300 (2006)

Was it really Hollywood’s contribution to the War on Terror, propagandising for an extension of US miitary activity in Iran? Was it just a vacuous CGI extravaganza full of clashing swords and clashing accents (“och aye the noo Xerxes!”) unable to bear the serious political analyses some critics were making? Probably a bit of both. I first saw this at IMAX, the first and so far only time I’ve been down to Darling Harbour for the ultimate big screen experience; undeniably impressive but on a screen that size it could only look even more fake than on a regular cinema screen. And yet somehow it looks even more grossly artificial on TV… I know the point was to emulate the look of Frank Miller’s graphic novel rather than a naturalistic historical drama (at times it’s like the Persians wandered out of Middle Earth rather than the Middle East; and there’s something Gollumesque about the character Ephialtes), but on TV it just looks even more like a jumped-up video game than it did at IMAX. Back then I wondered why Zack Snyder bothered using real actors when everything else was CGI, and I still wonder that. Anyway, that was all I wanted to see it on TV for, i.e. to compare the visuals… otherwise I see no need to recant my earlier opinion of the thing: it’s porn for anyone who wishes they lived in an anti-democratic military state bravely fighting an influx of poofy weirdo wogs, and anyone else who may enjoy the homoeroticism swirling around all those buff, near-naked hunks wielding  those long swift swords, but it’s a fairly empty experience otherwise.

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