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NPR's deep take on the movie:


Folks on my flist have expressed contrasting views on the film:



someone posted the following to an NPR blog:
I went to see this movie expecting it to be horrible due to the trailers but I went to see it because I have followed Frank Miller's career for almost 20 years. The only thing that redeemed the graphic novel was Miller's art, I knew the story was horrible but I wanted to see exactly how bad this movie was going to be.
There truly is no way to understand how horrible this movie is without actually seeing it. The movies messages?
1. Cultures who destroy defective babies are stronger than cultures that don't and strength is a quality that cultures must have to protect themselves.
2. Multi cultural/multi ethnic societies are degenerate,mongrelized and depraved.
3.Anyone who speaks with an English accent should be accorded instant purity and nobility.
4.The West Equals freedom and self sacrifice the East equals tyranny and aggression. The West equals all thats beautiful, the East equals all thats grotesque.

Basically if you know anything about German history from 1918-45, theres nothing in this movie for you to learn.
The movie is true to Frank Miller's comics, Black men are vilified and butchered.This is truly a movie for the unthinking masses, trust me its an absolute emptiness without the slightest redeeming quality.Theres no art, theres no dialog, no development, no pacing. This may go down as the worst movie to ever make 100 million.

Sent by Terence Payne | 4:50 PM ET | 03-12-2007

And Nathan Lee at the Village Voice starts his review like this:
Long ago there reigned a clan of Speedo-wearing militaristic psychopaths called the Spartans. They lived beneath a copper-colored sky, on a copper-colored land, amidst copper-colored fields, in copper-colored homes made from copper-colored stone. Legend has it they would outline their copper-colored pecs and abs with ash to enhance their manly buffness, and yet these were men of action and honor, not "philosophers and boy lovers" like their namby-pamby rivals the Athenians.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
Let's be fair
The battle of the 300 will likely be told in long aeons hence.

Of course, the Right Wingers are going to try to "Spin" it, they try it on anything. The real funny issue is that if you proposed any elements of Spartan society to them in any other context, they'd call you a "Commie Nazi NAMBLA member" at least...

Just looking at the differences between these wars puts the USA in the moral camp of the Persians and the Iraqis (and Afghani and soon, maybe Iranians) in the camp of the Spartans:

1. The Spartans were fighting for their homeland against foreign conquerors. Like the Iraqis/Afghanis of today…
2. The Spartan king was the best of his warriors, even at 50.
Dubya, on the other hand is a ‘highbrow draft dodger’ using wealth and family connections to get him high profile duty in the National guard. He actually delayed a navy ship home a day so he could stop the thing, turn it around, and land a jet on it in a pilot’s suit to ‘play soldier’. Dubya is more like Xerxes, good at surrounding himself with yes-men and profiteers while ordering legion upon legion to their deaths, not willing to hear if his plan ‘is not working’.
3. The Spartan strategy was to use their terrain and superior will/fighting ability to force a far superior army into a bottleneck where they could hold it off. The Persian strategy was to just throw overwhelming legions of warriors at any problem threats or bribery failed to meet. The latter worked at last in the battle of thermopyle, but at great cost (20,000 by the lowest estimate) and ultimately proved futile.
4. It is said that after he at last defeated the Spartans, he hastily buried his own troops in shallow graves. This was for fear that the cost of so many of his men despite so few the numbers of the defenders would rout his army.
Not unlike the government’s playing with the figures and refusing to allow photographs of airplanes coming home with dead soldier’s coffins.
5. The Spartans were, as their name implies, practical and realistic. The Persians were led by an arrogant king who probably thought himself a god.
Now, the Iraqis though religious are otherwise very realistic people. Their former leader, Saddam, tended to execute the religious extremists. Dubya, on the other hand, has said to the effect that he believes his actions are ordained by God and that Jesus talks to him on a regular basis.
6. The Spartan soldiers were the highest of their society. Beneath them were Spartans who failed to become soldiers, who could own land but had no political say and beneath them were their slaves. By contrast, the Persian army was led by elites but peopled by slaves. Today, the higher soldiers get in rank, the more they tend to be either from or toadied to the upper classes, and the lower soldiers tend to be from the lower classes. No slavery, except economic.
7. No way in the world would the Spartans throw their troops lives away in a pointless war that only benefited a ‘rich elite’. Their “mercenary wars” benefited all Sparta, especially the soldiers and their families. Unlike Persians using troops as cannon fodder and of course the war on terror of today when the soldiers suffer the most and are paid by far the least.
8. Leonidas went out of his way to get in the way of the Persians. Before 9/11, every warning to the attack seemed to be blocked or stalled because (at least) of stupid bureaucracy. No one, it seemed, went out of his/her way (beyond maybe an extra phone call) to connect the dots, to try to prevent so obvious a plot.
Mar. 13th, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair
Frank Miller wrote 300 in 1998.

Kinda sinks all the conspiracy theories, eh?
Mar. 13th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair

I'm talking about the movie, how right wingers are trying to spin the MOVIE for the Iraq/WOT garbage lies...
Mar. 13th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair
(I say this as an empassioned leftist)

Eh? I don't see right wingers trying to spin it as support for Iran/whatever, I see left-wingers whining about how it might be spun that way and attributing intent where none exists. I saw the movie and I didn't see any of it. You have to be looking for that kind of stuff to see it in 300.
Mar. 13th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair
seriously? 'freedom is not free'?

oh..and the passionate plea for more troops to be sent to thermapylae. have you read 300, the comic?

the boy lover comment is interesting because the spartans themselves encouraged homoerotic and homosexual liasons between the men because they felt it would bond them in the barracks..every kind of right wing agenda lurks in the movie. this is a movie for the non thinking person. altho' i am always happy to see sculpted greeks sporting 8 pack abs..
Mar. 13th, 2007 05:18 pm (UTC)
"have you read 300, the comic?"
Yes. I have not seen the movie, though I'm sure I will someday. I very much doubt that I'll see it in the theater.

