Monday, April 02, 2007

<== [ 300 ] ==>

Went to watch '300' a few weeks back, didn't think to blog about it until now. Yeah I know, I'm one helluva lazy blogger, who cares -.- .'300' is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller (also of Sin City fame) which is also a semi-historical account of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. This movie is also infamously known to be denounced and banned by the Iranian government for it's unflattering depiction of the Persian army, Asians and people of the East. In the movie, the bad guys are portrayed as idol worshiping middle Easterners, elite assassins in King Xerxes' army ( The Immortals) look and fight like Japanese ninjas and once again elephants are portrayed as demon beasts (remember Lord of the Rings?). Typical US/Hollywood mentality.... let the Westerners or white people be the heroes, and the Asians or brown people be the bad guys, 'very refreshing =.='.

Ok, political conspiracies aside, this movie is actually quite entertaining and it is by itself a magnificent visual feast for the eyes. Firstly, there are the delicious, hunky and macho Spartan army to ogle at. All complete with six-packs, handsome features and that manly swagger when they walk. Undoubtedly, they have the whole package thing going for them. They seem completely immune to the cold and wind as they march to battle in nothing but their leather underwear, crimson cloak, Spartan shield and spear.

Secondly, the scenes of this film are just breathtaking thanks to the wonders of digital graphics and the blue screen. Realistically, only one scene, in which horses travel across the countryside, was shot outdoors. The Spartans are posed against the horizon or along the crests of mountains under rolling skies. The softening colors of blue and yellow have been filtered or drained out of the palette; the dominant remaining color is the molten brown-gold of bronze shields. The action is prolonged in agonizing slow motion, only to snap to hyper-speed and then to a full stop, leaving nothing moving but the fountain of blood spurting from a decapitated body. Yes, it's also quite a gory show with blood splattering here, there and everywhere.

On a side note, I also liked Queen Gorgo. In '300' she is respected, wise, beautiful and brave. A lethal and attractive combination suitable for a Queen. She oozes sex appeal in a toga without looking over exposed or being too 'well endowed'. Looking Queen Gorgo up on Wikipedia shows that she is noted as one of the few female historical figures actually named by Herodotus, and she is known for her political acumen and wisdom. Therefore her portrayal in '300' is actually quite accurate historically.

In the movie, she is questioned by the Persian messenger on why she, a mere woman, is allowed to speak amongst men. She retorted: "Because we are also the only ones who give birth to true men." According to Wikipedia she actually did utter those words although in another situation.

"Plutarch quotes Queen Gorgo as follows: "When asked by a woman from Attica, 'Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?', she said: 'Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men.'" Another version has this as, "...some foreign lady, as it would seem, told her that the women of Lacedaemon were the only women in the world who could rule men; 'With good reason,' she said, 'for we are the only women who bring forth men.'" (Plutarch's Lives: Lycurgus)"

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