Posted by: Gregg | March 11, 2007

300

“THIS IS SPARTA!”

Not exactly, but it sure is entertaining. The adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel was amazing to watch, especially in the Imax version. Just don’t go in expecting a story, characters, or even much plot; this film is a mile wide and an inch deep.

That said, you should go see it. The graphic violence didn’t even bother me because of the obvious cartoonishness of it all – every stroke of the sword is a kill shot that sprays computer-generated blood that disappears as soon as it hits the ground, much like a video game. The historical accuracy of 300 is questionable at best – the actual story of the Spartans defending the Hot Gates against the Persian army just serves as an excuse to bring on the fight scenes.

For example: early on, there’s a scene where the Spartans meet another group of Greek warriors, who question why King Leonidas would only bring 300 warriors with him. Leonidas asks the members of the other army what they do for a living. “Farmer.” “Potter.” “Barrelmaker.” Leonidas then turns around and asks the Spartans what they do for a living. They all answer as warriors. He then smiles. “See? We brought more soldiers than you did.” Nice scene, but in real life, the Spartans were all warriors because they had slaves back at home doing all the dirty work for them. Contrast that with all the speeches Leonidas gives on liberty and freedom.

Oh, and homoeroticism? Absolutely.

But still: go see it.  And if the story interests you at all, go read Steven Pressfield’s “Gates of Fire“, which if we’re lucky might one day might get a film treatment.

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Responses

  1. Love It! A must see movie! Thanks for the review.

  2. Thanks. Hey, for some of us, an hour and a half of beautifully choreographed computer-generated violence is worth eight bucks.

  3. And then some…

  4. You know, I’ve had “Gates of Fire” home and just couldn’t do it. Evidently it’s a very popular book in the modern-day Marine Corps, which intrigued me, but I still couldn’t do it. Maybe I’ll try it again, just as a comparison point for 300.

  5. “Gates” is worth a shot. I will admit it’s all very guy stuff: the main character is a Greek who’s family was decimated by the enemies of Sparta so he goes to the Spartans, offering himself as a slave, in order to contribute to their glory in some way.

    He falls in with a Spartan boy and we get to see how the Spartans trained their youth, what was expected of them, how they trained, and how they fought. Then they go to the Hot Gates, knowing it’s a suicide mission, but they know they will die as Spartans. All very gung-ho rah-rah warrior culture, of course, going up against the nameless Persian hordes in the name of freedom, and I can see how the military would love it.

    I dug it for the story and the historical details and I must admit, Pressfield is very good at writing a stirring battle scene or five. There are remarkably few women in the novel: there’s a lost cousin that the main character pines for, and the Spartans’ wives pop up here and there, standing by their men. So yeah, it might not be everyone’s thing.


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