So this is the post where I write about having just seen 300. And the first thing I need to say is
Holy Abdominal Muscles, Batman!
And, besides that nice little treat, the movie was AWESOME! As I said to Brendan and another friend of mine, I almost can't believe that a movie like this was actually made. This is a movie where heroic men take a stand for what is right and refuse to yield. No equivocation; no whining; no guilt. They were not going to budge an inch because they knew they were right.
My husband gave me permission to quote his words:
The thing that really sets this movie apart from just about every other one I've seen, though, is its total moral clarity. And they did a good job of establishing the basis of that early on in the movie -- you knew why they were fighting, what they were fighting against, and why surrender/compromise were not options from the very beginning. The whole audience (objectivist or not) knew that from the start, before Leonidas met with the Ephors & the oracle, and I liked how they showed the dumbest possible decision was the result of mysticism.
He said it so well. I'm jealous.
Now I know that this movie isn't historically accurate. But its purpose was not to portray the events exactly as they went down at Thermopylae (to such an extent as is even known). The purpose of this movie was to portray Man As Hero. What do heroes do? They do the Right Thing. No matter what. At any cost. Why? Because they must or they could not live with themselves. The Right Thing for these men in this situation was to face Xerxes and his intent to enslave them and not surrender. They knew that they were better than their enemies and stood up to prove it.
Their heads were bloody, but unbowed. The stand taken by the Spartans (in the movie and in real life) was the beginning of the end for Xerxes I. Greece would not be taken by the Persians.
Sadly, America will not take such a stand. Hardly anyone does--neither individuals nor the government. We're too concerned with embracing "diversity" and "compassion" to draw a moral line in the sand. It's been done before. Of course, our Founders did. Others, too--Harry S Truman comes to mind. What modern politician would seriously contemplate a total annihilation of an enemy as an ideal strategy for war? Sorry. Can't think of a one. I'm sure I'm not the first to notice that our current enemies hail from the same geographic location as the Spartans' enemies. Irony?
That's why I'm still utterly astonished that this movie was produced! It gives me hope that someone knows that and why taking a strong moral stand is important, that it's literally life or death. Ayn Rand said much the same thing about the publication of Atlas Shrugged:
"I trust that no one will tell me that men such as I write about don't exist. That this book has been written--and published--is my proof that they do."
Same goes for 300. I will see it again and again.