I had such high expectations for this movie since it came out of Frank Miller’s work and featured good British actors.
And of course, 2 hours of watching sweaty hunky men in ancient speedos aren’t that bad. Check out the beefcakes:
But boy was I shocked by the movie – at its thinly disguised homophobia and racism, weren’t there lawyers who looked at the movie before distribution?
For those who have not been assaulted by the 300 marketing machine (and ironically gay bloggers really went all out to promote the movie based on the early previews of, yes, sweaty hunky men in ancient speedos. Sigh, gay men can be so easily tricked by men flesh…), the movie is about the battle of Thermpylae where heroic King Leonidas led 300 Spartans to fight off the invaders from Persia. So it’s a (thump thump breast plate) movie of immense courage, brotherhood and sacrifice, where men become the heroes that they really are by standing up for their families, their homeland and freedom.
Or at least that’s what director Zack Snyder wants you to believe after the 104th time of scripting “defending democracy” diatribes into the dull and insipid dialogue. (the same scriptwriter probably came up with the brilliant “Axis of Evil” war monger slogan for Bush)
Sure, the movie had many problems: unbearably lowbrow and derivative direction(he did direct the remake of “Dawn of the Dead”), the dialogue stiff and unnnaturally modern but what really amazed me was the movie’s blatant homophobia and racism.
The first omen was King Leonidas’ (Gerald Bultler, even your posh British accent can’t save such drivel) snide remark about Athenians being “boy lovers”, hence losing their ability to fend off the Persians (ignoring the fact that Spartan men were just as into buggery as Athenians). Then we get to see the Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) dressed up as Persian RuPaul complete with gold makeup and S & M getup trying to convince Leonidas to submit to him by coming on to him.
When Leonidas rejects his advances, he throws a hissy fit in a truly divalicious manner that puts drag queens to shame.
And the racism, gosh. No wonder Iran’s president got upset with the depiction of Persians (modern day Iran) in the movie.
All the Persians in the movie were either strange looking Africans or Middle Eastern monsters right out of horror movies torturing their slaves (again, not mentioning that Greek society were comprised of a large class of slaves) and creating more monsters with three heads, crab hands etc etc. All the non-white actors were portrayed as crazy mystics, diseased fear mongers or simply incomprehensible monsters without the “science and rationality” of the modern greeks, aka the white man. And of course you get homophobia and racism combined in the Persian king… or queen really.
It’s such a shame that in an age where countries are war over ancient prejudices of xenophobia that such a movie would want to propagate such frat boy mentality. Sure, it’s a movie but cultural products shape attitudes and beliefs, there’s no doubt about that. I’m in marketing, my job is to create sales based on words and images, I know what power media wields.
Sham, shame, shame. Even more shame when the audience laps it up, making it the biggest movie this season.