March 14, 2007


Why The Left Hates "300" (Ben Shapiro, March 14, 2007, Townhall)

"300" is not a particularly good movie. The comic-book tale of the battle of Thermopylae (480 B.C.) brims over with excessive nudity and violence. The dialogue is often laughable -- lines like "This is madness! This is Sparta!" leap to mind.

David Wenham, who plays a Spartan soldier, narrates throughout the movie; his narration is guffaw-inducing. "Only the hard and strong may call themselves Spartans. Only the hard . Only the strong ," Wenham gravely intones. At another point, over footage of Spartans graphically slaughtering the oncoming hordes of Persian dictator Xerxes, Wenham intensely growls, "We do what we've been trained to do. We do what we've been bred to do. We do what we were born to do." There are no descriptors for this kind of purposeful anti-subtlety.

Nonetheless, "300" is drawing a crowd. It is drawing a crowd for two reasons: First, the movie is visually interesting, combining over-the-top comic-book imagery with live-action realism in the same way "Sin City" did. Second, Americans are interested in watching movies that pit good against evil.

The few, the proud among fans of '300' (Tony Perry and Robert W. Welkos, March 14, 2007, LA Times)

To the U.S. Marines serving at Camp Pendleton, there is much to learn from the Spartans, those heroic warriors of ancient Greece whom one might have called "the few, the proud" centuries before the Marine Corps adopted the motto.

In the hit new film "300," Marines see parallels between the current war in Iraq and the film's story, which tells of hopelessly outnumbered Spartans fighting heroically to the death against mighty Persian invaders at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.

There was periodic cheering Monday night at the Regal multiplex in downtown Oceanside, a few blocks from the main gate of Camp Pendleton, where young Marines attended showings of "300" on three screens. Some Marines nodded in recognition at lines in the movie that were familiar from their training -- such as when King Leonidas instructs his son that the more troops sweat in training, the less they will bleed in combat.

"When the Spartan officer says that Spartans are all about protecting the guy to the left and right rather than being worried about themselves, that struck a chord," said Pfc. James Lyons, 20. "That's what they tell us all the time."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 14, 2007 12:01 AM

I don't know if it's a good movie, but it's apparently a fine Rorschack test for reviewers.

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 14, 2007 9:07 AM

How seriously can we take reviewers who don't even realize that the movie only uses Thermopylae as a backdrop to make commentry on modern society.

Posted by: lebeaux at March 14, 2007 11:40 AM

The reviewers initially seemed not to know 300 was based on a real story. Now the seem to forget that that it is a comic book adaptation.

Firstly, am I the only BroJuddBlog reader who liked Sin City?

Secondly, all the young guys I work with loved the film and reported long lines. It's getting the best word of mouth I've seen in many years. One guy this morning said 'It makes you wish you were a Spartan' and regretted he could not see the IMAX version.

When hollywood makes movies in any way displaying Western martial values they make big bucks because they are so rare.

Posted by: JAB at March 14, 2007 9:24 PM