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Klavan On The Culture

300 Sequel: The Bush-Era Thrill Is Gone

March 19th, 2014 - 8:10 am

300-Rise-of-an-Empire-Artemisia

I think 300 is easily one of the best movies of the last twenty years, the only movie I’ve seen twice in a week since Hitchcock died, a film that will be re-watched and remembered long after most if not all of the prestige art films of our day are forgotten.

The tale of the Spartan battle against the Persians at Thermopylae was released in 2006, when Hollywood, entering its most shameful days, was beginning to churn out despicable anti-war on terror and anti-military propaganda even while American sons were actually on the battlefield in harm’s way. 300 was instead a stirring W-style call to defend the age-old values of the west against an oppressive and ignorant foreign invader.

But what made the film special — even brilliant — was the wild, confident imagination it brought to the screen from Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Though the story stayed very faithful to the history in Herodotus, it introduced fantastical beasts, over-the-top video game violence, outsized characters and even bulked-up muscle suits to give the story a larger-than-life feel. It was as if the movie was saying to the Islamic-fascists who had attacked us: “You think we’re decadent because we sit around and play video games? Let us show you the sort of western courage that inspired those games, Islamo-schmuck!”

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There are no oversized figures in this movie, because it features Athenians, not Spartans. Leonides made this point in 300 when he asked the professions of other Greeks marching to Thermopolye. Sculptors, masons, blacksmiths. Sparta brought warriors.

In a way, this movie demonstrates an even greater threat to Islamo Schmucks. It might be expected for the Spartans to stand up and kick their butts, but if you get your butts kicked by farmers and tradesmen fighting for their freedom, that is even more significant.

Marines are a force to be reckoned with, but there were no Marines on 9/11 Flight 93. Even so, Todd Beamer called, "Let's Roll".
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Liberals in SF and comic fandom viscerally hate Frank Miller as an Islamophobic racist; far worse than Bush. SF author David Brin did an epic takedown of the original Miller film based on historic inaccuracies, abileisms and racism. Brin was one of the leaders of PC SF back in the mid-'80s with his sentient dophins and monkeys.

Lambasting a film for inaccuracy is weird considering it was adapted from a comic book.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
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I saw the movie last weekend.

It was horrid. I wanted to leave the theater.

Like you, Andrew, I thought 300 was one of the greatest movies made in the last 20 years. It was tightly written. Heroic. Had reasonable connection to history - there were a few liberties taken with the known facts but they were digestible. There were no wasted scenes in the movie. The action covered a few days (3 for the battle and some run-up). The acting was fine.

Rise of Empire was wordy. Endless speeches by everyone. You were told not shown. It covered 10 years. The liberties taken with history were NOT digestible - Themistocles did not shoot Darius with an arrow at Marathon! That was ridiculous.

The writers of Rise made the all-too-common error of taking things that worked in the first movie and over-did them in the second. The amount of gore was a good example. In 300, there was some gore but it wasn't overdone. In Rise, it was a central character in the story, it seemed. Far too much time on screen. In 300 there are a couple of rousing speeches - in Rise the whole movie was an endless parade of boring speeches.

I realize that the Spartans (from Laconia) were, well......laconic. But man, in Rise I was wishing everyone would just.....shut....up. And the trite things they said straight out of the 1950's! Attempts at stirring speeches everywhere which were neither stirring nor needed. In 300, volumes were said with this one line:

"Immortals......we'll put their name to the test."

I could just barely stomach the use of Ephialtes to give the bad intel to the Persians, but like Andrew, I could NOT handle the treatment of the Battle of Salamis. It didn't start with a half-dozen Greek ships making a Kamikaze run at hundreds of Persian ships. It was the Marathon and Thermopylae tactic taken to victory. And Sparta was not a major naval power. Sparta was there but the real Spartan contribution to final victory over the Persians was at Plataea.

I rarely run across movies that are so bad that I want to leave the theater. Rise of Empire was one of them. Possibly because I had so much hope for it, and was hugely disappointed.

31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I didn't fully support the movie's acclaim because they made Leonidas' wife into a prostitute for Hollywood profit.

There's a big difference between illusion and real space. Gates of Fire is more ideologically pure.

As for Brin, check out the dirt that we still got on him here, from before the 08 elections.

davidbrin.blogspot.com/2008/09/under-appreciated-issues-that-nobody.html

Since the so called "sci fi writers" like time travel, how's that for a bit of time travel?

Now that's one jihadist for B Hussein O. A cultist. A religious fanatic. The mask came off cause he thought he was in his own fortress of ideological commenters and supporters. Well, Hussein's mask came off soon, for the 68% of the retarded human community: Leftist cannonfodder in all but name.

Brin, like Scalzi, are busy raking in the profit, while ensuring that nobody else, including writers, will be able to do the same thing given the government monopoly on wealth and success.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
well, this one had the man and two boys in my life going to see it. Then they came home, looked up the real history, found real books and started reading everything they could get their hands on. They researched it on Wikipedia.

They read a chapter of Savior Generals that was on the nook. It had been for sale in January. It had been on the nook for months. And- I wouldn't have bought it, except for being on sale.

So, in my house at least, it worked gangbusters.

They are also hunting out parody videos and sharing them. Anything that has people playing together happily is good.

And, hey, any other filmmaker that wants to make a big movie with cool many stuff in it, even over the top--they've got an audience.

32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why was this republished without the earlier comments? PJM seems to do this on a regular basis, but I'm not understanding the reasoning. I showed the first post to my daughter and we reviewed the errors in the photo. I went to show it to my husband, and found that my comment had been left in the "Lifestyle ghetto".
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would like to remind PJM scribblers that Aeschylus donned armor, picked up his sword and actually fought in the Battle of Salamis. Judging by his example, perhaps there is a time to lay down the pen and actually do something....to act upon what you profess.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are no oversized figures in this movie, because it features Athenians, not Spartans. Leonides made this point in 300 when he asked the professions of other Greeks marching to Thermopolye. Sculptors, masons, blacksmiths. Sparta brought warriors.

In a way, this movie demonstrates an even greater threat to Islamo Schmucks. It might be expected for the Spartans to stand up and kick their butts, but if you get your butts kicked by farmers and tradesmen fighting for their freedom, that is even more significant.

Marines are a force to be reckoned with, but there were no Marines on 9/11 Flight 93. Even so, Todd Beamer called, "Let's Roll".
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very true, Brent. But that's why I objected to the film's plot. The real battle of Salamis was a masterpiece of Athenian strategy. (see the excellent book by my friend Barry Strauss) - but in the film, Themistocles essentially says, "Enough strategy! Let's have at em!" You & I got the point of the battle — the filmmakers didn't.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Athenians exiled Themistocles after they were done using him.

Sounds very familiar to modern day American life.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought it was pretty good. Eva Green is HOT!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not surprised to hear that this sequel doesn't live up to the original. Even if politics is left out of it that was a tough act to follow.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Themistocles was, after all, an Athenian, and they were noted for guile, not bravado.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Liberals in SF and comic fandom viscerally hate Frank Miller as an Islamophobic racist; far worse than Bush. SF author David Brin did an epic takedown of the original Miller film based on historic inaccuracies, abileisms and racism. Brin was one of the leaders of PC SF back in the mid-'80s with his sentient dophins and monkeys.

Lambasting a film for inaccuracy is weird considering it was adapted from a comic book.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
It never occurred to me that sentient dolphins and chimps were PC. Those books of Brin's are brilliant, and in no way at odds with the best features of 300. If Brin didn't like the film and has gone PC out in the real world, then maybe he should shut up and write.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
That actually didn't bug me all that much about the books. What bugged me is that he sets up this thing where an ancient alien fleet of ships is discovered and then precedes to not actually have it in the book. I didn't see anything "brilliant" about them. They bored me.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
And we must remember, as with most 'historical' films or films made from other sources, the movie scenario is only 'based on an actual event' or 'inspired by a true story' or 'suggested by a work of Frank Miller.'

Think of all the films in the past few years that have made a mockery of historical fact by turning a respectable work into historical fiction - and getting praise for being 'bold, decisive, original' and for 'speaking truth to power' - whatever that's supposed to mean.

I don't go to movies to be educated or enlightened - they are make-believe worlds - some good, some bad. I go to be entertained and to forget, for a couple of hours, this mish-mash of a world I live in.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
True: I don't go to films to be educated in history or believe films somehow censor history. If anything, a film like 300 will stimulate an interest in the historic events. One can enjoy both - they are not mutually exclusive. The film Bonnie and Clyde didn't somehow cancel out the real Bonnie and Clyde like a frickin' cowbird or Invasion of the Body Snatchers or something.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm acquainted with several published SF authors, and they uniformly consider Brin to be a royal pain in the arse. People like him have also apparently turned the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) into something akin to a Faculty Lounge in the Gender Studies department; either their way or the highway.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The SFWA is now nothing more than a feminist QUILTBAG intersectional (race) advocacy group and it's Nebula Awards an affirmative action initiative for same. There is no principled competence or vision within that organization let alone something like literary merit. The transition in less than 10 years has been as stunning as the drop off in writing talent. Reading the childish pre-teeninsh Twitter streams of some of the authors is as ironically close to "The Marching Morons" as you'll come. If I didn't know better, I'd swear they cheer Ingsoc in Orwell's "1984" and they are every bit the book burners as the "firemen" in Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451." Greatest of all, they think the exact opposite. Translation: no solution.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
In my own writing almost none of the main characters are physically white; but they are Western European in outlook and philosophy and culture. It strikes me as funny how they claim to care so much about skin color until somebody with a supposedly admirable complexion says or does something that doesn't fit their prejudices--and then out come the knives! In my own case PC had nothing to do with it. When I was originally building my world I created the early human races mainly thinking about what would be interesting and unusual. Then I mixed em together in all sorts of weird ways. Don't expect to get any credit from the SFWA for it though. They'd see the lack of disdain for commerce and the hate would rear its head at once.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know an SF novelist who wrote a book purposefully as a bait and switch. He had a few passages purposefully not PC so they'd think "racist." There are no white people in the book, though it takes place on Earth. The PC will default it to "white" cuz they're self-righteous preaching morons who fall into their own tiger traps.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heinlein's "Farnham's Freehold" was pretty explicit.

Oh, hey...I think I've just figured out my gifts to my Liberal friends, next Christmas...
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your comments and Fail Burton's are really interesting. When a person is seeking escapism or inspiration in a sci-fi novel, where is the law that says it has to be hard science function? That is about as nutty as saying all fantasy novels must be low fantasy and cannot be high fantasy.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
And the new analogy to that is that the new PC in SF now say SF novels must reflect real-world diversity or they're not "real." Hahahaha.

A once Nebula-nominated author wrote about the new film Noah: "I find the whole thing deeply offensive, with its white cast" Comments like that are as common as dirt, and they went nuts when Khan was a white guy in the last Star Trek movie. Black Human Torch in the new Fantastic Four film: no problem.

I think you can stick a fork in that crew. Don't expect them to ever say the National Basketball Association is offensive. What weirdos.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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