Went and saw the movie 300 with my friends, Tripp and Trish, and Justin and Mae, and Sarah.  They had reconstituted the Justice League of Nerdy Geeks (or is it Needy Gerks, I can’t remember) for an outing to the movies, but unfortunately I did not get the email till I got home (can’t access Yahoo mail at work).  And Anna and I were going out to see a rental property and weren’t going to be done in time to make the originally proposed movie time.

So I called Tripp to let him know I wasn’t going to be able to make it.  But then I found out they had changed the movie time, and Anna generously encouraged me to go out on a last-minute get-together with my friends.  She dropped me off, and away we went.

What can I say?  The movie is just brilliant.  It’s about the comic book, but there’s just enough real history to keep it connected to the actual account (loved several of the quotes that come from the retellings of the battle).  The visual effects are just stunnning and, as far as I could tell, absolutely seamless.  Victor Davis Hanson is right: the move definitely captures the spirit of the historical event.  And the acting in the movie is just great–utterly convincing.  You really feel (despite whatever historical inaccuracies there are: like bronze shields) like you’re back there taking on the decadent Persians.

Color me a prude, but the love scene between Leonidas and Gorgo seemed useless (as, contrarily, the suggested/off screen rape of Gorgo by Theron, which did play an integral part in the plot).  And some of the scenes in Xerxes’ camp seemed a bit overdone in suggesting the decadence of the Persians.

Conversely, however, and perhaps revelant of my own inconsistency, the violence seemed about right.  Sure some of it was Crouching-Tiger-Hidden-Dragon spectacle.   And if you see one slow-motion severed limb scene, you’ve seen ’em all.  Of course, that’s just fantasy.  One generally did not get either the force or have the requisite sharpness of blade to hack through thigh-bone or vertebra.  Finger or wrist, maybe.  By accident.  But severed head with razor-clean edges?  Pure comic book/Hollywood make-believe.  Still the initial phalanx scene was, I think, pretty accurate.  That was classical Greek warfare: pushing, jabbing, and killing.  And that was how Greek warriors defended themselves against arrows, by crouching under their shields.

More importantly, however, the true spirit was captured.  There is a bunch of bravado in warfare.  But there was also enough glimpses of poignancy–Leonidas knowing that he wasn’t going to ever see Gorgo again, Captain grieving his son–to keep it real.  And to fight against the “security” of tyranny is, well, our history.

Go see 300.  I’ll be purchasing the DVD when it comes out.

5 thoughts on “300

  1. Well said.
    And I agree, I think the ‘love story,’ particularly as related to the royal couple, diluted the “spirit” of the film- or is that just the incessant need of the Classicist in me to have more death, more love, less romance?
    But yes, a wonderful comic book and glory-gory tale….

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