March 20, 2007


'300' mixed messages: The film's team says no big statements were intended. Sure. We believe that. (CARINA CHOCANO, March 20, 2007, LA Times)

Even before [300] became a box-office sensation, the director[, Zack Snyder,] was sloughing off questions of whether the movie was a metaphor for the current war, or any war we might happen to have in the works. Any political message was "inadvertent." That people were picking up on some political message -- well, you could have knocked the director, producers and studio marketing department over with a feather. As for some people's fixation on certain words, "When someone in a movie says, 'We're going to fight for freedom,' that's now a dirty word," Snyder told Entertainment Weekly. "Europeans totally feel that way. If you mention democracy or freedom, you're an imperialist or a fascist. That's crazy to me." [...]

Sure, Frank Miller, on whose graphic novel the movie was based, has a political point of view. On NPR's "Talk of the Nation" last month he expressed his dismay about the "state of the home front" and his disappointment at the fact that "nobody seems to be talking about who we're up against -- and the 6th century barbarism that they" -- by which he meant not just terrorists, but entire civilizations -- "actually represent." (He also, incidentally, quoted philosopher Will Durant's line -- "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within" -- which opened "Apocalypto," another movie that was either a comment on our current political situation -- or not.)

Snyder has repeatedly expressed his desire to remain true to Miller's vision and leave it at that.

Forget what the filmmakers secretly meant, isn't the important point here that you have to hide such a message from Hollywood suits and Europeans?

A Critical View of Miller's Blockbuster '300' (Talk of the Nation, March 12, 2007)

The movie version of Frank Miller's graphic novel 300 opened Friday to mixed reviews and then dominated at the box office, taking in $70 million over the weekend. Syndicated columnist Victor Davis Hanson offers his take on the stylized account of the battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans held a narrow mountain pass against invading Persians in 480 B.C.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 20, 2007 8:30 AM

"A rousing defense of a military campaign that despite being doomed to failure represents the defense of Western civilization against barbarous (and gay) Middle Eastern hordes?"

If you are unaware that Thermopylae was a spectacular success far beyond what the Greeks could have possibly hoped for, then you really shouldn't be writing about the subject.

Posted by: b at March 20, 2007 11:21 AM