300: nice use of color

October 13th, 2007

It's based on a comic book, which in turn is based on a legend, right? One can image therefore it's targeted at fans of the comic. Well, there isn't much of a story involved, I supposed the attention span of the audience is estimated pretty low. I suspect a Pink Pather audience would already find the uni-dimensionality of this production disconcerting.

It's basically just a long action sequence. And the action is pretty artsy as they come, it's not meant to be realistic or anything like that, so the physical realities are comfortably ignored. They're fighting off all kinds of attacks, swinging their shields so fiercely that every impact with an enemy is like the collision between a semi trailer and a bicycle. They also use this Matrix-like technique where the action slows down and the Persian soldier is moving in slow motion, while the Spartan navigates the space/time continuum so he can swing his sword in real time during a slow motion sequence. No wonder they were so hard to defeat.

Of course, that being the case, the obvious question is why didn't the Persians just drop some rocks on them? Where were their catapults? Would have trampled the Spartans easily without much effort.

Xerxes called himself a god (there's actually some substance to that claim, there is an xml library in his name, meanwhile Leonidis has no such legacy), but the Spartans were actually more like gods. For starters, they never wore anything over their underwear. I suppose the Greek climate is nice and comfy, but even so you would expect some manner of unkind weather. Then they never ate or slept, and could fight 24/7. And they had no logistics, no supplies of weapons, soldiers, or provisions. Obviously they were no gods, though, no god would be stupid enough to reject the offer to become warlord of all Greece and avoid certain death.

But there are many other curiosities. For instance, why did the Persians make their landing in a place where the Spartans found their ideal strategic position? X marks the spot, right? So the most convenient landing would probably the red arrow. And suppose from that point the only road to Sparta leads through that narrow canyon the Spartans enjoy so much. Well we already saw how the Persians have a gazillion ships, so how about trying some other approaches? I suggest the green arrows, those put you at a proximity to Sparta.

The ending is also very puzzling. Once Leonidis's troops are wiped out, with the promise of Persian massacre onto Sparta, we somehow move one year ahead, Sparta now has found and trained 30,000 troops while escaping extinction. Pink Panther fans are surely shaking their heads.

So yeah, there were some nice artistic images in this movie. A lot of interesting Photoshop-like art, especially in terms of landscapes, skyscapes and lighting effects. Very odd movie, I'd much prefer one about my childhood comic book action hero, the Phantom.

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6 Responses to "300: nice use of color"

  1. erik says:

    Nicely written and this:

    "They also use this Matrix-like technique where the action slows down and the Persian soldier is moving in slow motion, while the Spartan navigates the space/time continuum so he can swing his sword in real time during a slow motion sequence. No wonder they were so hard to defeat."

    is just precious

  2. John says:

    Eh? The Spartans didn't 'find' all those troops. They already had them, they just weren't deployed at Thermopylae.

    Come on Martin, read up on the actual battle before criticising a film loosely based on it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae

  3. numerodix says:

    That's sorta the point here, John. The Average Joe didn't know this either coming out of the movies. Still, aside from this point, is there anything about the battle that makes my commentary invalid?

  4. John says:

    Good god, what kind of history courses do the average Joe take? Greece is the first major civilisation in Europe. It's bloody important to have an overview.

    Not quite sure what part you're referring to with 'my commentary'.
    The film is based on a comic, which simplified the story to the point where you know just enough to frame the glorification of one of the most famous last stands in history. It's most certainly not meant to be historically accurate (a friend recently suggested to me that the historical inaccuracies/absurdities in the film would make for a good drinking game).

    If you're being serious about the landing point, I don't know. Possibly the Athenian navy had them worried enough to land quickly. Possibly they didn't know the terrain well enough to see the danger ahead, or they anticipated pushing through the choke point before any Greek forces arrived, or figured that 250000 soldiers (the conservative estimate of the Persian army) should be able to brush aside any small Greek force rushed to the area.

  5. Kiya says:

    Just a comment about your green arrows--remember, as inviting as those open coves look, they were actually miserable patches of sea to navigate. This is why the Spartans were so militaristic: they had no real easy access to a safe sea port, or location to set up a sea port. Sparta itself was located between two enormous mountain ranges, with limited farmland; to get enough resources to survive, Sparta conquered and enslaved its neighbors--who became helots, essentially slaves--and lived in constant fear of revolt. So they trained up an army to keep the helots down.
    Sorry for that small side track, but its a roundabout way of saying that landing where the green arrows are wouldn't have been effective, and might have resulted in the loss or more Persian ships. That all said--was the red arrow where they actually landed, or where the Persians landed in the film 300? Because I thought that Thermopylae was actually on the Attican Peninsula, above the Isthmus of Corinth.

  6. Matt says:

    "no god would be stupid enough to reject the offer to become warlord of all Greece and avoid certain death."

    Jesus Christ from the Bible most certainly did this very thing. Satan tempted Jesus by offering him power over all lands and Jesus turned him down which eventually led to his death. Not trying to offend you or anything... just saying that particular statement is a bit incorrect.