March 7, 2007, - 2:05 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
I saw the much touted “300,” last night. And, believe me, it is NOT the commentary on Bush some are saying that it is. It has absolutely nothing to do with Bush, and I get the idea that promoters are silently getting that message out in order to sell tickets.
If anything, it is the kind of message we should all take with us about the Muslims we are fighting today. While Spartan King Leonidas, the film’s hero, knows his 300 Spartans are vastly outnumbered by Persian King Xerxes’ troops, he knows his Spartans have a spirit and ethos that Xerxes’ legions do not.
Leonidas also repeatedly states throughout the movie that it is better to fight and die a free man than live as slaves. It’s also about commitment and hard work–the training the Spartan boys go through at such a young age makes them real men, not soft, wimpy, feminized girlie-men. The beautiful Spartan queen is committed to liberty and the fight to the end ethos, too.
The New York Times wrote about the debate regarding whether Bush is like Xerxes or Leonidas. The answer is: neither. Bush’s pandering to Muslims and bending over backward to show them that we’re tolerant is not the way you win a war. It’s a sign of weakness, a sign that both Xerxes and Leonidas would exploit. They had no tolerance for the enemy whom they recognized as wanting to eliminate them. Bush has far too much tolerance: our porous borders and rampant illegal alien menace, his pandering to Muslims who hate us–none of that would happen under either a Leonidas or a Xerxes.
While it was a little more gory and bloody than I’d prefer–lots of up-close, graphic beheadings–that’s war. The battle scenes are pretty good (aside from the gore). I thought it was overall a pretty good movie, if you can stand a lot of graphic violence, sex, and blood. It ain’t for the squeamish. (I was shocked to see a man brought his very young daughter who looked to be about 7.)
Could have been a lot more accurate than this comic book version, which is based on a graphic novel. And I don’t get making it so real, but then having this comical villains and fighters with lobster claws as arms and other fictional characteristics. Ditto for the portrayal of Xerxes as a bizarre, bejeweled transvestite with the voice to match–which has no basis in fact. The real Xerxes was mercurial and not smart, but hardly a girlie-man.
This movie certainly bears little resemblance to real history and the real Battle of Thermopylae, a significant event reduced to high-style cinema for the lumpen movie-tariat masses. But still an overall valiant epic movie.
Stay tuned for my full review on Friday.
**** UPDATE: Reader Ari writes:
The real spartans WERE girlie men. Okay, yeah, they were great warriors, but they were all having sex with one another. In fact, Sparta had population problems, because they could not get any of their “non-girlie-men” to actually have sex with real girls.
So, it makes me kind of queasy when anybody refers to spartans as “real men.”
Ari has a good point. I stand corrected.
On the other hand, reader Erich writes:
“Leonidas 2008” . . . maybe we should put that on a bumper sticker?
Not a bad idea.
Tags: Bush, King, Queen, The New York Times