Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Mirror Has 300 Sides

I didn't get out to see 300 this weekend as I had planned - it'll have to wait until next weekend. But it was interesting to see the politicos contort the movie to fit their various agendas (agendi???). The Left, predictably, seems to be a bit more confused on the issue. Is 300 a brutal love song for facism?

If 300, the new battle epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war.

(From Slate's review by Dana Stevens.)

Or is it a stirring depiction of the little guy standing up against the foreign invaders?

On the geopolitical military tip (and ancient Greece was nothing if not geopolitical), it's notable that these 300 bearded die-hards, attempting to repel shockingly awesome numbers of foreign usurpers from the lands beyond beyond, resemble nothing so much as an intractable insurgency willing to sacrifice everything up to and including their own lives. The parallels between American foreign-outreach programs and those of 2,400 years ago are too obvious to miss but in the end have very little to do with Snyder's film.

(From the Austin Chronicle's review by Marc Savlov - who, to be fair, doesn't take his parallel nearly as seriously as does Stevens.) could just ask the director:

The important thing is that it’s a fun movie experience, you know. Whatever people want to say about it — it’s a sword and sandals epic, it’s a war movie — all that stuff. The truth is that in the end I really just wanted to make a movie that is a ride. And it's awesome when you walk out of it, and it’s satisfying and you saw something that you haven’t seen.

Of course, asking the Left to just enjoy something for what it is, without all the bizarre context they try to wrap around everything, may be a bit much to ask. Oh well, more enjoyment left for me.

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