The number “300” must stand for the number of reasons why this movie should be skipped; and that’s not counting the roughly 300,000 ways that this was historically inaccurate.
A good film includes amazing acting, a great story, compelling plot, dynamic character development, and if you’re lucky, some amazing visuals captured by the well trained eye of an artful director and maybe a little Hollywood magic to spruce it up a bit. 300 brings nothing to the table except for the latter.
The plot, which shouldn’t have been so hard to develop since the Battle of Thermopylae is among the greatest tales in western culture, is all but nonexistent. The story revolves around an unconvincing Leonidas, king of comic book Sparta. He and his band of 300 underdressed soldiers fight an army of 300,000 Persians to a standstill before meeting their ends.
For an epic based on an important historical event in Western culture, 300 contains almost no history, and mis-portrays the Persians, the Spartans, the allied Greeks, their religion, and the characters as well.
300 is exactly as historically accurate as a documentary based on the American Revolution that features a George Washington who un-relentlessly slaughters British children while leading the colonial forces to victory against King George’s forces and a legion of orcs with absolutely no assistance from Prussia, France, or anyone else for that matter.
Sure, Hollywood has always put a unique spin on history in moves: JFK, Spartacus, Gods and Generals, et cetera, but at least those who produced those moves lent some intellectual entertainment to history, not this farce that is 300.
The common response to all of this is, “Well, 300 is based off a comic book.”
This is true. 300 is the movie adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300 graphic novel – a five book series based off of the Battle of Thermopylae. However, not even in the comic book where the Persians portrayed as monsters that are so evil that their flesh is actually deformed. Apparently that was the brainchild of screenplay writer and director Zach Snyder.
Hollywood should exhibit some moral responsibility when portraying the heroes of generations of people on the big screen. Greeks are up in arms because their history and national heroes have been transformed into the muses of American teenagers lustful for blood and carnage, while their ancestral religion has been made into a cult of perverted, corruptible lepers who molest teenage girls.
On the other hand, Persian descendants are up in arms about their ancestors being portrayed as demonic lesbians, hellish giants, and as a people who despised freedom and whose vernacular were absent the concepts of freedom, peace, civility and justice.
It’s not difficult to detect racist overtones in the film as the dark skinned Persians who inhabit the Middle East are portrayed as such evil creatures, while the fair skinned Greeks fane to fight for freedom. In addition, nearly every bad guy in the movie with a line save Xerxes himself is black and not Persian.
Proponents of 300 will tell you that’s because the Persians were unprovoked greedy conquerors. In reality, Sparta’s allies, the Athenians, aided enemies of the Persia at Ionia, and unleashed devastating attacks that would be considered “terrorism” in this day and age.
Thrill seekers looking for a good ride will probably be bored more than half way through. Those looking for an epic movie going experience: look elsewhere.
Overall rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.