300: the review

I showered instead.

I dropped by the DVD shop near KFC this evening and bought a copy of 300. I was expecting some cinema-taped rubbish, but whatever the source, this is a good quality copy, both sound and vision. Even the English subs are the actual subs to the film. I was expecting them to be absent or ripped from another film.

This is the sort of film which you need to see at the movies. You should either be inebriated or be able to suspend disbelief to such a degree that the Antisceptic Club will be sending you a memberhip form because you’re going to need the power of antiscepticism to endure this film. And a large amount of alcohol. Yeah, there’s no either… or… about it. Drunkenness and antiscepticism.

Since I wasn’t drunk, and I’m much too sceptical, I decided to go and have a shower during the film since I didn’t feel for a moment that I’d be missing anything. I probably didn’t. I did manage to endure much more of this than Troy, but I think that was a mistake.

The Persians were either monsters in form or behaviour, or, in the case of Xerxes and his court, effete. But every time I saw Xerxes, I couldn’t help but think of the goa’uld from Stargate SG1, and kept expecting his eyes to glow. The Persians were a ridiculous caricature which failed to stir any feelings of animosity, just as the Spartans failed to rally me behind them. Ephialtes conformed to that ancient and crude notion that ugly is bad, and he was so ugly that he must definitely have been very bad.

But Frank Miller has distorted the source material in an ugly way, which explains why the film is so bad. Ugly=bad, right?

Is there meant to be a message? As other reviewers have noted, the Spartans can hardly stand for America, if this is meant to be some sort of anti-Iranian statement. After all, in global terms, the Americans are today as the Persians were then. Is this hyperbole? Does Frank Miller believe that America faces an overwhelming horde or religious fanatics from the east? The Spartans are not the best choice of poster boys for the defence of Western Europe because Sparta existed as a brutal, militaristic state with an appalling human rights record for about three hundred years. If you’re homophobic, you might not want to know some of the other details about Spartan society.

Bloody awful film, but it might appeal to the Lord of the Rings fanboys.

I know there’s a film based on Xenophon’s Anabasis. It’s set in New York and is the story of a gang trying to return to their turf through hostile territory after a meeting with other gangs that went badly wrong. I can’t remember the name of the film, but it was a vastly better use of source material than 300.

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