I saw 300 last night and I have to say it wasn’t as bloody as I thought it would be after reading the reviews300 is a mythic epic, well worth seeing in the theater if you like that sort of thing, and like action movies filled with buff men, flying blood (they really really like their blood spatters) and flying heads (of the chopped off variety). But the biggest reason to see it in the theater is to see it it on a big screen. Sometimes I hear movies described as visually stunning, but believe me, this movie is visually stunning. The director, Zach Snider, doesn’t forget for one frame that he is visually telling a story. The movie represents a Spartan survivor of the battle telling the tale to his country men on the eve of another battle against the Persians, so the movie has a certain Homeric cast to it. And there are times the creepiness factor got a bit too much for me and I actually turned away from the screen.

After watching it, I have to wonder if I saw the same movie as some of the critics — were they expecting a documentary? Maybe it’s just me, but I got the impression they were sort of hoping that Greek civilization, and thus Western civilization, got strangled in it’s cradle this time. Because if it had, we wouldn’t have been faced with the horror of people proclaiming about freedom while owning slaves. We would just would have been faced with people owning slaves and never once even mentioning freedom.

What motivated 300 hundred Spartans and 700 Thespians to fight to the death against the Persians in 480 BC? It sure wasn’t a desire to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, end poverty, envision world peace, save the Whales, end Global Warming, or some other modern worthy enterprise. The world was much simpler then – or at least the struggle for survival was much clearer (and harder), and the extreme Lycurgian laws that Sparta lived under were all about how civilization could survive. Sometimes we forget the idea that love of country, a conviction that our culture is superior, and a devotion to duty and others are important values and not just quaint ideas without power to be forgotten or mocked.

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