300, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, which was inspired by Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield, tells the tale of Leonidas, King of Sparta, who led 300 Spartan soldiers against the hitherto undefeated Persian army. At great cost the Persians won the battle, but ultimately lost the war, creating a turning point in world history. The movie has received mixed reviews both from people who wish to dismiss it as a video game brought to life and those who would like to wrest from it a modern political allegory.
Blah, blah, history, politics, blah! This movie kicks ass! It is entertainment of the highest order. By the time the first battle scene started, I was grinning ear to ear. I have not been as genuinely and joyfully entertained by an action flick since they shot up the marble lobby in The Matrix. When the movie ended, it is only because I am a grown mature adult that I did not bounce up and down in my chair and cry "Again! Again!"
“So how do you explain all the crappy reviews?” my brother asked me, based on my breathless adulation of the film. “I really have no idea,” was the best I could come up with.
The number of sources who are trying hard to drag modern politics into the film of a 2500-year-old battle is growing. When it was screened at the Berlin Film Festival, the Germans booed the film and walked out. The New York Times and Newsweek have both come out decrying the racist and politically insensitive subject matter. Now the President of Iran has joined in, declaring the film an American act of war on Iranian culture.
Since 18 of the top 25 grossing films in Germany last year were from the Beast known as Hollywood, it’s hard to take German disdain seriously. Maybe they were late for a Leni Riefenstahl retrospective. As for the President of Iran, taking him seriously presumes that he is actually speaking to us. He’s not talking to us. He’s talking to the same group of people they got to riot over drawings of Mohammed in a Norwegian newspaper six months after they were originally published. They never saw those drawings. They’re never going to see 300. I doubt Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has seen it.