My 14 year old son was lobbying me hard to see the latest flick that has his crowd buzzing. It's only a matter of time before he'll be too busy to go to the movies or anywhere else with me. So after reading reviews in the LA Times, hearing news reports about it and noticing that there was even an article in Time Magazine I was curious enough to go see the blood-soaked CG driven epic, 300.
I can see why serious people like film critics and cultural pundits want to weigh in and assign their powers to this film. Heck, even the Iranians registered their opinion. They hate it - which is understandable since nobody wants to be the bad guy. Modern day Germans must really get tired of WWII. Paul VerHoeven has a new movie out featuring evil Nazis. It's not a role you want your country to get type-cast in. obviously, a bad rep. can stick for a long time. In the case of the Persians in 300...a VERY long time. On the other hand when was the last time you saw a movie that had you rooting for barely clad Greeks?
All the blah blah I read about this film dissipated suddenly during the closing credits - an animated sequence with comic book color and lettering and an attribution to a graphic novel. That's when I saw what this film intends to be.
This movie hits it's mark with a generation of media consumers who understand graphic imagery and video gaming. They experience this film in an entirely different way than the LA Times or the leadership in Tehran. This is a generation that doesn't learn Greek and won't volunteer to read classical western history in any language. But they DO get the language of modern media.
In 300, the Spartans are video game heroes. The violence is graphic but not personal. (You can go on from there at-will about de-sensitizing viewers to violence.)
We have pretty severe limits on screen time - both video game and media watching for our kids. We killed our cable TV connection almost 2 years ago because you never know who or what is trying to get through to your children and how it might be received. It is a cause of concern for a lot of parents.
My son's simple 5 word review of 300 was re-assuring and it ought to make the Ayatollahs relax a bit.
"It's a really good yarn".
Isn't that EXACTLY how the ancient story of the Spartans came to US? The heroes, villains, glory and embellishments were there to be brightly colored each time by every new teller. The movie 300 is nothing more than classical story telling for a new generation.
Next, he'll be lobbying for the video game.
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