Well-known member
Yeah, all this talk of the Spartans fighting for "freedom" in the trailers etc really gets my goat.

The Spartans were probably the most brutal and elitist of the ancient Europeans... Check out how they treated their slave class: there were regular officially sanctioned slaughters of Helots, doubtless many unofficial ones too...

Check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helots#Fear_and_humiliation

It's interesting that that film critic makes a connexion between Spartans and American frat boys..

This somehow sounds so familiar...

In fact, the creation of a great number of helots in Messenia caused great problems and led to the introduction of a strict military discipline among the Spartans, who became a specialized military class. They had to be permanently on their guard, and it is not surprising, therefore, that their magistrates (the ephors) declared war upon the Messenians every year. If a member of the Spartan elite happened to kill a helot, it was not considered to be murder but an act of war. Other acts of violence and terror are recorded, and it seems that Spartan society as a whole suffered from a permanent fear of a helot rebellion. Probably, the helots outnumbered their masters by some seven to one.

On the other hand, there was also a more kind policy towards the helots, as if to appease them. Helots always could dream of being emancipated...


there are no accidents
funny i was thinking that if one was to take the david and goliath metaphor and apply it to today, America is clearly the Persian empire, and the anti-US forces in Iraq would be the Spartans...


Well-known member
ugh... I don't quite know why (I didn't really know anything about the movie), but I just saw this with three friends. As we were walking out, we were trying to think of a worse movie any of us had ever seen. Besides making me cackle like a hyena a couple times at the idiocy of some dialogue, the movie raised a few political hackles as well. I mean, shit, by the end, the Spartans seemed like such assholes that I didn't really care if they won or not. So much chest-pounding macho bullshit about glory and honour in the face of larger armies, oh, and as the article mentions, eugenics to cap it all off!

As for echoes with today's political moment:
- Leonidas' wife actually says "Freedom isn't free". Ok, so it's embedded in some other sentence like "they have to learn that freedom isn't free." But still. Straight off of a million bumper stickers in the US
- Theron, the Spartan councillor who is really in the employ or Sparta (i.e. the BAD GUY), not only objects to sending any more troops to thermopylae, but also goes on about how their king led an ILLEGAL WAR! Moral: STAY THE COURSE OR YOU'RE A TRAITOR.


in the sea
sorry in advance for the rambling post, can't get my thoughts straight...

So I went and saw this last night at the IMAX. stoned. in the first row. I think this is probably the only proper way to see this movie, where everything is SO FUCKING HUGE AND LOUD that your only choice is to laugh at the sheer overwhelming ridiculousness of it all. And I did. I laughed a lot. I think it helped going in there with a bunch of friends who were all pretty much on the same page as to what we were getting ourselves into, and we could laugh at the stupid parts together. Because this movie was so RIDICULOUS and so AWESOME (in that amazingly stupid way) that there's just no way to take it seriously, despite how hard it tries to take itself seriously. I read someone (on some other messageboard, i think), describe it as "Starship Troopers, but not on purpose," which couldn't be more spot on. Someone should write something about the aesthetics of AWESOMENESS as some sort of ultimate pomo form-as-function defeat of rationality at the hands overwhelming sensorium might (wait, kinda like...300??). Because it's really hard to deny that as a spectacle, an immersive sensory inundation, 300 is as impressive as it gets.

BUT, all this said, in the sobriety of the next day I actually felt fairly guilty about how much I enjoyed the damn thing. Because the politics of 300 are just SO blatantly terrible. Every negative comment about 300 being fascist, racist, sexist Iraq-war propaganda is spot on. Trying to justify my enjoyment to myself I thought, "If this is the best that the right can throw at us, I don't think we need to be that worried. We're just constructing an other that actually believes all the crap in this movie. no one would ever really take it completely seriously." But then I was just flicking through some of the user comments on the metacritic page, and lo-and-behold, the vast majority were of the "this is AWESOME!!1" variety. :( then i became very discouraged.

Then I started thinking about things like this (thanks ilx!):



and thought about driving home with my friends laughing and discussing the various uses of the phrases "tonight we dine...IN HELL!!!" "THIS IS SPAARRRTTAAAA!!" and shaking our fists in the air very awkwardly and yelling "TRAITOR!!!"...i'm giggling to myself right now as I type :D . Or how about the fact that the narrow pass where the spartans set up their defence is called, i kid you not, the Hot Gates, leading to lines like "we must funnel the Persians into the Hot Gates!" The hot gates! Not to mention the massive homoerotic undertones, well, not undertones really, full on tones. As attested to by both of the women who I went to the movie with--okay, and the guys I went with too--the spartan warriors are HOTT. Leather loincloths and capes are a big look.

