Southern Man

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Movie Review - 300

300 appears to be the kind of movie that reviewers loath but moviegoers love. At the time of this post, the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes gives it a barely passing rating. Indeed, many of the reviewers aren't content to simply bash 300 but also try to draw parallels to the current world situation and grumble that a weary nation isn't ready for a movie that glorifies warfare and wring their hands over the observation that once again we have light-skinned heroes slaughtering dark-skinned foes and imply that anyone who would actually enjoy this movie might not be quite right in the head and would have fit in well with, say, the Hitler Youth or Young Republicans or some other such outfit. However, the moviegoing public seems to be ignoring their politically-correct betters and are swarming to 300 in large numbers. And for good reason - it's quite a flick.

Now, for starters, be aware that this is another live-action comic book. It is in fact a most faithful recreation of the graphic novel 300 by Frank Miller (who also wrote the graphic novel Sin City, which also became a comic book movie) which was in turn inspired by his viewing of the 1962 film The 300 Spartans as a child, which describe the 480 BC Battle of Thermopylae at which (as we all now know) King Leonidas and three hundred hand-picked Spartans held King Xerxes I and mumble-thousand Persians at bay for three days before dying to a man - an act of such raw courage that the oft-feuding city-states of Greece put aside their endless quarrels and combined their forces with the result that the Athenian navy and an army led by ten thousand Spartans crushed Xerxes I at the battles of Salamis and Plataea and drove the Persians from Europe once and for all. But we're talking about a comic book here, so although Miller did his homework (including a visit to the hot gates themselves) and peppered the novel with quotes from Plutarch and other ancent historians, don't expect any serious accuracy here. The graphic novel (and thus the film) is about three hundred ass-kicking name-taking sword-swinging lance-hurling half-naked hunks versus teeming hordes of nameless Persians and masked Immortals and various hideous mutants and enormous monsters and gigantic critters and finally Xerxes I himself (who is portrayed as a ten-foot-tall demigod), many of whom perish in all sorts of imaginative ways. Especially decapitation. Lots of decapitations. Lots of other various amptations as well. This is the penultimate guy movie; the polar opposite of a chick flic. Testosterone and gore fairly drip from the screen. Sure, there are a few scenes covering the political going-ons back in Sparta and some nipples and buttocks here and there but, as Southern Man's son says, "the only thing wrong with this movie was too much unnecessary plot." You go to 300 to watch cartoon Spartans fight and bad guys die. This is not history, but history made myth. Elegant, stylish, outrageous, gorgeous comic-book myth. And it's a lot of fun to watch.

So once again Southern Man advises his loyal readers to ignore the critics and see this visual treat of a movie for themselves. But don't take impressionable children or (probably) your wife / gf. Like Southern Man said earlier, this is movie about guys, for guys. It's certainly on Souhern Man's short list of Reasons To Purchase A Big Screen TV in the not so distant future.


At Sunday, March 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

300 is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I agree with the southern man that our nation is not ready to glorify war. This movie does not glorify war, it talks about people passionate enough for what they believe in that they are willing to pay the ultimate sacirfice.


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