now, you've probably guessed that liberals will hate this movie and you're right).

Additionally, this was a great looking film, it was well directed, had a solid plot, and stuck to the script of the graphic novel fairly closely. The only thing that seemed really out of place in the movie was the gratuitous breast shots of the oracle, Leonidas' wife, and worst of all, the cut without warning to Leonidas' behind. None of them added much to the movie, so maybe they thought that the violence meant they were getting a "R" rating anyway, so they might as well throw in some nudity.

The movie is based upon the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller. See the Warner Brothers trailer below:

Update: According to reports, the movie is drawing sell out crowds and is on its way to having the biggest March opening ever.


Comments (20)

It would be interesting to ... (Below threshold)

It would be interesting to talk about why this sort of movie is popular and if the situation in the world today makes it more popular or less. Is it true, as I once heard, that popular entertainment tend the opposite of our lives, that when things are bad we want our art to be happy and upbeat and then things are good we want to go slumming to try to find something more immediate and vital?

Take something that's not martial... Harry Potter, for instance. Look at the criticism from the enlightened that HP recieved. It was unseemly that Harry was singled out so to have a special and unique purpose and power. It just wasn't the right message.

Look at entertainment that *is* martial, the movies about soldiers that simply must include a counter-point to honor and heroism for fear that the wrong message will be sent.

A sufficiently detached and academic discussion would be incredible.

Though I won't hold my breath.

Synova, it's just a movie. ... (Below threshold)
Mast:

Synova, it's just a movie. Don't overanalyze it, just enjoy it. It's Saturday night entertainment, not some wild high concept art piece. Are you even familiar with Frank Millers works at all?

What criticism from the 'enlightened' are you talking about referring to Harry Potter? The only people I recall getting upset were dickhead moron christians who claimed JK Rolwing was promoting 'satanism' (read, anything other than run of the mill xtianity)wwhereas I thought it was amazing to see elementary kids en masse actually wanting to read a book in the digital age.

I heard some of the religio... (Below threshold)

I heard some of the religious objections to HP and pointed out to the people who mentioned it that the Dursleys were *not* portrayed as Christian bigots and that was that. No one who'd read it thought so and those who hadn't read it accepted that I had.

But I did hear a deal of serious criticism about how bad it was to promote the idea of inequality since Harry was born "special." That it was a wrong message. I won't say they were *upset* about it, just disapproving.

I can't not analyze, though. I'm a writer and so I analyze.

I'm also of the opinion that "high concept art" is mostly a fraud. An artist of any sort should speak to the human condition. Yet we categorize "art" as those things with which few people can identify. The more obscure or even off-putting, the more something counts as art. It doesn't even make sense.

I'm actually of the opinion that _300_ is probably primarily an "art" piece, judging by the trailer and by the review above.

I'm not sure how to explain except perhaps to use for an analogy something I said to my daughter about music the other day when we were listening to one of the edgier rock stations. Like great music for symphanies or choirs, the vocals in a lot of what we listened to *served the music* as yet another instrument rather than the instruments being an accompaniment for the vocals, as most pop music is.

From the looks of it this isn't going to be something considered on the surface but something that pulls at the gut. I don't expect that the movie serves the message. I expect that the message will serve the movie as yet another instrument.

I went to see the movie and... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

I went to see the movie and the reasons are many-fold.

First - I am a student of History and have been for all of my 50+ years. I have read Herodotus and Josephus and the great historians of the ancients and wanted to see if the depiction was accurate.

Second - I am a fan of Frank Miller and enjoyed his graphic novel "300" when it first came out in 1998 (at least that was when I read it). I was curious about the movie being true to the novel.

Third - I am a fan of movies of ancient history. I thought "Troy" was interesting, "Alexander" was an abortion and "Kingdom of Heaven" was quite good - especially the Director's Cut. I have seen the original "300 Spartans" from the late 1950s and thought it rather crude. I thought Richard Burton's depiction in his 1956 movie, "Alexander the Great" was a bit over the top but then so was the man. And again, I was curious how this movie would rate.

Before I went to the movie, I took the time to read numerous reviews that were posted all over the web. And I found a very curious trend. If the rater tended to be Liberal, the movie was rated as horrible, full of gratuitous mind-numbing violence, and trying and failing to promote an allegorical tale of Bush's adventure in Iraq. Even more curious, these reviewers were almost split down the middle as to who represented the personna of Bush - Leonidas or Xerxes!

The positive reviews I read did in fact declare the violent nature of the movie but at the same time these reviewers were cognizant of the history and the violence of those days. These reviewers also rated the movie in the manner of how well it conformed to the graphic novel and their comments were positive.

