March 12, 2007


Quick review of 300, which I had been looking forward to for over a month and went to see on Sunday.

After having been horribly scarred back in 1991 by Highlander 2 I have been careful not to let my expectations get too far out of hand when anticipating a new movie; sometimes my expectations are totally exceeded, but more often then not, disappointed! With 300, however - not disappointed at all.

I dug this movie, and it was well-worthy of my $10.50. Was it great, no - but it was a damn good man-movie. Solid acting, great visuals, great choreographed fight scenes. Some decent amounts of blood and gore, but nothing like your standard Tarantino movie, and because it's so stylized, not even particularly shocking. At its core 300 is a movie about men being men, and doing what men have done for ages: standing up for something, protecting our families and our way of life, fighting and dying for one another, and for honor and glory. I don't know of any guy who wouldn't be moved, at least a little bit, by this film. It's no Star Wars, it's no Godfather, Goodfellas, or Lord of the Rings, but it's up there.

Fair warning however, this is not a date movie. For men it's a nice palette-cleanser from all the girlie-relationship pablum that we get dragged to all our lives when, due to having to try and trick women into liking us and thinking we care about Jennifer Aniston, we get dragged (and pay!) to see things like The Breakup. I suspect 300 is not a movie that will speak to women so much; it's overwhelmingly man-oriented. Sara's response after it ended was pure bafflement. "Why did we need to see that?" she asked, perplexed. To which I sensitively responded "That's funny, that's exactly what I said after Steel Magnolias..." 300 is about men, for men, and maybe some women will dig it, but I wouldn't expect too many. Though who knows? There's at least one set of washboard man-abs in nearly every frame, so perhaps it has cross-gender appeal?

In the interest of balanced reporting, there's a lot that wasn't cool about this movie. You need a certain willingness to suspend your 21st century politically correct sensibilities if you're going to fully enjoy it. The few women portrayed in the movie all spend a certain amount of time naked, all the brown and black people are evil, and the chief bad guy is an emo-queen of the fairies, looking like he's just stepped out of a Chelsea men's room after a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream. They even take the opportunity to offend the physically challenged as a particularly distasteful character is a hideously grotesque hunchback. In the world of 300, unless you're a totally buff white guy, you're doomed.

Now, this has a certain amount of historical accuracy to it - if you weren't a buff white guy in 480 B.C. you were indeed in trouble. But that plays more awkwardly these days, and considering how fast and loose the movie plays with historical facts in other areas, you can't defend the choice that way. No, this movie is all about riling up a cowboy patriotism, whipping western men into a testosterone frenzy.

Which is all a part of the movie's master plan. 300, after successfully completing the offensive trifecta of women, people of color, and homosexuals, then zealously goes on to outdo itself with some nice ethnocentric culture-bias. The Greeks, progenitors of a heritage of democracy and reason to which we in the west all claim to be descendents, perform an Alamo-like last stand defending Greece (and the freedom it represents) from the marauding, invading Persians. You remember Persia, right? That was what everyone called Iran not too long ago. One particular line stands out, as the narrator describes the rational Greeks as "standing against the mysticism and tyranny of Persia." I'm not so jaded to say that this was intended to be pro-war propaganda, but it certainly shares a hell of a lot of qualities with pro-war propaganda... That's all I'm saying.

But blah blah blah. Nevertheless, I really dug this movie. As Adriaan said after her saw it, it's "definitely worth seeing twice." I'll likely go see it again at the IMAX in a week or so, to get the whole big-assed screen experience. If you can get over the pejorative characterizations, get over the blood and gore, and just get into manly men doing what they do best - killing stuff - you'll really enjoy it. It looks cool, a spectacular visual display, and well done overall.


At 8:53 AM, Blogger Mr.T said...

Dan reading this review I can totally see how our roles have so very much been reversed due to your recent slew of sexploitations. This review barely mentioned the awesome nude (nip)/sex scenes. Maybe as a new father and parent of now two my days of getting "it" may now be two-three times a week as opposed to 6-8 times a week, and because of this. I may be more sensitive and hyper aware of any show of skin wether they be great nude women or an awesome male six pack at this point. Where compared to you. Who is having the time of his life in NYC, getting laid by all of the single women in NY/EU.
I even hear rumor of HBO bringing back Sex and the City just to cast you as Carrie Bradshaws new character for an article that she is writing titled "Where the hell was Dan when seasons 2-3 were going on?"


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