Stephen Speicher

300 (2007)

Rate this movie   58 votes

  1. 1. Artistic Merit

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      30
    • 9
      16
    • 8
      5
    • 7
      3
    • 6
      2
    • 5
      2
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      0
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      0
    • 1
      0
    • 0
      0
  2. 2. Sense of Life, or Personal Value

    • 10
      17
    • 9
      22
    • 8
      13
    • 7
      1
    • 6
      2
    • 5
      3
    • 4
      0
    • 3
      0
    • 2
      0
    • 1
      0
    • 0
      0

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201 posts in this topic

One memorable moment: the first time we see the queen. I immediately thought how beautiful and noble she looks. Then the Persian emissary insults her, and before the king can say anything, she responds with a perfect retort. The words in my head, after hearing that, were: I love you. :-) God what a woman!

I know exactly which one you are talking about.

SMALL SPOILER...

It was something like "It is because only Spartan woman give birth to real men".

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I partially agree that we didn't really see any evidence that the Spartans were any more free than the Persians, but, at least to me, the fact that the Persian "godking" wanted Leonidas to kneel before him was enough.
What about Xerxes saying something like, "How can you expect to win if I would gladly kill any one of my men for victory", to which Leonidas replies, "And I would die for any one of mine". That's not nothing.

Also that whole bit about kneeling, the Spartans are unused to it and not inclined to do it either.

Or that, aside from the mandatory education, the Spartans in the movie make their own choices, whereas the army they face is made of pompous slaves?

It doesn't have to be technically complicated. For me, the importance of kneeling, and not, contains the whole story. It's just like in history, Eastern people had a curious penchant for kneeling and submission, while Western men have always obstinantly refused that simple act. Instead, they stood on the same level, and shook hands.

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I wanted to add a few thoughts to my previous review.

Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

It's hard to say what's my favorite scene or bit of dialogue. There were so many good ones!

So many frames could be cut out, posterized, and hang on a wall as a work of art. Simply amazing. One scene that was breathtaking was the oracle's erotic writhing, with the wisps of smoke and the thin fabric weaving with her body. It reminds me of a pre-raphaelite painting.

I also thought that was very beautiful (despite it being a mystic ritual). Even the bloody battle scenes of the Spartans wielding their swords and spears and their crimson capes flowing in the wind were visually stunning. They remind me of the Greek sculptures of ancient mythological battles. If you watch some of the video journals in the movie's website, you'll hear that the directors controlled every element of this film--down to the actual flow of the Spartans' capes! That the film looks crafted is no accident; everything was constructed, including the sets. This movie was filmed in a huge industrial facility, not on-site.

The video journals also reveal how the film closely matches the comic book not just in the style, but also the characters and their background settings. Xerxes in the comic book looks almost exactly like Xerxes in the movie. The directors explicitly stated that their purpose was to bring Frank Miller's comic book to life, not a make a historically accurate movie. While I agree that a more realistic depiction of the Greeks and the Persians, focusing on their different developments of civilization, may be more satisfactory, I'm not too disappointed that ideal movie wasn't made. The movie excelled in depicting the essence of Spartan society, even if that society wasn't a wholly agreeable one.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

It's hard to say what's my favorite scene or bit of dialogue. There were so many good ones!

One memorable moment: the first time we see the queen. I immediately thought how beautiful and noble she looks. Then the Persian emissary insults her, and before the king can say anything, she responds with a perfect retort. The words in my head, after hearing that, were: I love you. :-) God what a woman!

I wish that the entirety of that incredible scene had been the opening of the movie; it set the tone of, and the stage for, everything that followed. The attitude and actions of the emissary told me everything important I needed to know about the Persians, and the attitude and actions of King Leonidas and Queen Gorgo told me what I needed to know about the Spartans. The rest of the film played out, in exquisite detail, the essence that was contained in that one scene.

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Why doesn't the Marine Corps place a recruiting booth outside theaters showing this? I wanna enlist after seeing this!

