Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The other day I slouched on the couch and watched a movie. ...A rare occurrence for me as I'm not much of a movie kind of guy.

The movie I watched was 300, based on the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller. It told the story of the Spartan king Leonides and the battle against Xerxes, the King of Persia at Thermopylae. The Spartans, greatly outnumbered (Hugely outnumbered!), try to hold back the advancing Persian in a Mountain pass.

I had a vague bit of knowledge of the battle in the archives of my brain and that made me curious to see the movie through.

The most striking thing about the movie was its visuals. I haven't seen the graphic novels and don't read comic books but you can see how it was filmed like a comic book that came to life. Don't get me wrong, it didn't seem comic strippy, it was just highly stylized. In a good way.

The only negative I saw was that it was a bit heavy with the gratuitous pec and ab shots...

A heads up (off) there is a bit of gore in the movie, so beware....

Caution, Spoilers ahead. But like Titanic (which I have never seen) this movie is based on history. How the movie goes down has been known for almost two thousand five hundred years... Get with the program!

The story is told as a narrative by one of the soldiers, Dilios. You have no trouble telling the good guys from the bad in his storytelling as the bad are monsters. The Ephors that have been bought are a cross between the Emperor from Star Wars, and the little naked hairless dude from Lord of the Rings. The Persian warriors are so ugly not even their mothers could love them. Ephialtes, the spurned Spartan that reveals a goat trail to the Persians was a deformed hunchback. Theron, the corrupt Spartan politician, reminded me of the Geico Cavemen.

The Spartans of course were tall, strapping, with abs and pecs out for all to see. 300 hundred of them held the pass for a few days before being out flanked.

Some have found the depiction that the Persians were monsters, and the non-Spartan Greeks were weak to be offensive... Please. The reason that is silly is made clear at the end of the movie when we see that Dilios was using the story raise a larger force to attack the Persians, kicking off the Battle of Plataea. I'm no Greek historian, but back in the day before photographs, TV and movies, that is exactly how they described their enemies. Hell, I'm pretty sure that everybody demonizes their enemy when they are at war. It happened in WWII, Vietnam, and even today in the war on terror. Even the riotous 'left' does it with George Bush, characterizing him a dumb puppet buffoon. I think that may just be the most realistic part of the movie.

The other thing that I am quite sure about is that while based on history, this movie isn't meant to document it....

Talking about history, after watching the movie, it got me on the internet looking up what I could find about Thermopylae and its battle. The first thing that hit me was how close to history the story was (sans monsters). I could see Leonides, but thought the name Xerxes had to be made up.... No joke, it is real. The other thing the movie did was spark some interest in Greek history for me. Unfortunately the problem with being Mike is that I am interested in too much damn stuff. I will file this in my to-do list along with the 100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man’s Library (I am in the middle of my second book from the list), and furthering my sailing experience. It is hard being me sometimes!


Post a Comment

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP