Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I’m Prepared For Glory!

Saw 300 yesterday. If you’ve ever seen that TV ad for the Marines where the guy is fighting that big CGI monster with a flaming sword, it’s basically like the feature length version of that ad. It’s all about the glory of being a soldier, and of dying a soldier.

Before I saw 300, my opinion of growing tensions with Iran was that it’s a cause for concern; that our military is being stretched thin and it’s a delicate situation that calls for diplomacy. But now I want enlist to be on the front line, to fight them with a sword and shield wearing nothing but a Speedo. That’s because, even though the movie takes place a long time ago, back when wives said “Come back with your shield, or on it,” to their husbands, and rhinos and elephants were apparently ten times their current size, the film is actually a subtle allegory to our current situation. The Americans are represented in the story by the Spartans, a tough-as-nails, balls-out people fighting for freedom from tyranny. Meanwhile, the Iranians are “Persians.” But the parallels are clear if you look hard. It’s a simple David and Goliath story: the small colony of Spartans against a world superpower going around invading other countries, led by a leader who believes he has divine powers. (Now I forget who the Americans are. Oh, yeah, the Spartans.)

300 does well to dispense with the character development and story arcs that bog down other wartime flicks, like Rambo: First Blood Part II. The king has a Scottish accent, because that’s the best kind of accent to have when you walk back and forth shouting at the front line of an army in a Hollywood movie. By the way, when the king shouts “Prepare for glory!” in the movie, he’s actually referring to the Spartan belief that the only true, great way to die is during battle. It’s a good thing he puts it that way, because “Prepare To Die In Battle!” wouldn’t be a very good tagline for a movie.

6 Knee-jerk Reactions:

Blogger Scott said...

I'm rather inclined to think that the Spartans are representing Spartans, and the Persians, Persians. :)

9:59 PM  
Blogger Francis said...

Okay - but if it's just about the Battle of Thermopylae, then why do I want to go fight Iran in a Speedo?

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, last time I looked, you'd equate giant rhino's and elephants with American tanks and weaponry. That would make the Spartans the "freedom fighters" as they call themselves in Iraq.

And now you know why they're still trying to blow up Americans with car bombs. Quite literally, some of them believe they go to heaven and honor when they die.

And die they do, eventually, under the US power.

I'm not for them. Or the US, necessarily. Just pointing out that feeling you have is almost exactly why Iraq hasn't been "won".

1:43 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

You want to go to Iran in a Speedo because you See what the Soldier of the US Feels in that movie. And whoever the Anonymous person is: If it were up to the Iranians, they'd be fighting on our streets and then we'd be the Spartans. BUT just like the spartans did in the movie, we chose the battle ground. Not them.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen the youtube trailer for "300- the PG version"?

6:47 PM  
Blogger Francis said...

Just watched it. Funny stuff. Thanks for posting on it.

Also, last week's "South Park" episode was a hilarious parody of the movie, with the local lesbian bar - Lesbos - being taken over by Persian nightclub owners. At one point someone offers to make coffee, and there's a slow motion montage of coffee-making with a loud heavy metal soundtrack.

7:20 PM  

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