I saw 300 yesterday. Is it historically inaccurate? Yes. Does it illogically put modern notions of freedom and democracy into the mouths of the Spartans? Yes. Does it look like a montage from Braveheart, Gladiator and Lord of the Rings? Yes. Does any of that really matter? No, ‘cos it’s just a damn good heroic action movie in its own right.

Everyone seems to want to read some sort of modern political message into this film. As the heroic Spartans are shown both supporting “modern western” values against an eastern religious tyranny and as supporting native defenders against overwhelming foreign invaders, it is hence seen as both supporting the US against Islamic fundamentalism, and as supporting the Iraqi insurgents against the US occupation. Considering these contradictory interpretations it seems that if the makes intended it as a comment on the war against terror/war in Iraq then they didn’t do a very good job of getting their message across.

Screw all that, this is a movie about violence, heroism and warriors. It’s visually stunning and full of blood and guts and thrills. The first battle scene, with the two forces pushing and shoving, shield-to-shield, stabbing and slashing, is one of the best depictions of pre-gunpowder warfare that I’ve ever seen. After that things stray into heroic fantasy territory, rather like a big budget Xena with lots (really, lots) of blood splatter.

Not going to be everyone’s taste, but if you like this sort of thing, you’ll probably love this one.

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