The Mindless Violence of “300”
I had read on someone’s blog that they had been to see “300” not once, not twice, not three, but four times in a movie theater! What horror…I could barely keep watching it at home on DVD, let alone actually paying to watch such nonsense in a movie theater if there were any here in Saudi Arabia.
Directed by Zack Snyder, based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller, the film tells the story of 300 Spartan warriors, led by King Leonidas (played by the Scottish actor Gerald Butler) battling the Persians led by Emperor Xerxes, who is played by the hot Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro.
Many writers have complained that the film is an analogy to today’s problems between the US and Iran, but the director has denied this saying that it is just a story based on a comic book. I felt that the movie did put the Persians down, with Leonidas sneering that the Persians were “boy-lovers” (an old homophobic slur regularly used against Persians) and Xerxes depicted as a vain, bejeweled tyrant.
Many of my friends, both female and male, said they loved watching the ripped abs of the Spartans in their skimpy outfits, but I found that even that couldn’t make up for the stupid grunts of “Long Live Sparta!” It certainly is a jock-fest, but of jocks who are utter meatheads lacking any charisma.
My favorite scene in the whole movie is when a Spartan hunchback (obviously an oxymoron for a group of people who like to envision themselves as the perfect human race—think of them as an ancient version of the Nazis) asks to join Leonidas and his men in their battles against the Persians, and is rebuffed because he cannot stand up straight and be a part of the famous fight formations that the Spartans were famous for. Leonidas then says: “You can help bring in the bodies of the dead off of the battlefield.”
Embittered and angry, the hunchback decides to defect to the Persians and in a hilarious orgy scene in which he is shown all of the earthly delights of the flesh that await him if he shows the Persians the abandoned path around the Spartans, Xerxes tells him: “If you join us I will only ask you to kneel before me, while Leonidas asks that you stand!”
Needless to say, all of the 300 Spartans are slaughtered by the end of the movie by the numerically superior Persians, who even use elephants in their attacks, leaving one with the feeling of shock at having sat through such a terribly long, racist, mindlessly violent and stupid movie.