So, I Saw 300, and….

March 23, 2007 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

It was pretty okay.

With a movie as hyped as “300” was, I feel bad coming in with a review like that. A movie with this much energy surrounding it’s release sort of demands either rave reviews or hate-filled vitriol. But I can’t really muster either… it was just alright.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story. 300 Spartan Warriors stand down the army of all Persia, and kick lots of ass before finally being killed. And as far as that goes, it was pretty good. The action was well-paced, used some interesting visual techniques, and had somewhere near the violence and visceral thrill people demand when they see these things. I’m not sure it was for me- I felt the constant use of distorted time broke it up and made it lose a sense of immediacy- but most of the people I was with seemed to like it.

And of course, then there’s the social subtext behind everything. Let it be clear that I disagree with Frank Miller, creator of 300, on nearly every political point. The problem here is that he’s a fascist. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, I mean that is literally his political view. It crops up in nearly all his work; for example, “The Dark Knight Returns” posits that some issues are simply too big for the ‘little people’, and they need strong charismatic leaders to decide for them. “300” glorifies the overturning of law and order by those of great personal might. Some would argue that in that case the Council were being jerks, but of course that’s because Frank Miller wrote them that way; it’s a cheap trick to demonize your enemies.

And speaking of such, there’s the fact that the people of Persia are portrayed as a terrible, sub-human horde. Literal freaks of nature, including a goat-headed man and a monster with knives for hands. There’s a ridiculous amount of racism inherent in the way the Persian army, made predominately of Black and Asiatic people, are portrayed as monsters and mere fodder for the ‘glorious’ (and white) Spartans.

I mean, I can appreciate the movie on the level of a dumb action film (though of course, as I’ve already said, I wasn’t even particularly impressed by that). But there’s always this subtext that permeates Frank Miller’s stuff that makes it difficult to sit through. He legitimately believes in fascism, and anyone not lucky enough to be born powerful is treated as worthless. It’s the kind of thing that makes your skin crawl.

Basically what I’m getting at here is that while the movie may be somewhat good if you don’t think about it, any analysis of what it actually means sort of brings the whole thing crashing down. It all sort of strikes me as ridiculous.

Yeah. I think I may have crushed Stephen and Jon’s dreams right there. I’m sure they’ll argue with me in the comments section, though.

Editor’s Note: I still maintain that 300 was one of the most mediocre movies I saw that year. It’s politics were too ridiculous to even get mad about; it was just sort of sad. As I predicted, Jon and Stephen assaulted me viciously in the comments section after the original post. It’s what they do.

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This is Why You Can’t Have Nice Things This is Me Wasting Your Time

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