I saw the trailers for this film yesterday and it really does appear interesting to me.I ran the search to see if this had been presented aready and I found 2 previous efforts: "300" is Not About Iraq, Iran or George Bush and Movie Review: The 300 (No Spoilers)
I have elected to add my own, to acknowledge salient points made in the previous 2 and to present my own perspectives as well as add the howl of protest from Iran.
Tehran has come out complaining that the film is a propaganda hatchet job for spurring anti-Iranian sentiment in the West.
"300" is based on verifiable history: The Persians did indeed attempt to attack Sparta and a handful of elite soldiers did hod back a massive hoard of well-prepared Persian empire troops.
After seeing the trailers yesterday I was hit hard with the impression that "somethin' ain't right" with it.
My gut told me that this story, which is about the highest valour a person and soldier can achieve - the knowing sacrifice of self for family and country. My guess was this was going to become a comparison point for our troops.
But yesterday morning I saw that Tehran had complained and, unfortunately, I must wholeheartedly agree with them: Anti-iranian propaganda is exactly what "300" is.
Tehran- Iran on Monday strongly condemned the US film company Warner Bros. over the allegedly "anti-Iranian" blockbuster film 300.
Javad Shamqadri, art advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told Fars news agency that the film was an insult to Persian culture and in line with the American "psychological war" against Iran.
I have to completely agree with the guy. Hollywood always helps the military degrade the humanity of the next denigrated target group. In the 1990's it was the Arab, now it's the Muslim and the Iranian.
Iran's has called foul over what it calls "deviation of history" but also because the Persians in the film were shown as "ugly and violent creatures rather than human beings." In
In Faces of the Enemy one learns in detail how wartime propaganda seeks to turn "the enemy" from being percieved as "real human beings" to a less than animal status, basically so soldiers and "our side" won't hesitate to kill the enemy.
basic message is that before ordinary humans will kill or support killing in their name, they must believe that an enemy has shown himself to be less than human, a bestial being no longer worthy of life; and that "we" (whatever group we happens to be) are pure, just, strong and resolute. War propaganda from all nations and groups fosters these beliefs. One need only examine the horrific events of September 11, 2001, and the media, government and public responses on all sides, to see that his insights are as timely today as when he penned them. The 2003 war against Iraq provides further evidence.
Hesiod (diary linked above) thinks the propaganda angle is way offbase:
The criticism of the movie, however, is ludicrous. It pretty faithfully tracks the dialogue and plot of Miller's graphic novel, which was published in 1998! One clue that, for certain, it is not intended to be an anti-Bush movie is that noted Neocon Victor Davis Hanson is an historical consultant for the project.
Nor does that mean, incidentally, that it is a pro-Bush movie either. [Read Victor Davis Hanson's essay about "300" to judge for yourself].
There is no way that it intentionally or implicltly supports Bush or opposes Bush. It is depicting an historic event of antiquity, in a highly stylized, mythologized manner.
LithiumCola's perspective (linked above) echoes my perspective: it's shameless war propaganda:
The 300 is so blatantly an allegory for the right-wing fantasy called "The War on Terror", one has to wonder if the movie is really an attempt at Republican propoganda, or is, instead, a left-wing parody.
George Bush King Leonidas, in an attempt to defend entities he refers to as "freedom" and "democracy", breaks his nations laws, ignores "Sparta's" parliament, and takes his country to war against Iran "Perisa": an enemy which, the movie assures us, vastly outnumbers The United States "Sparta", is all-powerful, intent on global domination, worships a "false god", believes in "mysticism" and "magic", and is manned by troops all either grossly deformed or at least Black and Gay.
Now, really. I'm all for avoiding over-clever nuance, but this is a bit blunt. Persia?
The war-glorification of this film leaped at me just from a couple trailers. I had also heard the film being hyped by one of the local Clearchannel station DJ's (Project 961 - ugh) and this only added to the sense that this film is intended to "romanticize" anti-Iranian sentiment as well as the "noble warrior" meme.
So I am calling 300 Official War Propaganda, despite my desire to go see it. I am impervious to the propaganda because I already see it as propaganda. (Another reason fascists hate dissent: they rely on the unthinking sonambulance of the masses.)
I read up on the history of it last night and it does have some - some - redeeming value, as a movie version of a graphic novel which, for the moment, I am not going to view as being wartime propaganda in and of itself: we will agree with Hesiod on this point.
If you have seen the film, let us know what you think!