Monday, March 26, 2007

300: I have to laugh

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken time away from his busy schedule of crushing the infidels in order to provide some freelance film criticism about the recent box office hit 300. In a televised speech, Ahmadinejad accused the West of "trying to tamper with history by making a film and by making Iran's image look savage." He never mentioned the name of the film but it was clearly 300 which was also attacked last week by the Iranian Cultural Minister as "part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological warfare aimed against Iranian culture." Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

For a sound, reasonable approach to this film (of which there are few), see here:

Indeed, at the real battle, there weren't rhinoceroses or elephants in the Persian army. Their king, Xerxes, was bearded and sat on a throne high above the battle; he wasn't, as in the movie, bald and sexually ambiguous, and he didn't prance around the killing field. And neither the traitor Ephialtes nor the Spartan overseers, the Ephors, were grotesquely deformed. When the Greeks were surrounded on the battle's last day, there were 700 Thespians and another 400 Thebans who fought alongside the 300 Spartans under King Leonidas. But these non-Spartans are scarcely prominent in the movie.

Still, the main story line mostly conveys the message of Thermopylae.

A small contingent of Greeks at Thermopylae (which translates to "The Hot Gates") really did block the enormous Persian army for three days before being betrayed. The defenders claimed their fight was for the survival of a free people against subjugation by the Persian Empire.

and as a reminder, the movie is based on a comic book...

The warriors of "300" look like comic-book heroes because they are based on Frank Miller's drawings that emphasized bare torsos, futuristic swords and staged fight scenes. In other words, director Zack Snyder tells the story not in a realistic fashion - like the mostly failed attempts to recapture the ancient world in recent films such as "Troy" or "Alexander" - but in the surreal manner of a comic book or video game.

One would think with a faltering economy, sky-rocketing inflation, non-payments to Russia on its nuclear plant, fresh U.N. sanctions, high-level military defections, and now a crisis due to the capricious seizure of 15 British sailors - Iran has enough to worry about. I suppose insecurity knows no bounds.

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