Yesterday I watched 300 (IMDb|FilmAffinity), the movie about the famous Spartan last stand against the Persian army of Xerxes in the Thermopylae.

The movie brings mixed feelings to me, as mixed have been its reviews. First and foremost: the movie is visually astounding. It is really well done in this respect, with all the special effects carefully polished, and a brilliant use of the camera at all times. They even use slow motion in some scenes, not very different from some Matrix scenes, and the effect is great.

Now, when we pass from visual to conceptual… the thing crumbles down. I can understand that most of the verisimilitude has been sacrificed in the altar of epic, glory and visual appeal, but some things where just too much. The Persians are depicted as brutal, bloodthirsty and even physically monster-like, whereas Spartans (narrow-minded warmongers, with a nazi view of discipline) are portrayed as the defenders of the modern civilization, in the face of the Asian mysticism and ignorance. Well, maybe Greece was an example of modernity and democracy, but it was Athens, not Sparta, the motor of that movement. To top it all, Xerxes is depicted as a 2.5m-tall androgynous circus freak, for no reason I can gather.

Anyway, if what you expect of this movie is a frenetic show, with a lot of action and great photography, you won’t be disappointed.

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