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Garrett, a freshman at Wake Forest University writes:
I’m sure that you have heard of Victor Davis Hanson and his especially insightful view of the world. He not only wrote the introduction to the book The Making of 300 but has spoken on the radio about the values war between East and West.
Hanson takes a grippingly perspicacious look into the dominance of Western culture in warfare in his book Carnage and Culture. He examines nine different battles and how each are indicative of some facet of Western values and how those values do more for martial success than things like resources and geography.
I don’t know if you have seen the movie, but when Xerxes descends his throne and his slaves form a human staircase for him I could not help but think that one thing this movie got right is that in relative terms of course, 300 is a story of freedom versus serfdom and it is undoubtedly a deciding factor in that epic struggle.
I highly suggest you read it. The book will gives credence and historical evidence to something that many of us who see the war on terror have realized all along.
Mikey from Jacksonville writes:
Cinnamon Stillwell is way, way off in her take on 300 and what she views as a cultural disconnect between critics and masses.
For one, there’s no such disconnect, really. 300 is running a 61% on the Tomatometer at rottentomatoes.com, which is pretty good (and indeed, the best of the weekend’s top five).
Secondly, she posits a very common strawman, which is that critics and audiences are often at odds. This is just wrong. It’s easy to come up with examples (like say, Ghost Rider) where this holds, but the inverse is more often true. The top ten highest grossing films of all time adjusted for inflation are Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, The Sound of Music, ET, The Ten Commandments, Titanic, Jaws, Doctor Zhivago, The Exorcist, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. These all were, and continue to be, critical darlings.
I agree with her that the critics who criticize 300 are misguided, though. Personally, I loved the film. I think the problem with the negative critics is that they’re viewing a 5th century BC story through 21st century eyes. Of course there were things in Spartan society that today we’d see as less than heroic, but that’s not the point. Other than visual artistic liberties, the film was remarkably historically accurate. Perhaps there are things about Spartan society that bother us and make us think it’s less than worth saving, but this does not make 300 a bad film. Merely one that is disagreed with.