Monday, January 01, 2001


War huh, what IS it good for?

Does anyone find it suspicious that a film about the honour of war and the importance of sacrifice for your country is made and released during one of the most unpopular and dubiously motivated wars since ‘Nam?

Media studies paranoia and cynicism aside, I really like this movie, as so I should, I’m a bloke and that’s who exactly who this film was aimed at. The narrative, such as it is, break down like your average beer swilling thugs Saturday night out; There’s going to be a fight 10%, a giant fight 85%, uninteresting bits that involve women and people speaking 5%.

Basically the 330 of the title refers to the 300 Spartan soldiers who, in 480 BC, were sent to hold the mountain pass of Thermopylae from the entire Persian army, who at the time, was busy conquering pretty much the entire world, a supposedly true event, or as true as history from that time can recount. We follow Leonidas, the king of Sparta, played adequately by Scottish born Gerard Butler who spends most of the film bellowing rousing speeches and showing his spectacular, and perhaps CGI’ed abdominal muscles.

Ab’s seem to be a visual theme that runs through the film; I haven’t seen that many six packed since I fell asleep in an off licence. In fact if it wasn’t made explicitly clear near the beginning during a varied and athletic sex scene - which adds nothing else to the plot - that the big manly men like sexing the sexy sex women, it could be seen as a little homoerotic, what with all the semi-naked men and everything.

One of the films main strengths is its visually stunning, different to what we are normally used to in modern cinema, comparisons to the adaptation of another of Frank Millers comics Sin City are inevitable, both are bold striking with a unique look, and both use a limited colour palette, but while Sin City was confined by its use of colour, 300 is saturated in both colour and texture. Optically its like slipping into a bath of warm violent honey, watch this film and your eyes will defiantly thank you later. Highly stylised and lavish as you would hope for a war epic comic book adaptation, and as grand in scale that modern technology can allow.

But when all is said and done this film about the fighting, and not like in those “horror of war” cryfests that men pretend to empathize with but are actually making machine gun noises in our head and wondering what its like to kill a man. It is balls to floor “holy shit, look at that he chopped his fucking arm right off” sword and spear, stabbing people in the eye death porn. Kinda like Braveheart but without the historical lies, racism and whining.

Despite my lefty Buddhist leanings after watching this film I was ready to fight in a war, or at least have a fight with a sword. Except the whole dying thing, that doesn’t sound good at all.



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