Having said all that, I will say I truly enjoyed the movie and will not only see it again but will buy a copy when it comes out in DVD. First, there were a few minor historical discrepancies but none which detracted from the movie. (Herotodus would have enjoyed the movie.) Second, the movie was mostly true to the graphic novel with the part of the Queen expanded to some extent but not to the point of distraction. And lastly, I would say that it rates very high on my list of movies of that historical era. It does not hold anything back in the violence that is portrayed and the Spartan Warriors have a definite sense of humor that fellow veterans will and non-veterans will recognize as "gallows" humor. Visually the movie is simply stunning!

Lastly, I took my wife along and following our viewing she marvelled at what she called the "Majesty and Tragic Beauty" of the film and her praise is rare indeed.

My girlfriend, who is quite... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

My girlfriend, who is quite liberal and me went to see it last night and both loved it. It's beautifully shot, and definitely fun to watch. Ignore those trying to find political parallels, it's a movie based on a graphic novel that was based on ancient history.

If you know any history about the battle of Thermopylae, don't be expecting to see much of it represented. It's what the 13th Warrior was to Beowulf, an abstraction of an abstraction.

That said, it's probably now up into my top ten all time favorite movies.

Richard Roeper nailed it in... (Below threshold)
Craig:

Richard Roeper nailed it in his review.

""Snyder directs "300" as the tallest of tall tales -- a vivid dream. You want realism and devotion to the hard facts, watch the History Channel. You want to experience the Battle of Thermopylae as a nonstop thrill ride, here's your ticket."

The movie is great if you accept it for what it is supposed to be, a film adapataion of a comic book. In that sense 300 achieves exactly what it aimed to do. I thought it was well worth the the money and time.

I've already read somewhere... (Below threshold)
Jo:

I've already read somewhere that lefties hate it. Of course that makes me love it, and I haven't even seen it yet.

I saw it tonight, its aweso... (Below threshold)
jp:

I saw it tonight, its awesome.

The politician arguing not to go to war(liberal) is shown to be paid off by xeres in the end.......lets just say this movie has alot of parellels to our modern struggle, both politically and existentially.

Of course lefties hate it. ... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Of course lefties hate it. It is about what is worth fighting for...freedom...not welfare not gay marraiage not more dependence
on government. These lefties of today, the ones wwho see no threat to THEIR freedoms from radical Islam are cut from the same cloth of the lefties of the recent past who dismissed the Soviet threat. Simply put they are infantile in their thinking.

"See, if you get an "R" rat... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

"See, if you get an "R" rating for violence, you can get yer boobies for free"-Joe Bob Briggs.

That man was a genius

As an anti-war hippy-dippy ... (Below threshold)

As an anti-war hippy-dippy cut-n-runner, I enjoyed the hell out of 300. People (on both sides of any debate) always look for something to get all huffy and outraged by.

Also, the movie can be interpreted in a variety of ways. I wouldn't be so eager to align your politics with the Spartans. They're cold, ruthless and brutal. They may talk a good game about freedom and whatnot, but in the very first shot we see a pile of the skulls of "weak" Spartan babies. It's that ambiguity that I find interesting.

Hell, one could reverse the alignment of the sides if one wanted to. After all, the Persians are a decadent invading army with superior numbers and advanced technology, and they get their asses handed to them by a small number of low-tech warriors using unconventional techniques. Bin Laden would probably get a kick out of it.

Also, jp: what makes you think that politician was liberal rather than a generic corrupt power broker? And are you implying that anti-war "liberals" (a term I don't self-apply, but whatever) are on the take from the terrorists...? Or are liberals actually being bribed by a nine foot tall Persian God-king? Both possibilities seem just as likely.

I thought the movie was gre... (Below threshold)
LDF:

I thought the movie was great, and I don't understand was so many people are eager to suck modern politics into it. For the most part, the movie was true to the spirit of the story behind Thermopylae, and even more true to the graphic novel 300.

While I admit I liked seeing a "pro-freedom" Sparta/underdog stick it to the imperialist Persia, I didn't identify with Sparta as being my ideal society. It was a mix of history and fantasy, and isn't necessarily meant to reflect on modern times. It is great entertainment, not modern political satire.

I also wrote a review of the film here:

http://lestdarknessfall.blogspot.com/2007/03/300-fantasy-movie-about-thermopylae.html

For those who haven't seen the movie yet, try and see it on an IMAX screen, as the visual effects are well worth the extra cost.

no, I'm saying the liberals... (Below threshold)
jp:

no, I'm saying the liberals/dems are on the take for their own political self-interest and not the countries. just like the traitor in 300...


I think the R rating stood for "Republican" not restricted.

jp, I can't speak for Democ... (Below threshold)

jp, I can't speak for Democrats myself, being an independent, and libertarian in most ways. However, I have been anti-war since the beginning. Does my anti-war stance spring from self-interest? I'm not a political figure in any way, and I'm extremely anti-religion, so the Islamist extremists disgust me.

Are you willing to recognize that I have my own logical and moral reasons for opposing the war, and my opposition springs from the best of intentions? Just as you may have the best of intentions in supporting said war?

If you can't recognize that, you aren't worth conversing with. Let the grownups talk.

I'm obviously referring to ... (Below threshold)
jp:

I'm obviously referring to the Democrat politicians who were for the war before they were against it which was when it was politically advantageous. The dems that know the threat, like Hillary from seeing all the intelligience in the 1990's under her husband. Now they are flat out lying.

Epic book? Geez, how about ... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

Epic book? Geez, how about a totally epic event in history? How can one improve on:

[] An epic battle between a force of 7k Greeks vs about 150k Persians? Talk about David vs Goliath!
[] A sea battle of 10:1 against the Greeks. Yet thru stragegy and timing they whittle down the Persian fleet.
[] Fates of battle where the Persians divided their fleet only to have the diversionary force destroyed in a storm. Or the fact that the Greeks by sheer luck were better equipped than the Persian forces.
[] Intrigue of spy, counterspy each trying to outwit the other.
[] All the politics of city states jockying for position prior and up to the battle.

Historic indeed, and certainly needs no ebellishment.

SShiell,You might ... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

SShiell,

You might want to check out the DVD 'The 300 Spartans' released by Warner Bros., 1962. Much better account, excellent directing and lacking any top dollar actors avoided a lot of positioning.

I just saw this movie and i... (Below threshold)
Lance:

I just saw this movie and it was awesome. Especially the ending scene where thousands of spartans/greeks are about to go to battle. The speech by the semi- blind spartan was kinda moving for me. I think he is the steward prince from the Lord of the Rings that was saved by Gandalf from being burned by his own father. That is if I am not mistaken. Anyway without thinking of politics, this movie inspired me in a different way in facing up to huge personal obstacles in our individuals lives.

I too am a student of histo... (Below threshold)
Cyrus:

I too am a student of history, unfortunately a history written purely by Greek historians, since Persian History was destroyed by the Arabs and Moguls. Nevertheless, what Plato and many other eminent contemporary philosophers of that time promulgated about the Persians was far different to what is being portrayed by this film. First, Xerxes, son of Darius the Great, was no God-King, because the Persians believed in Zoroastianism which was probably the first major monotheistic religion of the world. Secondly, the first declaration of Human Rights, which can be seen on the Great Wall of the United Nations was enforced by his ancestor, Cyrus the Great, whom the Jews call the anointed of the Lord. The business management guru, Peter Drucker, just recently wrote that Xenophon's book on Cyrus the Great's "Leadership and War" is still the best book ever written on Leadership. Thirdly, no one ever mentions how unimportant the battle of Thermopoly was to the Persians. Xerxes came to Greece, the remotess part of the Persian Empire only to put order to the chaos that was burgeoning. Essentially he accomplished his goal, without using mythical animals and powers that seemed to have pervaded this film.

Quite to the contrary the Persians were far superior in culture than any of the Greeks. The commander in chief of the Persian fleet of six hundred ship was Artemis, a female princess. Women in Persian society at that time commanded their own armies and held much higher positions than any Greek woman could have hoped for.

The only truth to this movie is that the Spartans perished after putting up a valient fight against an outnumbered foe. As Winston Churchill once quoted, 'if you want to make history, write it."

Like the Arabs, the West, with the exception of a few eminent and erudite scholars, has done everything conceivable to hide the reality of Persian history. A history so rich in culture that beckons me to ask why?

I find it very humorous tha... (Below threshold)
Hiro:

I find it very humorous that people feel the need to not only add moral relativism to the Persian Empire but elevate it above what was then western culture. Not that I would have wanted to live in Spartan society (or any society at the time for that matter) but, while democracy had a long way to go, last time a checked democracy started in Greece, not Persia. I doubt all the people concurred by the Persians thought they where big on human rights (especially those who became slaves). Maybe the Persians did not think the battle of Thermopoly was important, but if it had not occurred, the Greeks would not have had time to strengthen their position, ultimately leading to the defeat of the Persians. Of course there would have been no turmoil had the Persians not taken over the Greek colonies in modern day Turkey leading to the Greek rebellion that started the war. What where the Greeks supposed to do? Surrender and except "superior" Persian control? I find it interesting how foolish the Persians where in fighting the Greeks. You would think after the 100th time the Greeks used the "fight in a narrow corridor" strategy, the Persians would have gotten the hint.




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