And then I went back to the fact that if I actually was Persian, or from the middle east at all, I probably would have been too pissed off to ever laugh at the movie's stupidity. And I don't think that's a good thing at all.

Ummm, so anyway, half a century in remove we can look back at fascist propaganda films and go all strokey-beardy commentary on them, but what do you do when you watch them right when they're released? Maybe laughing at their complete improbable ridiculousness is the only sane thing to do. Or maybe it's really sad that that's the best reaction I can muster.

Conclusion: This movie has probably provoked more thought for me than the last half-dozen supposedly thought-provoking movies I've seen. And I am still undecided.

Well, I'm probably going to get ripped to shreds for this.


Well-known member
ha, no, I can totally understand that reaction. I had fits of laughter afterward with my friends. So much so that other people in the parking lot were giving me funny stares. Oh, and we also saw it in IMAX!

What I really can't believe is that this movie is getting such good reviews! By real movie reviewers (i.e. the usual hacks).


I just dont know
this was definately one of the most ridiculous spectacles ive ever seen

thing is, i actually just thought it was a bit weak. aside from objectionable, it just wasnt at all emotive. i also felt generally underwhelmed by the visuals... a lot of the landscape shots were very over-cg'd imo, just very plasticky, and while one might argue its the style, homage to the comics etc, i just didnt think it worked for this context. and the pace and development were terrible, it left me very far from gripped

the saving graces were a couple of set pieces, which were utterly beautiful. the final shot was stunning, although it served to further re-inforce the painful pro-christian/right-wing undertones. also some of the fight sequences were undeniably exquisite, the movement and choreography were superb

but boy were there some farcical moments. hold tight the flutist


I haven't seen it but my cousin, an ex-film major and Frank Miller zealot, saw it and said it was one of the worst butcherings in cinematic history. Just one man's opinion but I tend to trust Keith.


there are no accidents
I think Frank Miller is becoming a real fascist in his old age. Dark Knight Returns where Batman kicks Superman's ass was probably one of the most crucial scenes/events in modern graphic novel history, but even back then, you can tell that his politics are dodgy. didn't he do a Batman goes to Afganistan to fight Bin Laden thing?


Well-known member
I think Frank Miller is becoming a real fascist in his old age. Dark Knight Returns where Batman kicks Superman's ass was probably one of the most crucial scenes/events in modern graphic novel history, but even back then, you can tell that his politics are dodgy. didn't he do a Batman goes to Afganistan to fight Bin Laden thing?

I believe that Batman will be fighting Bin Laden on the streets of New York. If I remember the associated Miller quote properly, it was something along the lines of "Why fight comic super villains when real ones exist right now?" I generally try to ignore artists' political affiliations when judging their work, but they've almost entirely overwhelmed anything else Miller might be saying these days. Also casts a shadow over a lot of his back catalogue (previously suspect, now pretty much confirmed).


Well-known member
such a stupid film. made me think i was watching one very long intro to a playstation game. i knew it was going to be a bit dumb when the voiceover at the start kept going on about showing no fear etc. amazing visually, and the fight scenes were quite brilliant, but i dont think there was one brain cell used in the writing of this film, everyone in it was just an incredible blithering idiot. and it was just so incredibly biased and one sided, i felt a bit ill throughout. i dont see how you could actually like the spartans either, they were incredibly repulsive.


my favourite part was when the one time they got their comeuppance and got the shit kicked out of them.


Well-known member
but boy were there some farcical moments. hold tight the flutist

oh my god I had forgotten about this! hilarious!!! did anyone else notice the three girls writhing awkwardly to the left of the screen at the end of the "orgy" scene when the hunch-backed Spartan kneels down before the cuban-sounding Xerxes?

simon silverdollar

saw this at the imax today. quite a spectacle, but basically indefensible in so many ways. i love the bit where the hunch back is showing leonidas his spear skills, and leonidas, totally deadpan, just goes: "nice thrust".



Snakes + Ladders
even the regular american audience must've been a bit mystified re: the historical correctness of "jocko he-man" spartan men prancing about in leather thongs, but...
apparently the producers were surprised of how succesful the film seemed to be with the female audience...

i haven't seen it, and wouldn't want to... sounds like your standard fare superhero shtick blown up to sword-and-sandal epic proportions w/a dash of glossy computer EFX... not to mention the bulging mucles, grease-smeared torsos...
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