That being said, it feels almost cheap and dirty to bring Dubya-era politics into a movie as empty-headed as 300. Sure, it cloaks itself in so many swinging-dick pretensions that you half-expect the President to pop up in the corner, helmet and spear in tow, flashing a double thumbs up. But in all honesty, this is a movie about shoving sharp things into squishy targets. And about the traveling freakshow that was apparently the
The entire characterization of the Persians is just one big puzzle. I like that director Zack Snyder had the surrealistic verve to portray Xerxes as a literal giant of a man. I wasn't so sure, however, why he had to paint Rodrigo Santoro up as one wig short of full-on drag queen to make his point that Xerxes was the enemy. In a movie as dumb as 300, you don't need much justification as to why we're cheering against the Bad Guys. They're the Bad Guys! Cheering against them is what we do. So I'm not sure why we needed the reminders that the Persians were decadent (they wore lip-liner! Their women were lesbians!) or craven (all Xerxes wants is you to kneel before him, wink-wink). I'd lump it in with the depressing tendency on HBO's
I did say, way back at the beginning, that this was a fun movie, and I should stand by that. Rarely have I had a better time being told to act like a man and not a pussy-ass Arcadian. (And seriously, what the hell did the Arcadians ever do to deserve such scorn? They might as well be wearing
Sure, Snyder's film -- and no doubt the Frank Miller graphic novel upon which it was based -- seems to be slathering itself in the sweat and blood and guts of men who aren't too nancy to just die for their country already. But it's as much about a call to support the troops as it is a two hour advertisement for the fine craftsmanship of Spartan shields. Seriously, those things were fuckin' strong! Stop thinking so much!