War is hell, even If You're A Wizard

Category: 300 News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: December 22, 2006 | Publication: National Post (Canada) | Author: Chris Knight
Publication/Article Link:http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/index.html

LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA

Opens Jan. 12

Directors often compare making a movie with fighting a war. If that's true, then 76-year-old Clint Eastwood has just successfully completed a two-front conflict, delivering in one year the story of U.S. Marines fighting in Iwo Jima (Flags of Our Fathers) and now the Japanese side of the story. What's more, both have been nominated for a best director Golden Globe. The trailer for the latter opens with a Japanese General asserting, "The United States is the last country in the world Japan should fight," before cutting to the same man arriving to defend the scrubby volcanic island from U.S. forces. There's a lot of "we will fight to the last man" talk and a lot of firepower from both sides, but underneath lies a tone of quiet elegy, as one soldier writes, "Hanako, this letter will probably never get to you," and another simply: "I bid you farewell."

300

Opens March 9

If Eastwood's battles are those of quiet desperation, Zack Snyder ( Dawn of the Dead) takes a more operatic route, glorifying the battle of Thermopylae and its vastly outnumbered Greek combatants with an unseen narrator intoning: "We Spartans are descended from Hercules himself, taught never to retreat, never to surrender, taught that death in the battlefield is the greatest glory to achieve in this life." (True, Japanese soldiers were given similar marching orders, but Letters shows a much less headstrong force.) Scottish actor Gerard Butler has clearly been on track to play Sparta's King Leonidas for some time, having recently portrayed Attila the Hun and the epic warrior king Beowulf. If the film's title, written in a colour and font I can only describe as Splatter, doesn't convince you of the tone of this picture, take it from Leonidas: "Spartans, tonight we dine in hell!"

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

Opens July 13

Proving you're never too young to battle evil, Harry Potter and friends return this summer to take on he-who-must-not-be-named (except-in-the-next-sentence) once again. "If Voldemort's building up an army," says a bespectacled Daniel Radcliffe in one of the few lines of dialogue in the early teaser trailer, "then I want to fight." The rest is mostly pointed wands, flying broomsticks and a brief hint that Potter may have time for a bit of romance between spells.