Friday, March 16, 2007

300, briefly

Forewarning: Pseudo-Iamblichus honors me and other bloggers for our meditations on Roman Catholic life, art, and practice, and this is what I’m posting today. Alas, I can’t pretend to talk about Catholicism all day - count me in with the great sinners that make up the Catholic Church and need it so desperately. And do not take this post to mean that Christ in my life hasn't taught me better, I'm just still human.

Why is this brief? Because there isn’t much to write about the movie 300 (directed by Zack Snyder from the graphic novel by Frank Miller). It’s bad. Sparta, as portrayed here, has no redeeming values. Everyone speaks in platitudes, the voice-over narration is beyond silly (in that meant to be weighty manner), the effects themselves are straight out of a comic book. While other people like this style of filmmaking (video-game style), I don’t. If I want to see a cartoon, I’ll go watch a cartoon. I’m also about sick of the ochre-tinged lighting that is meant to signify “the ancient world” (spoken with a booming voice). The grotesque characters aren’t even creatively so: I saw the fat man from Hellraiser, the evil warrior from Kickboxer (Van Damme warmed my young heart nearly two decades ago in that movie), and Chunk from The Goonies (who later dons a cap to look like a gnome). None of these characters are actually scary, just really silly. One thing I had never seen before: a hallucinating satyr, and I really would have been fine having never seen it. Xerxes is beyond hilarious in both look and voice. Gosh, this was a bad movie, except for one thing….

This has to be the most homoerotic (for men) movie released in wide distribution in a LONG time. My gosh, men in nothing but thongs and capes, moving in slow motion. Men with really defined musculature disposing of bodies wearing nothing but boots and leather straps. Men’s six-packs, men sweaty, men naked, men's backs, men’s thighs…this is not a movie I should have been watching during Lent (or perhaps, any other season if I want to be a good Christian). And I got to see it on IMAX (this movie would have been completely unacceptable in any other format). I had to take my coat off, and even though it was cold in the theatre, there were times when I could have used one of those fans that spray water to cool down. If I ever bought this movie, it’s the type I’d hide under my bed. Because it’s that bad, and oh, that good. If you’re a woman or a gay man, and someone who temporarily sets aside the sinfulness of lusting and sexual objectification of others, this is a must-see movie. And on the biggest screen you can find.

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