Thursday, June 18, 2009


Despite being a classicist, I have only seen the movie 300 three times. Since my Dear Husband has seen it ... more ... times, I decided to let him write this entry's movie review from our DVD collection.

What is it that makes this movie so great?
First is the sheer heroism. The story is ancient and true, and absolutely heroic. I know, people don't believe in heroism, but there it is - confirmed historical fact.

Other points are arguable - whether the adrenaline-pumping action, the witty dialogue, or just that the underdogs bloody up the pompous bad guys. At the risk of being to clever, I will chalk all this up to the excellence of the craft. While no movie is everyone's flavor, this movie is well-done from start to finish, even in the scenes I don't like. The story, the acting, the writing, the directing are all extremely well done.

I would also argue that this is true back in the story itself. The Spartans were truly great warriors, and this depicts (with some artistic license) their excelence of the craft as well. Any movie that depicts people doing amazing things by their skill and diligence is likely to be a hit. If the makers of said movie also perform with great skill and diligence, then you've got a sure winner.

The odes to freedom and the fight against tyranny attract me just surely as the other points I made. While people in high offices of the world, even occasionally here in the USA, seem to consider people merely as resources or worse, I have always felt the passion for freedom that the movie describes. I suspect this is true for many people around the world. This story is from a time long since gone and a place around the world from where I sit now. I find it comforting that people so foreign to me can have so much in common with me (and trust me, as much as we "inherit" from the Greeks, the Spartans would be unrecognizably foreign to us). As is directly mentioned in the movie, Xerxes uses a massive army of slaves, and they are barely a match for 300 free men. I find it alarming that so many people think the opposite on these issues, but that's for another movie review.

Now, there are things I would change. It seems like every movie today has either a love scene or at least a topless woman. Perhaps the award committees have this as some absurd requirement, or perhaps some "critics" don't consider it "real art" without some flesh. The sex scenes and nudity in most movies just get in the way, and that's especially true in this movie. I would give examples, but this is one of those things that mature people already understand. If you don't get it, me rambling on about it won't help you.

Similarly, I'd also drop some of the exageratedly long shots of the king groaning in defiant pain. I don't have a problem with the idea of the scene, but it's another one of those award-show requirements that it last an extra thirty seconds for no reason. I wish Hollywood would realize that it's becoming a joke about such things in the real world. In those dramatic pauses at the star's face, I can no longer help but hear a director in the background yelling "and hold that pose for the award shot!... hold... hold...hold...hold...hold...hold...hold..."

Despite those peeves (which I feel are more like commentary on all movies today), I still love this movie. These and other problems I'm sure people have (the violence? it's about Spartans!) barely dent my admiration for this movie.

RebelAngel's score 3 stars-*** DH's score 5 stars-*****

Bleeding Heart Barbie cried when she heard about the fly. She thought President Obama knew better than to take the life of one of the Universe's creatures. However, she understands that everyone can need teaching in some area. Bleeding Hear Barbie and her friends atPETA are offering the President a humane fly trap. She suggests that if Obama would just shut his trap, things would be much better.

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