You say the movie is for the non-thinking person, but as I tried to point out in my original post (without actually composing much in the way of original prose) social critics, aggitators, and brainy left-wing partisans seem to be attending in droves and blowing the lid off the whole box of choclaty treats, exposing the creamy, right-wing propaganda in the center of every morsel. Is the movie any less for these people, who have derived such exquisite outrage from it?
Mar. 13th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
Re: "have you read 300, the comic?"
i think the movie's agenda is one of those which will harden each individual..left or right..'s position. the war mongers and fascists will find it glorious and those with ideas opposing them will continue to resist it. the fence sitters will likely be seduced by the sheer colour and surreal(hyper real?) beauty of it. i am guessing this will be the youth and it is always a brilliant strategy to package dangerous ideas in beautiful packages.

having said that, it is not just the 'message' of it...it just made me feel as though i paid to see a movie that was made for someone stupid and ignorant of history...that angers me. the book has also deviated... in it's various unnecessary branching...from the comic..obviously, with frank miller's approval. that is disturbing to me. it also bothers me that this same guy will be butchering alan moore's watchmen which is rich material for propoganda..but because of moore's complex narrative and style of overlaying themes, propoganda, if it occurs will be the exactly the opposite of what he set out to tell. that would be thievary.

but i remain comforted by the image of greek abs and ass burned onto my retina.
Mar. 13th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
You know, I didn't recognize that acronym, so I googled it. That's not very nice, and malathion didn't say anything that remotely warrented snapping directly into hostile mode. I read your initial comment with interest, even though I don't share your political sensibilities. I welcome your contribution, but I will ask that you use good manners and play nice with the other kids when you're in my house.
Mar. 13th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
Ok, sorry,
-But that's why I used the (I thought) cliche abbreviation.

He set me off by calling me a 'conspiracy theorist' when what I said is true, the web (and RL) are already full of right wingers trying to spin the 300 movie for their own agenda, even though they'd violently reject any argument for spartan culture any other day. (and, IMHO, only a handful even knew about them till the movie came out)

IMHO, if the Spartans saw this current war, they'd ask the troops if they were getting PAID enough, considering the Halliburton profiteering. They'd not be against an 'aggressive mercenary' expedition, that being their livelihood, but such an attack would have needed to benefit their entire society, starting with the soldier class, not a rich few at the overall cost rather than benefit to society.
Mar. 13th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair
the movie 300 has been rather free to include bits and dialogues that werent in the novel.

also, i am not great of a frank miller fan anyways...

what is horrifying is that the same director, zack snyder, is going to make alan moore's watchmen. we will all mourn that day.
Mar. 13th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair
err..by novel, i meant the comic...as well as history, come to think of it..
Mar. 13th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair
I've been really excited to see this since I saw the first trailer. What can I say, for all my lofty or philosophical interests I'm still a sucker for really badass stylized fight scenes in slow-mo with Nine Inch Nails playing in the background. Seeing it is high on my "to-do" list for my visit back to the States next month.

I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone though.
Mar. 13th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair
If you see the film in the theater in Japan, you can take booze and outside food into the theater and party on, or at least that was the case when I was there in the early 90s.
Mar. 14th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
Re: Let's be fair
Whoa, really? Actually I just asked my coworker and apparently yeah, that's still the case. Awesome, thanks for the heads up!
Mar. 13th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
Taking life seriously on the internet!
Mar. 13th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC)
Reading that Village Voice review kinda made me want to see the movie more for some reason... :)
Mar. 13th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
Me too
Though I still think I'll hold out for the DVD.
Mar. 13th, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Me too
No, don't; it's gorgeous on the big screen. (I expect it will get some sort of visual awards next year.) Check your brain at the door, forget historical accuracy, don't think about what certain actions imply... and you'll love it. It's a good movie as long as you don't try to make it anything other than that: A movie.

It's just a summer blockbuster that got released 4 months too soon.
Mar. 14th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
Although I should really know better with the current highly-political environment, I am really seriously surprised that there are people reading politics into this movie. I suppose being an artist makes me focus on the 'artisticness' of film in general, so when I heard a movie was being made like this, I mean the visual style, blue-screen technique and all...all I could think of was 'ohhh the lighting and angles and COLOURS!' Now, I think reading into things is all great fun and entertainment, but I really don't think this is the film to exercise that kind of thought on. I really do believe that the people making this film were going purely for art and style and making theatergoers' mouths form that perfect O shape in amazement.

Also, I'm so tired of hearing about race-theory that whenever I hear people STILL talking about this antique theory like it has any kind of validity I'm just left feeling aghast. Weird crazy times. Of *course* The Good will always be portrayed as strong and beautiful and the winner. And of *course* the The Bad will always be weak and ugly and corrupt. It's ok. It's just a story. Just a movie. "Based" on history...the movie makers at no point even attempt to make claim to historical accuracy. They in fact are very up-front about the nature of the film. Which is sacrifice, heroism, digital worlds and perfect angles. And a good soundtrack. Why not then have another movie made in the exact fashion, except from the Persian perspective? And what about all the other peoples? Do the Scythians need PR too? I mean they drank from the skulls of their enemies, but we can't offend right?
Mar. 14th, 2007 07:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you
That's pretty much the message I wanted to convey. Well put.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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