It would seem obvious that I haven't exactly been paying attention to LJ for awhile. Like similar Internet fads before it (think Friendster) I suppose the appeal of blogging wore off. Plus the fact I got bored with my layout and didn't have the means to change it, but that's another story.
Mostly I suppose it's thinking about what I want boyspacefriend
to be all about - and I've decided to keep this a purely fun/personal interest blog. Not that I've decided to keep my opinions, political or otherwise, to myself all of a sudden despite what my brother reports are repeated attempts to tar and feather my name in UP because of my anti-egg/mudslinging stand
a couple of months ago. Since my "fascist" and "military-loving" tendencies obviously don't extend to my (or rather my mouth's) love of free speech, I'm in the process of setting up a new blog for pure commentary. Abangan.
What motivates me to post today however is not another hypocritical leftist outrage or useless political posturing (although since it's election season there's plenty of THAT to go around). Two things near and dear to me: classical history, and kick-ass movies. Ladies and gentlemen, 300.
I'm a bit disappointed with Rotten Tomatoes though, because last week 300 was at 100% fresh
. Obviously I thought the movie was insane (in a good way). The cinematography, the pacing, and the acting all hit the right tone - it's one of those genre-defining battle movies that will stand as a fan favorite. One reviewer said the battle scenes were so "over-the-top" they were "hilarious". I don't quite know what she expects when 300 Spartans go up against a million-man horde. Maybe she wants monologues and soliloquys while the Spartan phalanx engages the Xerxes's Immortals? This is a homage to a comic book, which was itself a homage to an epic battle. Don't let the idiot critics stop you from appreciating the good old-fashioned heroism at the heart of this movie. (As chibi_leon pointed out, someone on Rotten Tomatoes posted "THIS IS BLASPHEMY! THIS IS MADNESS!" in response to that critic. Fucking classic, thanks Chibs. The rest of the user comments to that critic are pretty funny as well, read more here.
And that's why this movie succeeds. Because it breathes life into the source material
, a story that has stood the test of time as one of the most famous sacrifices in human history. The Battle of Thermopylae (which literally means the "Gates of Fire" or "The Hot Gates") was a strategic effort by the Spartans and their Greek allies to delay the Persian invasion while Sparta and Athens cobbled together the Greek city-states into a Hellenic coalition able to resist the mammoth forces of Xerxes. While the movie takes some liberties with the back story (there's the internal politicking in Sparta which I won't spoil), the Spartans actually had a couple of thousand auxiliary units with them to hold back the onslaught. Although Leonidas and his Spartans were massacred to the last man, their stirring sacrifice at Thermopylae - fighting in the face of certain death to preserve Hellas - inspired the Greeks to defeat the Persians a year later, first in the naval battle of Salamis where the Athenians took revenge for the sacking of Athens, and then in the battle of Plataea where the Greek heavy infantry defeated the numerically superior but lightly armored Persian armies. Thermopylae and the Spartans helped save Greece from being swallowed by an Oriental empire, and the period immediately after the war began the golden age of Greek civilization centered on Athens, producing such notable Western institutions like democracy, reason and the citizen-soldier.
So the arc of the story is epic; and the movie is a fitting tribute to that, with the battle itself giving LOTR: Return of The King's siege of Gondor
(one of my personal favorites) a run for its money. Although I'll concede the rhetoric about reason and freedom in the face or Oriental despotism may be grating to some, it never approaches George W. Bush proportions and is a tiny nuisance compared to how awesome the movie is. Like V for Vendetta
last year, this is 2007's first must-see movie for me.