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EP Review: 300


A film by Zack Snyder.

Reviewed by Jonathon Sullivan.

Comments (21)

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  1. Sullydog says:

    Hi, gang. Sullydog here. We’re not sure what happened with the previous version of this review, which dropped out at the halfway point. I’ve fixed the file and it should now play in its entirety. Thanks for your patience.

  2. Adam B says:

    Will the new version of the file be added to the rss feed?

  3. Adam B says:

    Oops, it was there. Should have checked more thoroughly before writing here.

    Never mind!

  4. Adam B says:

    Oops, it was there. Sorry and never mind.

  5. Loz says:

    Why is it the Flash reviews come through louder than the regular editions?

  6. Matt says:

    As polished as Mr. Sullivan’s reporting always is, I really find it smarmy. Escape Pod was the last place I hoped to hear sophomoric, Wonkette-style political rhetoric (true or not). Regardless of the political side you choose, please keep Escape Pod about escapism! That was its stated aim.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  7. Simeon Weinraub says:

    I guess that my comment on this review got lost with the repost. I can’t recreate it from memory, but my point was that escapism does not occur in a vacuum.

    Human beings use stories to help them frame their world and there place in it. Those stories are rarely literal, and even the most fantastic story has a point of view that will have some effect on the audience’s psyche. Isn’t that one of the biggest strengths of fiction in general, and even more so with science fiction and fantasy? That by giving the audience some distance, the author can make points without directly running into cultural and psychological barriers.

    This is why Dr. Sullivan’s reporting was neither smarmy nor sophomoric. The themes and imagery in 300 do convey meanings beyond the fact that it is a kick ass action movie. Combine those themes and images with the timing of the movie and real world events, and the question of intent, message, and meaning. You can say it is all subjective. You can say it is all coincidence. But, you cannot say that it is not valid.

  8. Rilo says:

    I have to say that when I first heard that there was some kind of political controversy around the Iraq war and this film, my first thought was that the allegory was that the 300 Spartans were analogous to the militia’s and suicide bombers in Iraq, fighting against a much larger and better equipped US Army. It’s funny that Americans can twist a huge army invading another sovereign nation for economic reasons into 300 soldiers protecting their homeland.

    As for the film, it just looks like another fun, if mindless, Hollywood action blockbuster.

  9. Diane says:

    Thanks Rilo, I agree with you entirely. If a person seeing this movie manages to see a small group of people from differing tribes (Spartan and Arcadian) willing to die to protect their homeland from an invading giant army who has bought out the current puppet government to be on the invaders side as a pro neo-con agenda, I would love to see their political take on other movies like the original Star Wars or the Fifth Element.

  10. Simeon says:

    Well, yeah, nobody want to see themselves as the evil invaders. For a story to work, we have to identify with the heroic underdog, But, actually, I think the connections are being made to our apparent lead up to a new war with Iran.
    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/04/17/060417fa_fact
    But, I guess the propaganda aspects could (and do) apply to any Central Asian/Middle Eastern people with whom we might have a fight.

    I am not, saying that 300 is propaganda. I am also not saying that 300 isn’t a great time at the movies. I am just saying that if it isn’t propaganda, then the timing of its release is unfortunate.

  11. Simeon says:

    Not to be too off topic, but here is a more recent Sy Hersh article: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh

  12. Douglas1789 says:

    I have a different view on all of this controversy of the film. This was based on a comic book written in 1998. If you have read the comic you know most of the comments on Freemen fighting against slavery came from the book. That book was based in the 1968 movie, the 300 Spartans, which also reflected the same theme. If you go all the way back to how Herodotus and the other greek historians covered the battle you will find the same themes. To say that the movie is a political statement about the war is a bit misplaced. The themes behind this story are as old as the story itself.

  13. Dutchmonkey says:

    I expected a review of the movie, not a Bush hate-fest. I’m not saying that I don’t want political aspects of a movie discussed, but I sure as hell don’t want one-sided hatemongering propaganda . I don’t mind hearing the reviewer’s personal opinion on current events as they apply to the review subject, after all that IS what a review is. However, Sullydog should approach these reviews a little more objectively in the future.

    Between this review and Steve’s Vista bashing I can’t help but think Escape Pod is in the business of spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) among its audience. Especially after hearing that Steve hasn’t even USED Vista. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Again, I have no problem with personal opinions and political/product discussions, I really do like to listen to the intros/outros/reviews, I just prefer fact-based discussions over rhetoric and hate.

  14. Sullydog says:

    I can’t speak for Steve, although I found his comments reasonable and couched in appropriate language–and I am compelled to point out that, given his concerns, loading a highly suspect OS on his computer just so he could say he used it would seem to be…well, silly.

