Friday, August 31, 2007


Back in the Olden Days when I was a mere youth, there were plenty of what were called "sword and sandal" movies. Some were pretty good. Some weren't. One that really impressed me at the time was The 300 Spartans. It starred Richard Egan and it was about the same battle at Thermopylae. I was impressed with the story and the heroism of King Leonidas and his 300 men. It's remained a sentimental favorite of mine, so I was prepared not to care much for 300, the jazzy re-telling of the story based on Frank Miller's graphic novel.

Well, imagine my surprise at how much I liked this movie. I know I say all the time that movies look great. This one looks really great. Don't take my word for it. Watch the movie and see for yourself.

You already know the plot. King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans hold off tens of thousands of Persians and die bravely. If you don't like battle scenes, blood, and lots of talk about love, honor, courage, and duty, you might be put off. I think Robert B. Parker's Spenser would enjoy it, though.


  1. I liked it.

    Quite a lot of shouting, though.

  2. Yeah, but I kind of even liked the shouting.

  3. I could post comments all day about this movie. If it wasn't enough that 300 fine upstandiing members of the Western Civilization Community beat the crap out of a quarter of a million Persians of the Eastern Sith Community... then Frank Miller comes along to turn it into a visual spectre-ogrified visceral combustion of the paying customer's spinal column, such that when it's over you drag yourself out of the theater refreshiingly exhausted and wondering when Hollywood will simply turn the reins over to Miller and send all the billion goofballs now running Tinseltown to Legoland to retire. Sam Johnson said only an idiot writes for free so I'm gonna stop now before I have to go on a pablum and drool bucket diet.

  4. So you liked the movie?

  5. I've never seen The 300, but I'm old enough to remember the "sand and sandal" epics of the past. Also a fan.

  6. Some of them were pretty bad. I remember one sad one with Victor Mature and Orson Welles, The Tartars or something like that.

  7. I loved "300" almost as much as your comment that Robert B. Parker would enjoy it... and that's a lot!

  8. john mcauley10:01 PM

    I really wanted to like this because the old Richard Egan movie is one of my favorite 'B' flicks.

    But man, by the end of 300, I felt like I'd spent two hours watching a cheesy video game scrolling by.

    Bummer. [And yeah, I'm old enough to use that word :) ]
    John McAuley

  9. Todd Mason10:38 PM

    Cheesy, technically deft videogame. Men so free they grunt in absolute unison when prompted, "SPARTANS!" Men so pale that they are Scottish versus dark-complected Persians--as opposed to the vaguely beige everyone involved would be--standing tall and giving what-for (the obverse of the current objectors to the notion of Ancient Egyptians looking like their own paintings of themselves). Spartans making slurs against others for their homosexuality. Sorry, I'll read that again. Further suggestions throughout the film that homosexuality is what the black ski---um, hats do, when this is the most repressedly closeted film in its imagery since the last round of peplums or pepli (sword and sandal epics)...even the two examples of non-narcotized heterosexual intercourse have in the nice one a suggestion of and in the rapish one the bald implication of anal-genital activity, not inherently gay except perhaps in these beefy circumstances. And everyone knows that you can't trust odd-looking people...whether deformed or merely very tall and obviously hoping for a litte public backdoor action for the benefit of the troops.

    All of which rubbed me the wrong way bigtime, when I wanted to like the damned thing even if only for the ridiculous beasts and sedan chairs and because I like some of the cast so well from places like THE WIRE and IMAGINE ME AND YOU, and this is the second Frank Miller-related film in a row where I go in thinking I might like it as well as I do THE DARK KNIGHT and I come out humming the scenery, the technological aspects being really well-stylized and the shape of at least some things to come.