Critical of the Critic
Last week I read the review of 300 by Dana Stevens in Slate Magazine online and then on Saturday I saw the movie for myself. Can I just say what the hell? Perhaps in some situations it helps to have a piece of art reviewed by someone who has no previous knowledge of the form. I can understand the concept of a fresh pair of eyes. Unfortunately, however, I don't think that was the case here. It was pretty clear to me that Ms. Stevens doesn't know or care to know anything about the art form this film was taken from.

Her main beef with 300 seems to be that it isn't a vehicle for promoting some sort of message against our current war situation in the Middle East. Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions, I am not a supporter of said situation. I am a card-carrying, dyed-in-the wool Liberal, and not afraid to admit it (even though I live in Louisiana and it's practically a hanging offense here). It irritates me, however, that she takes this movie to task for not being a socially-conscious enough war film. At one point she bemoans the fact that it "doesn't include at least some nod in the direction of antiwar sentiment." Her attitude is dripping with undisguised contempt when she reveals that director Zack Snyder created the film for (Shock!!) entertainment value.

Now I'm fairly sure here that Dana Stevens has no idea who Frank Miller is. I can understand that she doesn't have much interest in graphic novels or comics. But I think anyone who does can agree that to truly appreciate this film you should know something about its origins. This film was, from a comic fan's perspective, beautiful. The filmmakers captured the feel of the graphic novel perfectly, from the gorgeous colorization down to the detail of the 2-D blood. It felt like a comic, because that's what it was - a comic come alive. It was a love story dedicated to what this art form has done since its conception, provide a stylized, compact, artistic rendering of a story.

And while I'm at it, I'm sorry to have to be the one to break this to you, but this story is in fact based on an actual event, in which a very small contingent of soldiers fought to the death even though they were vastly outnumbered. They were Spartans, professional soldiers who were trained to follow their king no matter what the cost. If you went to see a movie with the tagline, "Spartans, tonight we dine in Hell!" with the notion that you'd see peace accords and a solution to eternal conflict in the Middle East, well, as the LOML says to me frequently, I don't know what to tell you.

Sorry, Dana. I loved it.

13 March 2007

1 Comment:

Ranjeeth Koyilerian said...

Hey Carinthia,

Nice blog. Makes a lot of sense to me. Matured articles and honestly upfront revelations. May be I liked it because we think the same way, especially the "who cares a damn if the article sucks or pays?"

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