Thor Rocks a Big Block (blog)

Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: August 6, 2007 | Publication: | Author: Editor
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Friday night, several of us from work gathered at Brandon’s place to watch 300 on Blu-ray and then proceed with yet more carnage obliterating one another inside the madness that is Gears of War.

I don’t know how one can not enjoy 300. Yes, it’s full of odd quirks and the fanboy element is all over it; still, 300 Spartans led by King Leonidas (played with absolute abandon by the most excellent Gerry Butler) handing out one liners and butt-whoopings the likes of which make any man’s testosterone level go up while simultaneously making him realize he’s the fattest, laziest couch potato within a hundred yards.

I saw the film in the theater, and I’d been waiting patiently for it to release on DVD. Seeing it again in Blu-ray format on a sixty-one inch high definition television was something to behold. So crisp and clear was the image that it was noticeable when CGI blood went flying from some poor Persian. Which, as you know if you’ve seen the film, means there were a lot of opportunities to notice the difference between CGI and physical (albeit it fake) blood.

Sure, the movie raises many questions. Was Leonidas really Scottish? I mean, hell, the accent works magnificently with lines such as, “Prepare your breakfast and eat hearty, men. For tonight, we dine in hell!” But did the lion-king really speak in English with such a brogue? Was there a Gold’s Gym in town? I mean, these dudes were cut, man. Not like, ‘we bust our asses learning how to fight and from birth we’re allowed only to eat fruit and hand-killed wolf’ cut, either. Whey, grain and protein only at specific intervals during the day and personal trainer cut. And who knew in the outlying areas of Greece, wolves grew to be the size of large ponies.

But these things are neither here nor there. Because, well, one-liners and severe butt whooping!

Besides, a good majority of the film is visual metaphor. Spartan soldiers didn’t walk around three-quarter naked. The point was to show that the Spartans had stripped everything down to the essence of who they were and what they were about, which is to say, nothing but going to war against an oppressive (albeit not nearly so tyrannical in a historical sense) dictator. Xerxes wasn’t a ‘God-Kings of The East Calendar’ model. His perfection was exaggerated in order to show what he thought of himself; why he believed loyalty to him was the only option for any other culture. It goes on and on from there.

The best thing for myself about the movie is that it made no apologies. Which is rare. Pacifism seems to be a higher calling, and killing is nothing to aspire to, certainly. But, the movie parallels some modern situations well, and yet does not parallel anything at all just as well. It is what it is, which is Zack Snyder’s interpretation of Frank Miller’s interpretation of the the Battle of Thermopylae. And, as such, is brilliant. The morals are left to be determined by the viewer, which is quite nice, in such a preachy age. I often find it amusing when I hear the word ‘preachy’ in terms of religion (and yes, I’ve used the word often) from those who are not necessarily themselves religious, when one considers that political correctness, sensitivity and tolerance are new religions, each preached with the utmost funding and volume.

All-in-all, excellent film. If you’d dismissed it as little more than a couple of hours of blood-letting nonsense only a college frat boy could truly enjoy then know that, while some of it is just that, there is something more going on. Might want to check the film out.