Friday, March 09, 2007

Molon Labe!

I just saw 300. Wow, what a great film. The reviews have been really mixed - people who get the film love it, and people who don't often just end up really confused.

But it works on several levels. It's absolutely beautiful, even when showing the most horrible things. Obviously it's an incredibly violent film - and I very, very rarely go to see violent films - but it's handled in a very mature fashion. The look of the film is very consistent - it drives me nuts when people are sloppy about that sort of thing. The pacing is spot on - there's a major danger with a film where a good chunk of it is a battle that it just wears thin. They managed to avoid it very nicely. There's all manner of messages and morals but it's not like they lay it on too thick or patronize the audience.

And how nice to have the female lead be 33 and have the kind of beauty that real people have.

Some folks are confused because they want it to be too much about current events. Yes, there are parallels, but the fact that reviewers at the premier were asking which character is Bush says something about the simplicity of these people and their inability to handle a film that isn't part of the greater Hollywood narrative.

I've seen some complaints that the dialog is off of t-shirts or bumper stickers. Um, yeah, that's because the story is so compelling that 2,500 years later they're still making movies about what happened. It's entered the culture in a fairly profound level if you can shorthand bits of it and educated people will know its historical context. The fact that you can buy a hat or bumper sticker with lines from Herodotus and the fact that the movie pulls from that same version of the story does not invalidate the dialog. Do you really expect somebody to make a movie about the Battle of Thermopylae and have those pieces that have persisted 2,500 years at such a fundamental level that people feel compared to wear them - and the person making the movie's supposed to leave that bit out or something?

Anyway, go see it in the theater. You'll want to see the visuals writ large. Stay for the end credits - they're quite beautiful in their own way as well.

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