Cheryl, in case you read this, this post is for you.
This film had been sitting on my desk in Netflix form since Feb. 8. I finally decided I would watch it…uh, Monday, I think? I don’t remember the date. It’s not important. What’s important is the amount of time that elapsed between Getting the Mail and Finishing the Film. Holy cats, that’s a lot of time. Another moment of truth: the amount of time it took me to watch the actual film. 5 days, that’s right. If I started it Monday, then I finished it a few hours ago. I watched in 30-minute increments. And I feel like, on the whole, my method of watching it sums up my blanket feeling about this thing: I can take it, but in small doses.
Before you sneak in your “That’s what she said” joke, let me just say this: I didn’t like this movie that much. In fact, I probably would not recommend it to people. But because I have the kind of friend to call and demand cinematic justification from (pardon the sentence structure), I started to see halfway through why some might deem this film “badass” or “epic” or whatever. Because that’s what it set out to do, and that’s ultimately what it did. A film, regardless of its subject matter, should get a nod for that.
It was also beautiful to watch. Not really the slow-mo blood-spilling, or the vomit-inducing number of piercings on Xerxes (KARL!!!!!! NOOOO!!!! Somehow Rodrigo Santoro went from embracing Laura Linney naked
to embracing Gerard Butler, basically naked
Not that I’m not a fan of homoeroticism, but come on. We all know that Karl was a dreamboat, and Xerxes completely wrecked the boat of dreams. I will forever picture Laura Linney mackin’ on a guy with more holes than a Hot Topic employee and more body paint than Tobias Fünke. Over and out.)
Sed digredior. It really was beautifully filmed. It was seriously like watching a movie on a tapestry, or something, so it had the aged look without feeling…fake. Okay, it was a little fake. The 300 hombres marched to rock music, á la “A Knight’s Tale.” I’m not a graphic-novel reader, which probably would have made me actually understand this film, but it certainly maintained whatever notion of graphic novels I have in my ignorant little head. The graininess made pitiful, non-sixpacked me feel like I was #301, no joke. I was, for a second, dining in hell.
But, the violence. Really? Like, I get it. They beat the shit out of each other. Nay, they sliced/diced/chopped/skewered the shit out of each other. The body count was enormous. And I do love me some violence. (“The Sopranos” is my favorite show. I’ve got a post in my queue about it. This is where you anticipate that post.) But this was too much. It may have been accurate to the graphic novel/Frank Miller’s crazy/genius noggin/history, but I didn’t want to see cutoff heads. That’s too unsettling for someone…with a head.
Regardless of historical accuracy, it really made me think about ancient Greek culture. I wonder if they really were that violent? I wonder if sex was really that…jolting? I wonder if every man insisted on outdoing the next in the facial hair department? I wonder if armies were really that brash? I could go on. The point is, it’s interesting because it’s a mystery, and it’s even more fun to try to capture it this way. All I can say is, I wish I could wear togas like that. They look comfortable.
My other complaints fall in the direction of the story. The narrator was essentially unnecessary. He was, don’t deny it. The whole thing was a big symbolic gesture, made explicit by the grandiose physicality and slow-motion. We’re not stupid. And speaking of stupid, I was disappointed that the enemies were not more foreboding. Seriously. The 300 were going to win all along because the enemies, despite their numbers, were going to deliberately not anticipate their very obvious spear-throwing. Only complete idiots would lose to a measly little army, and the Persians in that movie were really, really dumb. Sigh. I wish a movie would SURPRISE me already.
Oh, and even though Dominic West is a sick bastard in this flick, I still love ’em. Get ready for some major Wire-blogging.