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300 (2006) Movie Critical Review - Essay Example

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. Is “300” Historically Accurate? Zack Snyder's “300” is a dramatic version of the Battle of Thermopylae. The film shows Persia's King Xerxes and his more than 100,000 soldiers battling with Sparta's King Leonidas and his 300-strong army…
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300 (2006) Movie Critical Review
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Download file to see previous pages For ten days, Leonidas and his valiant men fight against the Persians. The Greek Ephialtes, however, defects to Xerxes and reveals a separate path through Thermopylae, which the Persians used to defeat the Greeks. Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) successful persuades the Council to send reinforcement to Leonidas, but it is too late. Leonidas and all his men perished. Nevertheless, the battle continues, since Dilios leads a larger Greek army against the Persian army and launches the Battle of Plataea. The film has not precisely depicted some of the causes of the Battle, beliefs and attitudes, technology, dress, events, characters and speech of the time, as it turned a historical fact into a romantic myth that emphasizes the inaccurate dichotomy between the “evil” Asians and the “good” white race. The film did not accurately depict the causes of the Battle at Thermopylae and severely dichotomized historical characters, although the Battle itself is not fictitious. The Battle of Themopylae truly occurred, which Herodotus and other ancient writers described. The film shows that Leonidas fought for freedom and independence of not only Sparta, but the whole of Greece, though this is a simplistic reason for his motivation, according to Eugene N. Borza, professor emeritus of ancient history at Pennsylvania State University. It was still unclear why the Persians charged to Thermopylae, so it is hard to answer why the Greeks prepared to go to war with the former at Thermopylae. The film also no longer explores the “complex issues faced by the Greek city-states confronting the Persian advance” (Borza). Nevertheless, the Spartans did courageously stand against the Persians and all of them died there, except those who defected to the Persians and deserted the Spartan army. Their last stand, as a result, has been subjected to numerous various interpretations, to which the film “300” also belongs. Furthermore, the film has depicted a rather stereotyped dichotomy between Asians and whites. The Asians, specifically Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), are illustrated as the “embodiment of evil and mindless tyranny, as opposed to the Spartans who represent freedom and justice” (Borza). The black and white division between the Asians and the Greeks perpetuate Orientalism and not the real facts about the Persians as people and their leaders. The film does not capture the actual figures of the historical event, but it did highlight some factual military strategies. Leonidas did not have only 300 soldiers with him, because according to Herodotus, the “Father of History,” he also brought thousands other Greeks and slaves. Borza stresses that it is “ludicrous to suggest” that an experienced Spartan general like Leonidas would think that 300 men would suffice against tens or even hundreds of thousands of enemies. That thinking would border both hubris and stupidity. Borza asserts that the Spartan stand at Thermopylae consisted of “a force of perhaps six to seven thousand Greeks.” Moreover, the location of Thermopylae was strategic, because “the Persians would be unable to take advantage of their massive preponderance in numbers; instead, they would have to face the Greeks in close-quarter, hand-to-hand combat” (Frye 39). Also, the casualties to the Asians were high, because the Greeks fought well and hard too (Borza). “300” specifically capitalizes on close-up and medium shots of the battle with spurting blood and flinging, cut-off body parts that would have happened in a real hand-to-hand battle. Thus, the location enhanced the strategy of the Greeks against the Persians, while Snyder ensures hardcore action battle scenes with graphic shots and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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