This movie is not about a historical fact, rather about a mythological version of it. There is no real historical accuracy in the depicting of persons or actual events. It is a piece of story-, not history-telling. Miller (who wrote the graphic novel the movie is based on and co-produced the movie itself) offers a personal version of a story which has already been told many times. He doesn't claim that his version is truer, on the contrary: he claims often in interviews that he's no realist. Furthermore, the story is told through the words of a Spartian soldier, who obviously is working on the myth of Leonidas and the 300 in order to move Greece to combat against the Persians. It is not only a subjective tale; it is an instrumental, manipulated and manipulative propaganda tale basing on a real heroic deed. For this reason, do not look for historical truth in this movie: you would rather find lot of factual errors (the ephors weren't a caste of inbred priests but elected magistrates who remained in charge for one year and gave the kings their advice; the oracle was in Delphi, not in Sparta; it gave a different advice as the one in the movie; etc.), even if the depiction of the education of the Spartan youth is quite reasonable. But, again, this movie is NOT about history, it is story-telling. There is a large use of computer generated special effects. This gives to it an artificial character and makes it look like a cartoon or an anime (being based on a graphic novel, this should cause no wonder). The lights are never natural, the landscape is obviously computer generated, the fight scenes are real (according to the producers), but largely enhanced. They are quite stylish and well choreographed: the Spartians move graciously through the enemy lines killing with elegant movements which resemble a dance. Again: this embellishment is typical of myth, not of a realistic depiction of actual events. As for the "political" debate: is this movie an apology for the Iraqi war? Did the director and the producers want to draw a parallel between Leonidas and Bush? If you really are interested in this question (but you don't have to in order to enjoy or to dislike the movie), you should consider at least the following things: 1) Miller wrote the graphic novel in 1998, well before the Bush presidency; furthermore, he claims that he has been fascinated by Leonidas since he was a boy. 2) On the other side, the decision of making a movie out of 300 came in a specific historical moment, with the US being criticized for breaking international law in order to wage war to a middle-eastern tyrant and with Bush being considered by large masses around the world to be a blood-thirsty fanatical. Some of the dialogs in the movie could be applied to this situation, with the Spartian council in the blocking position of the UN and the ephors in that of the Security Council. Leonidas is accused of having provoked Xerxes to war and to wage war against the law, but he claims to be acting to secure freedom (an "enduring freedom"?). His fiercest political rival, Theron, is of course a traitor (and so were considered by the White House, Fox etc. those in the US who opposed the war). Xerxes is depicted as a heartless tyrant with a rather psychopathic personality, who punishes cruelly his general (does this remind you of some recent middle-eastern tyrant?). The Persians do not look like the real Persians did, but like present-day Middle-Easterners, that is: like Arabs (of course, the good guys are white, while the bad guys are brown, as in many other Hollywood movies). The Spartans' allies, the Archadian, have "good will" but follow Leonidas only half-hearted and eventually prefer to leave (precisely like most "allies" of the US in the invasion of Iraq). Leonidas claims often that Spartans are fighting for freedom and reason against tyranny and at one moment against mysticism (consider the typical arguments of neo-cons about Islam and its allegedly fanatic character). There is even an allusion to a "crush of cultures" à la Huntington (and if you want to be a little bit paranoid, the final scene of the dead Leonidas in the same position as Christ on the cross is somehow disturbing). It is quite implausible that the producers and the director were not aware of such parallels. On the other side, Leonidas dies at the head of his soldiers, while most "hawks" in Washington revealed themselves to be "chickens". Furthermore he dies facing the most powerful army of the world leaded by someone who believes to be a god and has imperialistic plans. The USA are at present considered an imperialistic nation in most countries, they have the most powerful army of the world, and their commander-in-chief does not believe to be a god, but claims that he speaks to God and vice versa. So, one could even reverse the political reading I quoted above. All this shows how tricky any political interpretation of a work of fiction can be, particularly when it handles with a myth (a few brave men fighting for freedom against an apparently invincible enemy who wants to enslave them). Watch this movie, if you are looking for action, fighting and blood galore: it won't offer you much more than this, but it'll do this in a quite convincing manner.
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