Reading the reviews of the film 300, you might expect something full of political inference. Is the film pro-Bush? Is it anti-Bush? Is it a fable about Iraq? Perhaps it forefends a war with Iran (modern day Persia, that is)?
The answer is: ‘None of the above! It’s a graphic novel turned into a film, idiot!’
Frank Miller wrote 300 in 1999, before the Iraq war, long before Iran started scaring the bejeebers out of most of the civilized world, before George W. Bush became President.
Miller’s book is not a history of the Persian Wars. It excerpts one event from that lengthy war (which lasted from the turn of the 5th C. BCE to 331 BCE): the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE.
As is the case with much fiction, including graphic novels of course, an historic fact serves as an inspiration for a later work. Miller clearly took historic facts, his considerable graphic skills, and a bit of imagination and compiled them into a creative unity. The result is the book, from which this film is adapted.
Graphic novels are not the place to find great complexity of thought, though there certainly can be depth to them. They seek, however, to simplify complexities into graphics that engage the emotional wiring in the brain. The film certainly succeeds on that count.
The review of the film on Slate mistakes this film for something to be shown in junior high classrooms, a cleaned-up documentary. As such, the reviewer finds it running short on political correctness. Horror of horrors, there are enemies! Even worse, they’re ’swarthy’, at least some of them. They might be confused with contemporary Arabs or Iranians, and anyway, what’s the point in making a war film when there’s a real war going on, at least if you’re not going to take sides? He’s scandalized that the Spartans would savage the diplomatic messenger of the Persians. Historically, that’s what they did. And