About a week ago I got a letter from a reader asking what I thought about the then upcoming 300 movie. I unabashedly told him that it would rock his balls. Rock them so hard in fact that his unborn kids’ balls would be rocked as well. I also informed him that my as-of-yet unconceived first born son, Sparta, was already complaining of rocked balls.
I had no idea just how right I truly was.
Firstly, just to set things straight, I doubt that this review will change your mind one way or another about Frank Miller’s 300. You’ve probably already seen the previews (or the movie itself by now) and have either thought “Oh my fucking Christ! This is the greatest gift to the gods’ green Earth that we’ve ever been blessed with!”, or you’ve already concluded “Ugh, that looks so effin’ gaaaaaay… A bunch of burly men with spears walking around fighting Arabs in ancient Greece with lots of blood and body parts flying. No thank yoooooou,” -- in which case you’re obviously a poofter, a woman, or a eunuch (in which case you’re much better off not seeing this most incredible feat of filmdom and instead should be at home, alone, cleaning out your vagina with whatever it is you ladies use to do such things. Please, don’t tell me).
Back to the movie and basic plot (Warning:: I always figured that historical spoilers are free of the 6-month rule [aka the Sixth Sense rule] -- meaning if it's been out for six months it's free to talk about the plot openly. Anything that's happened 2,500 years ago falls under this rule for me, and so I will be spoiling the shit out of this film). 300 is all about Spartan King Leonidas and his attempt to hold off the invading Persian King Xerxes’ forces long enough for the rest of the Greek city-states to rally the troops and stop the transgression once and for all. Yeah, in Miller’s version of the story it’s pretty much Leonidas and his troops alone and against the wishes of the rest of the country, but poetic license like that is easily forgiven when it makes the Spartan King look cooler than even history paints him. So Leonidas and 300 of his older warriors (those who had sons who themselves were old enough to take over their fathers’ roles in Sparta) marched to the pass of Thermopylae, met up with a few hundred other Greek soldiers willing to throw their lives away in order to allow the rest of the country enough time to band together, and set up a wall of burly, rugged, ass-kicking warriors in order to repel Xerxes’ army of hundreds of thousands (to possibly millions) for as long as they could. These men went through absolute Hades, but they held the line for 3 fucking days, only falling when a putz by the name of Ephialtes betrayed his countrymen for promises of wealth and women by Xerxes himself. Ephialtes led the invading armies up and through a mountain path that allowed them to flank Leonidas and undo all of his careful planning (but the 'hole thankfully never even got his reward and had to flee Greece after all was said and done… that goddamn satyr-fucker).
300 is a good mix (and by good mix I don’t just mean that it was an amalgam of, but a mix of the best parts of) Braveheart, Sin City, and Gladiator. It’s as stylistic as anything seen in Sin City, and actually 3 to 4 times more violent than the bloodiest scenes in Braveheart. That, perhaps, is the greatest part of this film – its ultra-violence. 300's got heart too though. You care just a little too much for these brave men and you really feel it when one of them falls and when their final plans are all undone (take your pick from any of the three previously mentioned movies from which to match this thought to), but the violence! Even when it happens to a Spartan soldier you are still amazed by the in-your-faceness of it all!
Most movies nowadays try to ignore violence, or they show giant battlefields as bloodless campaigns from a distance, where the combatants are basically just a mob of lame, repetitive sword movements. 300 calls those movies pussies, pees on them, and then places its own brutality front and center with no apologies. Oh, and it throws in some female tits for good measure, but that's neither here nor there. The fights themselves (besides the jubblies) are also something to behold. The battles aren’t just a series of shitty fast cuts where-in you’ll see a sword slash, a man’s face grimace, some blood hit the ground, and then a man collapse… Fuck and no. In 300 you see full charges that last minutes and are choreographed so beautifully in order to show you the full extent of Spartan soldiers’ training. They don’t just “hack and slash,” they block with a shield, swing a roundhouse sword blow, then kick or shield-shove the already dead (but still standing) foe out of the way in order to fucking kill the next in line. It is a beautiful, well-oiled machine of ball-stomping manliness. And you’re in the front row to see the limbs and heads fly and the crimson splatter over everything like pumpkin innards on your asshole neighbor's porch after a well-played Halloween prank.
There is absolutely nothing that I did not like about 300. The characters, the direction, the visuals… all beautiful. I heard one complaint from some (mongo) chick as she clutched her boyfriend’s arm as they left the theater after the credits began rolling – she basically had a problem with some of the mutant-looking fucks and the exaggerated sizes of the rhinos and elephants in Xerxes army. Apparently she missed the ENTIRE FUCKING POINT of the flick: everything that we’re watching is basically part of the campfire story that Spartan soldier Dilios (a survivor of Thermopylea) is telling to the troops right before the Battle of Plataea, a year after Leonidas’ final stand. It’s all about rallying the men before they ultimately smashed the remainder of Xerxes’ forces! It’s a Spartan propaganda film! Of fucking COURSE parts are going to be exaggerated (but surprisingly enough, a good portion of the tactics, waves of the Persian troops, and the ending are all historically accurate)! And why the fuck did that moron bring a date to this movie in the first place? I highly doubt he was getting any poon that night.
I find it quite interesting how people of your time, dear reader, alter history for your own entertainment. You take an historical event and then you add more soldiers, more arrows, more blood and guts as it were... The people of my time don't even watch "historical documentaries" anymore (even when we travel back to the actual events as they occurred and film them while wearing cloak-belts with 3D multi-cameras) due to the fact that authentic history is actually very, very boring. Very boring.
Take for instance this movie, 300, about the Battle of Thermopylae... This 2007 telling shows 300 Spartans and hundreds of other Greek soldiers fighting MILLIONS of King Xerxes Persians on a narrow road on a cliff. In actuality, this battle took place between one Greek shepherd and one drunk Spartan soldier against 7 lost and confused, drunk Persian women. Oh, and a small boy of whom the Spartan originally raped and started this whole mess in the first place.
Needless to say, the scratching, puking and sandal throwing was a far cry from what author Miller wrote some 2,500 years after the fact. And what those angry Persian whores did to that goat.... well, that's a tale for another day.
You have got to be shitting me... How the fuck could anybody with any real sense find this movie entertaining in the least?! There was so much goddamn testosterone in this flick that I think I started growing a beard an hour into it! (Note From the Rossman: Nah, Angry Amy had that beard for years now.)
All it was was wall to wall blood and swords, manly macho speeches, and then more blood and beheadings and stabbings and shit! Ugh! Every line spoken by every Spartan soldier was a sound byte meant for a T-shirt or the trailer. Seriously, did everybody back then talk like that? And did the Spartans do nothing but sit-ups all day? Yeah, it was nice to look at, but come on, people!
Oh, and I like how they took the only solid female character in the thing (well, the only female character in the whole damn thing besides that stoned nymphet on the mountain top) and had her offer her body to that asshole senator guy. No wonder it took women 2,000 more years to even get a say in any government! They were all tarts!