March 11, 2007

300 : movie review (comics and movies!)

I love 'big canvas movies' the types with lots of special effects, wars, battles and so on. I happened to watch 300, a graphic comic style recounting of the battle of Thermopylae between Spartan King Leonidas and Persian Emperor Xerxes.

The movie in itself is a visual treat - a faithful adaptation of Frank Miller's 300 , it is filled with copper, gold and blood red and is incredible to watch. The battle scenes and the thumping score are amazing, and I personally did not find the 'graphic violence' not so graphic. It is all so over the top that it really does not register as violent - definitely not in the league of, say, Saw III.

Just don't go to the movie to understand history, that's all. Personally, I loved the movie because it fulfils my movie-watching-fantasies. Having said that, there are several annoyances,

  1. There is a voice over in several parts of the movie - darn annoying as hell, irritating, extremely pompous. Makes you want to behead the voice-over artiste in slow motion.
  2. Silly dialogs - apparently the movie makers took the comic too literally. Some of the dialog comes across as corny - for e.g. when Leonidas leaves his wife and walks to the battlefield, a serious droning voice tells you something like "he did not say he loved her, because there is no room for emotion in Spartans. yada yada" You'll know when you hear it. The movie has many such cliches. Consider this "Leonidas' only grief was that he could not sacrifice more of his soliders".. what the...?!
  3. They said "Sparta" more times in the movie than I said GMAT during all my preparations.
  4. Interesting to see that Leonidas, the king, has an interesting accent while his wife sounds very British.
  5. Xerxes as a 8 foot tall androgynous weirdo with lots of piercings. Really.
You can find some real Thermopylae pics here and you can see the approximate location on google maps by clicking this link. In antiquity, there was water near the road you see by the hills today. The actual story is pretty amazing. It is a story of an army that uses geography to its advantage when battling an enemy. What I found a little surprising, from a historical perspective, is that Xerxes was a big king and a veteral of battles. Why did he ignore the perils of fighting in a narrow corridor and why did he send waves of his soliders to be slaughtered? Why did he do no "due diligence" before planning an attack? I suppose I have to read Herodotus' original accounts to find out Xerxes' rationale for even sending his crack troops, the Immortals, into battlefield.

All in all, watch the movie, enjoy the visuals, and then browse the Internet to read more about the real battle.

1 comment:

Inblue said...

I watched it last week and I completely understand why you were annoyed.