HA! Similar ideas were running through my head as I watched the movie and heard some of the dialog.

Only the hard and strong, was a statement I heard many times while going through Marine Corps Boot-Camp and the School Of Infantry. I went to Boot-Camp almost 17 years ago after 2.5 years of college, I ran out of money. The first week of April 1990 I stepped out of a bus and on to those famous footprints on Parris Island, South Carolina, I will never forget it. There were 83 people in my original platoon and close to 20 added from platoons in front of us. When I graduated 90 days later as the Guide of my platoon there were only 38 of us remaining, The Few, The Proud, The Hard, The Strong.

I also agree with Ed, give the movie the award now, it was great.

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The attitude and actions of the emissary told me everything important I needed to know about the Persians, and the attitude and actions of King Leonidas and Queen Gorgo told me what I needed to know about the Spartans. The rest of the film played out, in exquisite detail, the essence that was contained in that one scene.
I agree with this completely. The whole theme of the film was set down right there. And it was done without a wasted word or action. Every look, every gesture, every syllable served the purpose of defining the individuals and the ideas in conflict.

Isn't it revealing that this scene is the one which many reviewers have completely (and, I would say, purposefully) mis-characterized (by means of omission).

--

This is the style of filmmaking I have been anticipating and looking forward to for many years now - ever since I first realized the ultimate artistic promise of digital effects: being able to control the image seen on screen to such a level that literally nothing is accidental. Every detail the result of a specific volitional choice.

Thus I would say it is almost time for a film version of Anthem. :angry:

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I know exactly which one you are talking about.

SMALL SPOILER...

It was something like "It is because only Spartan woman give birth to real men".

That was a marvelous scene . . . and reply. I agree!

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I agree with this completely. The whole theme of the film was set down right there. And it was done without a wasted word or action. Every look, every gesture, every syllable served the purpose of defining the individuals and the ideas in conflict.

Isn't it revealing that this scene is the one which many reviewers have completely (and, I would say, purposefully) mis-characterized (by means of omission).

I agree that the entire scene with Xerxes' emissary was excellent . . . it was one of the few in which a Persian-affiliated character seemed to be a member of the human race. That's one of the elements that made it work.

Unfortunately, most of the review I've read of the film (at least the "professional" ones) have, in fact, NOT ignored this scene: the reviewers have used it as an illustration of Spartan barbarism. Omission would have been a kindness insofar as these reviews are concerned.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

So many frames could be cut out, posterized, and hang on a wall as a work of art. Simply amazing. One scene that was breathtaking was the oracle's erotic writhing, with the wisps of smoke and the thin fabric weaving with her body. It reminds me of a pre-raphaelite painting.

IMDB has several pictures from the movie that demonstrate what I mean, including one of the oracle.

Beautiful.

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Unfortunately, most of the review I've read of the film (at least the "professional" ones) have, in fact, NOT ignored this scene: the reviewers have used it as an illustration of Spartan barbarism. Omission would have been a kindness insofar as these reviews are concerned.
I did not say the reviewers ignore this scene. Quite the opposite. I said they mis-characterize the scene. In other words, I indicated they indeed focus on the scene. But they have (purposefully) stripped it of its meaning by method of omission. They have omitted the context of the meeting. Specifically they have omitted fact that the Persian Emissary has come threatening death and demanding subjugation, and that the King refuses to be enslaved.

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I did not say the reviewers ignore this scene. Quite the opposite. I said they mis-characterize the scene. In other words, I indicated they indeed focus on the scene. But they have (purposefully) stripped it of its meaning by method of omission. They have omitted the context of the meeting. Specifically they have omitted fact that the Persian Emissary has come threatening death and demanding subjugation, and that the King refuses to be enslaved.

I thought the fact that this scene was picked up by negative reviewers was interesting. The Persian messenger who threatens the Spartans with death is being "diplomatic," but the Spartan's refusal to accept those terms was "barbaric."

