Slate on “300″: Crypto-Nazi war porn vaguely reminiscent of being raped

posted at 9:26 pm on March 8, 2007 by Allahpundit

She didn’t like it.

If 300, the new battle epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynne Varley, had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war…

Here are just a few of the categories that are not-so-vaguely conflated with the “bad” (i.e., Persian) side in the movie: black people. Brown people. Disfigured people. Gay men (not gay in the buff, homoerotic Spartan fashion, but in the effeminate Persian style). Lesbians. Disfigured lesbians. Ten-foot-tall giants with filed teeth and lobster claws. Elephants and rhinos (filthy creatures both). The Persian commander, the god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) is a towering, bald club fag with facial piercings, kohl-rimmed eyes, and a disturbing predilection for making people kneel before him…

“This will not be over quickly,” the villain warns as he pins [Leonidas's wife] against a temple pillar. “You will not enjoy this.” It might have been [director] Zack Snyder himself whispering in my ear, and he would have been right.

In a classic example of the epic understatement known as litotes, Variety’s reviewer observes that the picture’s vision of the West as a heroic contingent of sculpted badasses and the East as a cauldron perversion and iniquity “might be greeted with muted enthusiasm in the Middle East.” Replace the words “muted enthusiasm” with “a roadside bomb,” and you’ve got yourself a tagline for the Baghdad premiere.

The blockquote would have been longer except that fair use only allows me so much. I had to leave out the stuff about eugenics and fascist aesthetics, the griping about how the movie doesn’t so much as feint in the direction of anti-war sentiment (in a story about Sparta?), and her heart-ache over the absence of any overt political message given how “depressingly familiar” it is that the Spartan king feels himself entitled to kill people at will.

Which I guess is her way of saying that if you see this and enjoy it, you might be a redneck.

I wasn’t going to go, but now that she’s turned it into a blue state/red state thing, I sort of feel obliged. Good work, Dana.

Update: The studio’s expecting big, big money tomorrow.

Update: Was Slate right? NRO’s Andrew Stuttaford:

Leonidas had, wrote Herodotus, “proved himself a very good man.” No more needed to be said. The Spartan’s deeds spoke for themselves. Compared with this, the bombast and bluster of the Miller version is simply tacky, a transformation of history not into myth, but kitsch…

No less damaging, despite the occasional striking image, “300″ is as aesthetically clumsy as it is technologically sophisticated. For the most part its visual style is an unhappy mix of Leni Riefenstahl and Iron Maiden, a ridiculous combination better imagined than seen…

Perhaps even more revealing is the way that, like the graphic novel, the movie fails to address the central paradox of Thermopylae: the fact that freedom’s most effective defenders cared so little for individual liberty themselves.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Well, folks, I just got back from seeing it, and I see exactly why the left hates this movie. The heroes are manly, the women are hot & tough, it contains hardcore promotion of the traditional nuclear family, it states with clear tone that violence can, in fact, solve some problems, and the hero is a total smartass with the huevos to back it up.

Sons, take your dads. Dads, take your sons. This is an all-out, balls-to-the-wall, righteous good vs. bloodthirsty evil movie.

I walked out of this flick ready to beat somebody’s ass.

fusionaddict on March 9, 2007 at 4:02 PM

I just saw got back from seeing it with my wife. We both loved it. Maybe the problem from the slate broad is the idea of men acting like men and fighting evil. I do think it funny to hear Spartans yelling about freedom, but then again, when I was enlisted in the Corps, I didn’t have a lot of individual freedom then either.

Any way, it was blood and violence from start to finish. Maybe I’m just a dumb red stater, unable to comprehend nuance, but I really enjoy good guys fighting and killing bad guys. How sad that Slate is unable to recognize evil, even in a movie.

hulbstar on March 9, 2007 at 4:16 PM

FABULOUS!!!!!!!

Just saw it with the Hubby in IMAX..HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT..Wonderful REAL manly men talking about “freedom isnt free” and “Honor and Duty” AND the Queen is GREAT!!!!
It is a visually arresting movie with a GREAT cast (love that Gerard Baker!!) and a TERRIFIC storyline! The affects are amazing and the story will hold you! RUN OUT AND SEE IT THIS WEEKEND!!

labwrs on March 9, 2007 at 4:25 PM

This flick has some pretty clever lines. Is it a comedy? Because it sure seemed like it judging by the clips he showed…

A bunch of the best lines, like “we’ll fight in the shade” are taken directly from Herotodus.

I just saw it as well, and it is magnificent. I’d say that everyone in our military should go see it, but they obviously already understand the ethos and principles exemplified in this movie. People like the Slate reviewer are the ones that could learn from it, but they never will.

Dudley Smith on March 9, 2007 at 4:27 PM

Just got back.

Excellent flick. Truly…I thought it was fantastic.

nailinmyeye on March 9, 2007 at 5:07 PM

A man’s film made by men.

It’ll gross twice what the 5 Oscar nominees brought in combined.

LOTR, Narnia, 300…

The left hates real heroes because the Left doesn’t “believe” in right&wrong.

DANEgerus on March 9, 2007 at 5:28 PM

I got 20 bucks that says this POS has already written her glowing review for the Joe Wilson(D) movie.

DANEgerus on March 9, 2007 at 5:30 PM

100% Grade A Rock N’ Roll, Dipped In Awesome Sauce!

The Apologist on March 9, 2007 at 4:12 AM

…With A Side Order Of Whoopass And A Tall Frosty Glass Of Awesome To Wash It Down With!

I saw it this afternoon, and all I can say is that anybody who believes that there are things in this world worth fighting and dying for should see this movie. No wonder liberals don’t like it.

ReubenJCogburn on March 9, 2007 at 8:43 PM

Too rich! Here’s a review by Box Office Mojo’s Scott Holleran, who loathed the film, but still have it a B+…

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/reviews/?id=2267&p=.htm

Best part:

The script is filled with words—tyranny, freedom, reason—that go completely unsupported and have no meaning. The Spartans, portrayed as snarling animals seeking hostility for its own sake, claim superiority over mysticism, but cartoonish mystics inflict real damage, thereby negating the power of reason over faith.

Faced with giants, monsters and Rodrigo Santoro as a transgendered God/king/queen in golden eye shadow, the doomed Spartans, who appear to shave their bodies, put up a helluva fight. But with a military philosophy—the Spartan king regrets that he has so few lives to sacrifice—resembling the Bush administration’s foreign policy, the mighty Spartans lack the mind to match the muscle.

If sacrifice is noble, why bother to fight—why not hurry up and die? And why—oh, never mind, this latest message of Doomsday nihilism, which sidesteps history, serves one purpose: to validate chronic fear.

fusionaddict on March 9, 2007 at 10:31 PM

Crypto-Nazi war porn vaguely reminiscent of being raped?

You must have had some interesting dates in your past.

bernieg1 on March 10, 2007 at 8:05 AM

She used the word fag in her review like it was a bad thing

where’s the out rage?

Oh my bad. She’s not a republican.

One Angry Christian on March 11, 2007 at 4:15 PM

Comment pages: 1 2