I don’t just review any movie. I try to stay somewhat on topic here, with either a cultural or spiritual tie-in. The Spartans had some strong similarities with the Langobards. Both were societies which were based on war and the warrior ethic… “Warrior Socities.” In both societies, boys were trained for war from an early age.
The movie was about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, where Spartan King Leonidas leading 300 Spartans against what was described as a Persian imperial army of millions. Although exaggerated, the odds were in fact incredible. The battle has been described by some as “saving Western civilization,” which may cloud the harder reality that it certainly was part of saving Greek civilization at that time. The movie portrayed other items which were not accurate, of which I will avoid. Most of which are more-or-less obvious.
This battle was just a part of the “Greco-Persian Wars”(499-449 BC). YouTube has documentaries galore about these wars and the Battle of Thermopylae. It could also be noted that, along with the Langobard comparison, there is a clear comparison to the Samurai. The Samurai were another example of a “Warrior Society,” with similar traits to the Spartans. One trait that the Spartans and Samurai had in common was that they seemed to literally wish to die in the glory of battle. They actually would seek it, if the historical accounts are true. The Spartans at Thermopylae at least, must have had absolutely no fear of death.
A Greek force of approximately 7,000 men marched north to block the pass in the summer of 480 BC. The Persian army, alleged by the ancient sources to have numbered over one million but today considered to have been much smaller (various figures are given by scholars ranging between about 100,000 and 150,000), arrived at the pass in late August or early September. The vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians for seven days (including three of battle) before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of history's most famous last stands.
During two full days of battle the small force led by Leonidas blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day of battle a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard the rear with 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans and perhaps a few hundred others, most of whom were killed.
300 is a 2007 American fantasy action film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Both are fictionalized retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae within the Persian Wars. The film was directed by Zack Snyder, while Miller served as executive producer and consultant. It was filmed mostly with a super-imposition chroma key technique, to help replicate the imagery of the original comic book.
The plot revolves around King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), who leads 300 Spartans into battle against the Persian "god-King" Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his invading army of more than 300,000 soldiers. As the battle rages, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) attempts to rally support in Sparta for her husband. The story is framed by a voice-over narrative by the Spartan soldier Dilios (David Wenham). Through this narrative technique, various fantastical creatures are introduced, placing 300 within the genre of historical fantasy.
King Leonidas was basically the main protagonist, along with his wife Queen Gorgo. The two are engaged in a political conflict, not only with the invading Persians, but with “bought-off traitors” within Spartan politics. Another quote from the movie, I think from the narrator Dilios, the only survivor of the 300, retelling the story: “Only the hard and strong may call themselves Spartans.”
Before going to war, a Spartan King must go through a religious rite in which he seeks guidance from the wise men of Greek polytheism. The movie portrays them as diseased and “monster-like”; which is the only real item from the movie that I would criticize. I know some people were not happy about what was a similar portrayal from the cable tv series ‘Vikings’, in which the Odinic Skalds were shown to be hideous.
The only other Greek polytheist concept that I remember from the film was was a scene which showed Persian ships sinking in a storm of rain, thunder, and lightning before they could land. One of the Spartans credited the Greek god Zeus for this happening. The opening battle was the most dramatic scene, with the Spartans killing Persians soldiers (or Persian Emperor Xerxes' imperial troops) at will using amazing fighting skills and bravery. The historical record shows that they killed a minimum of ten-to-one! It really could have been twenty-to-one.
Prior to I think the second battle, the narrator Dilios says: “We do what we were trained to do, what we were bred to do, what we were born to do.” Unlike some historical exaggerations, this quote was literally accurate.
Slight spoiler alert beyond this point...
|'Battle of Thermopylae'|
When viewing it, I thought he said “Take Leonidas and the brave 300 to victory!" Actually, that line would have worked too! Good movie.