Day By Day

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Worst Film Review of the Year!

Let me say right off, I do not expect “300” to be a particularly good or interesting film. Visually, we’ve seen it all before in “Sin City.” The history is bonkers. The acting and characterization are no better than you would expect in a comic book adaptation. The narrative is often silly. It’s a movie made for fourteen year old boys who spend far too much time playing video games.

In essence “300” is little more than an extended piece of battle porn. Under normal circumstances I would have little interest in seeing it.

But then I read Dana Stevens’ review of the film. She has written, and Slate published, what is perhaps the worst film review ever. [here]

Ms. Stevens thinks even less of “300” than do I. But it is the reasons she gives for disliking the film that make her review such an obnoxious piece of tripe.

She starts with the obligatory Nazi reference. If “300” had been produced in Nazi Germany, she avers, it would serve “as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war.” She compares it to “The Eternal Jew.”

Having gotten the mandatory Jewish Holocaust stuff out of the way, she plunges ahead into frenzied fit of racist, sexist, homophiliac, anti-Bush PC nonsense. She finds it “maddening” [her word, not mine] that the film-makers do not deign to insert denunciatory references to America’s Iraq campaign or, for that matter, engage in any anti-war propaganda. It offends her that the good guys are white, in good physical shape, and filled with esprit de corps [which to her bizarre sensibilities seems “fratty.”] while their opponents are an assemblage of grotesque monsters.

Brown people. Disfigured people. Gay men (not gay in the buff, homoerotic Spartan fashion, but in the effeminate Persian style). Lesbians. Disfigured lesbians. Ten-foot-tall giants with filed teeth and lobster claws. Elephants and rhinos (filthy creatures both). The Persian commander, the god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) is a towering, bald club fag with facial piercings, kohl-rimmed eyes, and a disturbing predilection for making people kneel before him.

“Club fag” – I was unfamiliar with that term. Perhaps Ann Coulter can use it in her next column. Note that by lumping these all together she is suggesting that the film-makers are so racist and homophobic that they cannot distinguish between non-white or homosexual humans, and exotic monsters.

She despairs that the film dwells on themes of “freedom,” “honor,” and “glory” without emphasizing the historical Spartan practice of slavery and infanticide. She seems to be completely ignorant of the meaning of the term “ethnic cleansing,” adding it to her indictment of Spartan society. She seems throughout to unaware of the fact that this movie is an adaptation from a comic book, not a historical treatise.

I could go on, but what’s the use? Ms. Stevens has gone so far over into the Bizarro world of PC silliness that she’s become as much a grotesque caricature as the film she is reviewing. She, no less than Frank Miller’s creatures, inhabits a phantasmagoric world of exotic monsters that must be defeated at any cost, and her perception of reality is no more accurate than his.

I feel sorry for her.

Read her screed here.

UPDATE: Fortunately the general public doesn't pay any attention to the grotesque opinions of PC scolds like Dana Stevens. "300" is turning out to be a huge popular triumph for Warner Bros.
Looks like I'm gonna have to actually go and see this thing, if only to show solidarity with the public against the Ms. Danas of the world.


"Libertas" explains why "300" broke the all-time March opening record and took in 70 million dollars [more than its production costs] on its first weekend.

So, what was it about 300? It had no stars, a fairly unknown director, was just another comic adaptation, and R-rated?

Sin City came from the same source material, starred Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Josh Hartnett, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood, and Jessica Alba. It had a name director, and even boasted of scenes directed by Tarantino. And yet, 300 will pass Sin City’s total domestic take tomorrow.

Hopefully Hollywood is watching. 300 is successful for the very reason it’s being hammered by close-minded left-wing critics: It’s something new. It’s something refreshing. It’s about something.

It’s about heroes, honor, good versus evil, and fighting for something bigger than one’s self. It’s rousing and larger than life. It’s not just another one of those old-fashioned, ‘nuanced,’ nihilistic, anti-hero, thin-line-between-good-and-evil, tired, old cliched movies that have been around for decades.

Read it here.

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