Sunday, March 11, 2007

The 300 movie

The 300 (above pic is Gerard Butler as the Spartan King Leonidas)

I saw the new movie, The 300 today. I really liked it and thought the filmmakers did a great job. There’s a good reason that the story of the 300 Spartans has survived for over 2,500 years. It was visually stunning and very intense. As a writer I thought they did a good job putting out the back-story of King Leonidas. We’re often tempted as writers to give the full history of a character, but it’s better to mete out little details as the plot unfolds.

I really liked the movie and the message that sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself for an ideal. That message of freedom is worth dying for is as powerful today as it was back in ancient Greece. The battle at Thermopylae was like the Alamo in the United States. It turned into a rallying cry for all of Greece. Leonidas succeeded in death by helping to create an alliance of the Greek city-states.

I actually visited the battle site, Thermopylae, in Greece five months ago. The memorial to Leonidas and the 300 was good, though the electrical power lines above and behind it took away from the beauty of it. The site is totally changed from 2,500 years ago, but it was still cool to see it and to go there. It’s just a short stop, but thinking about the history when we there made it all worth while.

In honor of seeing The 300 and my schedule opening up, I’m back to writing my novel set in ancient Greece, Medusa’s Daughter. I’d put it on hold for the past four months as I finished up my first novel, The Golden Cord, which was due January 1, and then writing a short story, plus a 60 page book promo plan.

Enough excuses. The movie has helped me get excited again and get to work. I wrote part of a new chapter tonight and read over my outline, character bios, and the 10,000 words I’d written for the novel previously. Things are good and my goal is to finish by November 1, 2007.

Sometimes we writers need something to get us writing. Fantasy art, good books, movies, and cool soundtracks get me going. Find out what makes you want to write and surround yourself with that thing.

Good luck writing and remember the 300 Spartans. Without their sacrifice, western civilization might have been dramatically changed. Who knows, maybe that would be a great alternate history novel?


Unknown said...

I've actually been having an argument with a man on Amazon about 300. He had rated the soundtrack with 1 star because he didn't like the movie, but he actually enjoyed the music because his favorite arabic artist was a part of it. His reasoning for hating the movie was because he claimed it to be a racist film against all Persians, which the film never claimed to be. In any case he has been beaten down not just by me, but by a lot of other better educated people for his ignorant comments. It's been an interesting experience...

Kelly Swails said...

Uh oh, Paul, it might be time to turn off the anonymous option.

We saw The 300 this weekend, too. I'm not a history buff, so I didn't know how accurate it was and all that, but graphically it was awesome, and the acting was great. It was bloody and gruesome but not horribly so. I'd watch it again.

deetour said...

ewwwww, what the heck? you must erase him!

I have not seen this movie and unless there is some hi fashion or makeover scene in it, I probably won't at all. Teehee.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul! Hey Kelly!
Oddly enough I do agree a little with s.m.d., whoever s/he is. I haven't seen the movie, but judging by the trailers it's very true to Frank Miller's artistic vision in the 300 comic, which I did read years ago.
I had the same reaction to the comic that amazon guy did. I mean, historically, the Persians were pretty hot shit. They really were one of the golden civilizations of their era, though not at all democratic. I do not know why Miller chose to portray them as bizarrely decadent she-males draped in eroto-bondage club gear. Why couldn't he have given them their nice long curly beards? And pants, huh? The Persians wore pants, unlike all the Greeks and Spartans.
I do feel that the Battle of the Hot Gates was insanely dramatic enough without turning the bad guys into hilarious drag caricatures of bad guys.
And I definitely agree with one paper review I read (again, just based on trailers) that the whole film is oddly homoerotic. Well, y'know, as I'm reading this back maybe that's the most historically accurate part, hmmmm.
However, I don't believe that Miller's odd portrayal of the Persians had its roots in racism, but rather in simply pushing the envelope of the comic narrative form a leeeetle further, the way he does.

I leave you with the famous epigram/epitaph:

"Tell them in Sparta, Passerby/
that here, obedient to their word
we lie."

P.S. deetour -- there's no high fashion in 300, but I do hear there's more six-packs than a warehouse fulla Bud. Woo!