04 March 2007

I Know It Might Make Me Sound A Touch Homophobic, But I Really Hope Not Too Many Fans Are Inspired to Dress Like the Characters From the Film

A pack of tourists and a museum docent fanned out in front of "Leonidas at Thermopylae" in the Louvre a few months ago. Spotting Jacques-Louis David's 1814 oil painting of a buff, naked warrior king preparing to lead 300 Spartan troops into battle, a cheerful young American said: "Awesome. I just made a movie of this."

"Really?" said the docent. "… what does it look like?"

The young man shrugged and smiled. "It basically looks like this."

"Well, those men are all naked," the docent said after a long pause.

"Yeah," the man replied. "That's kind of what the Spartans were all about."

Seriously? Doesn't sound like he's joking. Won't stop me from seeing this film it looks interesting enough. Even the latest breathless bit from Drudge about possible political messages embedded within the picture won't keep me away.

300 looks like entertainment, pure and simple, if there's more, I'll survive, all I ask is that I'm entertained along the way.

The quote from the Drudge 'developing story' would seem to be at odds with the above linked LA Times article, here's the Drudge bit

Snyder, who said he intended neither analogy, suddenly knew he had the contemporary version of a water-cooler movie on his hands, the NY TIMES plans to report on Monday. "But the danger is that an accidental political overtone will alienate part of the potential audience for a film that needs broad appeal to succeed," reports the paper's Mike Cieply. Is the film a thinly veiled polemic against the Bush administration, or is it slyly supporting it?

Meanwhile in the LA Times article the politics of the story are framed this way

But reality did intrude slightly as the studio and filmmakers considered the contemporary resonance of the film. "There was a huge sensitivity about East versus West with the studio," Snyder said. "They said, 'Is there any way we could not call [the bad guys] Persians? Would that be cool if we called them Zoroastrians?' "In the seven years he worked on the film, he said, "the politics caught up with us. I've had people ask me if Xerxes or Leonidas is George W. Bush. I say, 'Great. Awesome. If it inspires you to think about the current geopolitical situation, cool.'

Those two quotes would seem to be at odds somewhat, and if they try too hard to be 'sensitive' about the East v West thing, then they've probably ruined the pictures. Hopefully they only pay lip service to that 'sensitivity'.

It's a comic book for crying out loud, the villains are supposed to be villainous and the heroes heroic, to play it any other way and you end up with a muddle along the lines of V for Vendetta.

Clearly, the USA is more easily morphed into the ovewhelmingly superior force of the Persians versus the gutty little (and doomed) Spartans. So to apply current geopolitical realities to that past would be to suggest that the doomed, but striving terrorists, dying but inspiring subsequent generations are the modern Spartans.

If this picture really goes there, then it will be a box office disaster.

I doubt it does, Frank Miller himself is semi-right wing, definitely pro-War on Terror and takes the current threats against our culture very seriously.

He's cooking up for release later this year, Holy Terror, Batman!, and to quote the Wiki,

According to Miller, the comic is a "piece of propaganda" in which Batman "kicks Al-Qaeda's ass."

Enough, said. So I don't think Miller intended 300 to be anti-American propaganda, but we'll see what message (if any) ends up on the screen. Listen to Frank Miller expand on his thoughts regarding patriotism and 9/11, and why he's inspired to show Batman kicking some Al-Qaeda ass. It's astounding that he's the unusual one in the artistic community for wanting to depict the bad guys as the bad guys.

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