The movie "300" - Journal of Omnifarious
Mar. 16th, 2007
09:45 pm - The movie "300"
This movie is the most cliché ridden piece of trash I have ever been fooled into watching thinking that it might actually be good. It isn't that the movie is awful. It's pretty good for what it is. But what it is is not by any stretch of the imagination a good movie.
It is a football movie. The brave and somehow special band who undergo tests throughout not just their training, but their entire lives (they train from childhood) and prove themselves brave and worthy beat the big bad evil team against all odds.
The only good thing about it is that unlike most sports movies, they dispense with the war metaphor in favor of actual war.
All the same old vapid stupidities about freedom, honor and glory are all trotted out for significant screen time. I'm all for freedom, but having one group of people spout off about it while evincing no evidence that they are free isn't very convincing. I would've felt a lot less like mocking the movie had they talked about preserving their homes, their families and their way of life instead of some ideal with no evidence that it is anything but an empty one.
To be fair, there is no evidence that it's not empty either. But our own leaders have had such a rich history of abusing the words 'liberty' and 'freedom' and the ideal behind them for things that are anything but that the movie's attempt to appeal to the audience through this without backing it up is really grating.
But the movie is basically a sports movie. The determined, courageous and exceedingly competent underdogs beat the big evil unstoppable group and act like real men besides! Woohoo! *waves a tiny triangle flag with the word 'Sparta' on it*
The movie is also pleasingly gory in a way that is simultaneously blood spattery and devoid of any ability to really believe that anybody is actually being hurt. One would think that people are little more than pressurized bags of blood with a tough, thick skin. This is quite unlike the other (much, much better) movie I saw, Pan's Labyrinth, in which only a sociopath of the highest order could not have enough empathy to wince when even the bad guy is hurt.
Oh, and in keeping with the genre, there were bunches of semi-naked women to ogle at various points too. And while women were referred to often as the prize of battle, it was reasonably clear that the underdogs felt this was a bad situation and wouldn't treat their enemy's women in this fashion. In fact, there was even one woman on the underdog side who was something more than eye candy. That's a heck of a lot better score in that regard than most sports movies.
Another saving grace is that the movie is based on a real event, the Battle of Thermopylae and is accurate in some detail to this event, though it embellishes greatly. It's possible the movie is a cliché because it's about an event that all the cliché's come from. That still doesn't excuse it for excessive and gratuitous use of the word 'freedom' though.
All in all, the demographic in the theater of teenage boys and their friends or obliging dates seemed like the appropriate audience for this movie.
This review says something similar, but I think the reviewer uses more and better words.