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I did not say the reviewers ignore this scene. Quite the opposite. I said they mis-characterize the scene. In other words, I indicated they indeed focus on the scene. But they have (purposefully) stripped it of its meaning by method of omission. They have omitted the context of the meeting. Specifically they have omitted fact that the Persian Emissary has come threatening death and demanding subjugation, and that the King refuses to be enslaved.

Fair enough. However, in my view the facts you rightly point out never enter these reviewers minds -- literally, never enter their minds -- as justifications for violent response. In addition, on the basis of what I have read I would go so far as to say that these reviewers hold Leonidas, by virtue of his violent response to what they view as "mere" threats and demands (what I suppose one of the reviewers means when he refers to "token gifts"), responsible for everything that happens or, rather, that he is either a fool at best or at worst the real villain of the piece. It seems to me that for a mind that thinks this way, this is not a mis-characterization, let alone a purposeful one; rather, it is an essential element of its world-view: if Leonidas had made nicey-nicey, he, the 300 and Greece would have been spared. I would call that altruistic delusion.

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The Persian messenger who threatens the Spartans with death is being "diplomatic," but the Spartan's refusal to accept those terms was "barbaric."

Deja vu anybody?

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Deja vu anybody?

I didn't read all the posts, did somebody else say it? If so, it would be the second time in this thread I've done it. I think I'll move on to other threads now :angry:

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...in my view the facts you rightly point out never enter these reviewers minds -- literally, never enter their minds -- as justifications for violent response.
I do not think these reviewers believe slavery and murder are justifiable. If you asked, I believe they would agree (perhaps grudgingly) that men may rightfully defend against such injustice. Yet these reviewers treat the conflict in this scene as if it were simply a matter of arbitrary preference between two individuals. For them to treat it as such requires them to blank out - to evade - the fact that the conflict is very explicitly over slavery and freedom. And that is precisely what they did in their reviews. In other words, I maintain that they were quite aware of the nature of the conflict - and purposefully chose not to identify that nature.
It seems to me that for a mind that thinks this way, this is not a mis-characterization, let alone a purposeful one; rather, it is an essential element of its world-view: if Leonidas had made nicey-nicey, he, the 300 and Greece would have been spared. I would call that altruistic delusion.
I would say that such a world-view is based upon a purposeful evasion of the facts - a purposeful evasion of the difference between freedom and slavery.
Deja vu anybody?
Indeed.

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Deja vu anybody?

Indeed!

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I do not think these reviewers believe slavery and murder are justifiable. If you asked, I believe they would agree (perhaps grudgingly) that men may rightfully defend against such injustice. Yet these reviewers treat the conflict in this scene as if it were simply a matter of arbitrary preference between two individuals. For them to treat it as such requires them to blank out - to evade - the fact that the conflict is very explicitly over slavery and freedom. And that is precisely what they did in their reviews. In other words, I maintain that they were quite aware of the nature of the conflict - and purposefully chose not to identify that nature.

I would say that such a world-view is based upon a purposeful evasion of the facts - a purposeful evasion of the difference between freedom and slavery.

I'm afraid I find it impossible to give those reviewers as much credit as you do. Oh well . . .

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I would love to see the philosphically negative reviewers of this movie live according to their own responses of what should have been done by the Spartans. I would also love to see them forced to bow down and give up their freedom which is what would happen if people like the Spartans did not exist. They are cowards and looters that sit back and live a life of freedom without ever paying the price it takes to live it while condemning their protectors.

I decided some time ago not to give most reviewers any of my time as I have almost never agreed with them. It is from my own objective perspective that allows me what to choose as important or grand in a movie and no one else's reviews will do for me in the end. And, in the end I again would like to say that I loved the movie for many reasons and the detractors were few for me and barely worth mention.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

If only I could have seen it in IMAX! But alas, I still got a great seat at my local theater.

Ahh, I know! For some inane reason it isn't playing at the Seattle IMAX. The closest I could get was the Cinerama, a 90x30 ft screen, but I want to see it at the IMAX so badly. I wonder if they're going to change their minds after they realize how much money they could make?

