The audience members watching them play the same game: media-weary, hunkered down behind thick irony, flinging verbal jabs at the screen — until they see something that moves them. Then they’ll come out and feel. But at the first hint of politics, they’ll jump back behind their shield-wall, just like the Spartans when millions of Persian arrows blot out the sun, and wait until the noise stops.
Neal Stephenson offers an interesting review of 300. Anyone seen it?
I saw it too, of course. I've been jittery for it since the first preview I saw. Doesn't hurt that I enjoy greek classics and mythology already.
It was good, well done, and with one exception, extremely true to the graphic novel. In most cases the film is a direct implementation of the images and words in the graphic novel, almost to the point of a screen capture. In this sense, it's certainly a success. Having not read Herodotus, I can't say if Frank Miller was particularly true to the source, but I'm not so concerned with that... it's close enough, i'm sure.
As for all the other stuff people have been tossing onto the film, I think it brings up the fundamental question regarding wether a film maker is directly responsible for the voice of the film he produces. Or if he should have to be concious that such a voice exists in the first place.
As far as I'm concerned, it's a somewhat fictionalized interpretation of a historical battle and it's visually interesting and exciting to watch. I don't know that it has to mean more than that.
But, if you must search for deeper import, then at least it must be acknowledged that the voice of the film is not so much the filmmaker's as it is Frank Miller's. As I said, it's so identical as to render it thematically indistinguishable from Miller's work. Again, I can't say how closely Miller hewed to Herodotus, but I doubt the critics decrying what they see as blatant political posturing can either. I doubt they've read their histories and done a thorough analysis of it, so I really can't take their arguments seriously.
Anyway, go see, it, it's good. Decide for yourself if you like it, but I caution that any policial or ethical overtones you see are far more a reflection of yourself than of the filmmakers.
p.s. Stephenson makes note of Dan Simmons' Ilium and Olympos books and I can tell you they're pretty awesome. Very epic, twining Homer with Shakespeare and Proust, plus a healthy grounding in some very compelling hard sci-fi. This is literate "speculative fiction" of the sort that most of the mainstream bookie / literature crowd happiliy ignore because of the historical treatment of sci-fi as a low art. Neal says that's changing and I agree somewhat... I've never understood why sci-fi is looked down upon as weak and escapist, when the social, moral, and technological issues it addresses are frequently so valuable. On top of which, the stories themselves are often as fine as anything in any genre. One has only to read Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun tetralogy to know that literature doesn't follow genre boundries.
RE: It’s All Geek to Me - New York Times