The Posse had a rare opportunity to take in a matinee this afternoon and we were pleased to see the much-anticipated 300.
This is a great movie. It will be added to our dvd library.
We had not read the Frank Miller graphic novel upon which it was based, but we are quite familiar with the actual history of the Battle of Thermopylae. This film does an excellent job of conveying the same sense of wonder, otherworldness and sheer hyperbole that the Greeks found all around them. The war elephants, for example, were four times as large as real elephants. This wasn't realistic, but it is exactly the way the Greeks themselves would have seen things.
It is unapologetically violent, sensual and idealistic. The Spartans fight for concepts that to them are all that matter: honor, duty, country. Without these a Spartan is not a Spartan.
Watching the film and the way it portrays Leonidas and Spartan society, we could not help but be reminded of the current struggle in our own society. Sparta itself is shown as divided by intrigue. The Persians are an overwhelming colossus and they offer amazing gifts of treasure and pleasure in exchange for subservience.
It would be an easy thing to accept Persian rule, submit to the yoke, and go on living. Of course, the Spartans do not, which is why of all the peoples we remember, we do not recall those who sought terms, who offered tribute or who sued for peace. We recall only those that did as they did and in so doing became immortal.
We highly recommend the movie, though it is not one to bring younger viewers to see. The violence and sensuality (which seemed to us about as close as one could get to NC-17) can be off-putting. The Posse actually dislikes excessive violence in film, particularly when it is driving by nihilism or a seeming sadism on the part of the director (we loathe Quentin Tarentino for this reason).
However, 300 is a violent story of a violent time, when passions were raw and the gods themselves were more outrageous than anything in today's tabloids. It reminded us of Conan the Barbarian in terms of its over-the-top emphasis on the gore and ferocity of combat.