    I usually try (with varying degrees of success) to stay out of discussions of my reviews per se, but I must take the most vigorous exception, sir, to your assertion that I am “hatemongering.” That is an extremely serious accusation, and is made even more inappropriate in this case by the fact that it is unsupportable. My opinions are my own, and until Mr. Eley tells me otherwise I will continue to express them freely in my reviews. But I do not express hateful or bigoted opinions. In this case, I made lighthearted and completely whimsical comparisons of a fictional character to the sitting President. Notwithstanding my political opinions, I invite you to observe that in the current review I did NOT say that I hate the President, I did NOT say that I hate his supporters, I did NOT advocate any hatred towards or adverse action against the president, nor did I even directly express any discrete opinion regarding any of his policies.

    To summarize, sir, I take the most profound exception to an accusation of hatemongering, which I consider to be directly and personally offensive. Upon due reflection, one might even consider an apology to be appropriate.

  15. Leadfeather says:

    I had the same reaction as Dutchmonkey and turned the review off after a few minutes. I came for a review of the movie not political commentary.

  16. Dutchmonkey says:

    Oh come now Sullydog, don’t pretend to be innocent here. The statements you used were extremely harsh and critical of not only the sitting administration in the United States, but also of the country as a whole. And that’s not REALLY what my problem was. My problem was with the delivery – COMPLETELY one-sided anti-American rhetoric.

    You call my statements “unsupportable” yet you yourself offer no support for your statements. I only listened to the review once, so forgive me if I get some specifics wrong, but I believe that I’m getting the gist of what you said correct:

    Point: “Bush ‘bravely’ stays in Washington while others fight for him”

    Counterpoint: I ask – What other modern national leaders have taken a front line position in a combat mission while sitting in office? (If there are any, I apologize, I just am not aware of any. But I am willing to cede this point if it can be shown that a non-minor fraction of sitting national leaders have in fact participated in front line war positions) If Bush is not in the minority here, then is it wrong of him to behave in such a way? Should it be expected of national leaders to be put in such a position? I am not against this kind of discussion. In fact, I would much rather hear THAT discussion rather than what I heard in the review.

    I would like to discuss other points brought up in the review but this post is getting rather wrong. I would, however, like to mention that yes, I WOULD like Steve to install Vista and try it out before delivering a monologue about how useless an OS it may be in front of a large audience who may or may not care what his opinion is. And calling it “highly suspect” is again spreading more of that FUD around. Bad form, Sullydog.

  17. Dutchmonkey says:

    Oops, post 17, last paragraph, first sentence should read: “I would like to discuss other points brought up in the review but this post is getting rather /long/.” An unfortunate typo, considering the subject matter. I apologize for missing it before submitting.

  18. Sullydog says:

    What you have not done in your post, which completely misses the point, is explain why my comments qualify as “hatemongering,” which I consider a vile and serious attack against me personally. As for my comments being “Anti-american,” I hesitate to grace that slur with any response at all. But against my better judgement I would simply point out that you know NOTHING about me, my service to my country, or my politics. You have no basis whatsoever for saying such a thing.

    In other words: you’re full of it.

    You can apologize, or afaic we have nothing else to say.

  19. Dutchmonkey says:

    I didn’t really want to get into a shoving match Sullydog, and you are correct that I know nothing about you other than what you choose to reveal.

    Saying you used hatemongering propaganda may have been a bit harsh, but in context of your review not by much. Again, I only listened to your review once and am going by memory here, but you consistently implied that this war was brought upon us by one man, George Bush, and that all the difficulties and even horrors that have occurred during and because of this war have been directly his fault. Maybe I’m reading a bit much into it, and I know that you were just poking fun, but this war has always been about more than one man and his desire for oil. I and everyone else I know desire our troops to come home as soon and as whole as possible. I don’t have the answer, you don’t have the answer, and it looks like the Bush Administration doesn’t have the answer either. However, this war WAS approved by congress and the American people as a whole at the time, and there are MANY more people in charge of the war than just President Bush, and to imply otherwise is a falsehood. I took issue with your flippant attitude toward the war and those who are suffering every day because of it – apparently all at the whim of our Cowboy President.

    Again, I merely was pointing out my dislike for your review of this movie. I appreciate the work you do for the podcast and the material that you provide, excluding this review obviously. If my use of the word hatemonger has has offended you, perhaps you need to think of those that you have offended. I know that I am not the only one, based on other posts within this page.

  20. roffle raptor says:

    all i can say is at alest the film is better than meet the spartans