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Slights Spoilers Follow...

I loved this movie for many of the reasons people here have already mentioned, both philosophically and artistically. I do have one minor quip about the movie that I agree with Vespasiano about, although it didn’t affect me nearly as much. The portrayal of Xerxes was kind of silly. There are much better ways to portray a cruel, strange, and evil God-King. He was made so effeminate that everyone laughed at him in the theatre, especially when he was massaging Leonidas’ back—LOL! When looking at him, I got “gay and strange” rather than “tyrannical.” Maybe it was the mood of the audience that affected my thinking though.

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Duke,

The Greeks did in fact view the Persians as effeminate, unmanly, pleasure-driven, luxury seekers. So in a sense, they got it right.

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But . . . the depiction of the Persians was not simply exaggeration, let alone stylization: it had nothing to do with reality at all, in my view. The Persia of Darius and Xerxes was one of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world . . . up that point in time, that is. The Greeks of that time, on the other hand, had embarked on a different developmental journey that would redefine what the words "civilized" and "civilization" mean. Pointing out the tremendous significance of the meeting of these two worlds and world-views at Thermopylae and beyond did not require turning one side of the conflict ((a conflict that continues to this day) into nothing more than a freak show. As I mentioned, this approach weakened the film -- and, in particular, its philosophical ideas -- for me.
Vespasiano makes a very interesting and valid point. I loved the movie; it really made my day. There is so much art that is terrible, out there, so much that demeans the potential and the accomplishments of Man, that, when a movie shows me, in some particular facet, what a man can achieve, I fall in love with it and am willing to overlook the things not said, the things not done. A movie -- any work of art -- doesn't have to be all things in one wrapper to be a soul-satisfying experience. This one was the latter, if not the former. It portrayed courage, conviction, a fierce love of life, but an implacable refusal to kneel to a tyrant, to accept a life of submission (by the way, the direct translation of the word "Islam"), it gave me the chance to spend time with a man who would fight fiercely for his principles and not waver. It showed me a woman who was his equal. It showed the power of the love between two such people. It showed me what all that looks like in a world where it has become rare.

The movie is what it is and I'm so glad it was made.

That said, I would love to see the movie that would present the war of mysticism vs. reason more explicitly than this one did. This movie asked us to grant the premise that the Persians were mystics and depicted them as fantastic and mystical in form as an abstraction of that. I think that a more explicit depiction of Altruism and irrationality was in the plotting of Theon, the bribery of the priests of the Oracle's temple, vs. Lenonidas' disgust. But it would have been great to have seen that explored on a larger scale in a confrontation with a more intellectually formidable Xerxes, rather than making him a joke right off the bat. I hope that other movies will be made that will bring us that contrast more explicitly. With the success of this one, maybe such movies will be more likely to be made.

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Here is a review from the Iranians. Surprisingly they are a little upset about this movie.

Shucks. What a shame.

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Slights Spoilers Follow...

I loved this movie for many of the reasons people here have already mentioned, both philosophically and artistically. I do have one minor quip about the movie that I agree with Vespasiano about, although it didn’t affect me nearly as much. The portrayal of Xerxes was kind of silly. There are much better ways to portray a cruel, strange, and evil God-King. He was made so effeminate that everyone laughed at him in the theatre, especially when he was massaging Leonidas’ back—LOL! When looking at him, I got “gay and strange” rather than “tyrannical.” Maybe it was the mood of the audience that affected my thinking though.

My only real complaint about the movie come from the same scene (and is a very, very minor complaint), but is something completely different. I thought the attempt at humor in this scene (Leondias' claiming to have a cramp in his legs) was a little cheesy and out-of-place. It just didn't really fit in at all with the grandeur of the entire rest of the movie, and for a few moments I wasn't "in the movie" anymore. It didn't take too long to get caught back up in the story, though, so it's not a huge deal. It is, however, the only reason I gave the movie a 9 for artistic merit instead of a 10.

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