300 (Zack Snyder, 2007)

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

#26 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:55 am

I with both duck and mnky on this. And moreover, are people really going to be lining up for 300 for its political undertones? And do you take the political undertones deathly serious from a film that has mutants in it?

User avatar
jbeall
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:22 am
Location: Atlanta-ish

#27 Post by jbeall » Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:56 pm

To be frank, I'm probably going to see it in theaters as well. It does look cool.

I'm just leery of films that reinforce unconscious assumptions that should be countered, not reinforced.

To take an example from Hidalgo (which really sucked): the film came out around the time Bush was pretending to be a gunslinging hero and telling us that the Iraqis wanted democracy (just like us!). And then we got this wretched film that shows a swaggering cowboy singlehandedly beating up the entire Middle East and a shiek (played by Omar Sharif, who should know better) who secretly wants to be a cowboy, just like the lone cracker in the film.

User avatar
sevenarts
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 7:22 pm
Contact:

#28 Post by sevenarts » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:58 pm

If you guys just wanna go enjoy it as action/violence entertainment, that's fine, go for it, nobody's stopping you. I certainly got a kick out of Sin City on that level. But 1) this film doesn't look like it'd entertain me on any level; and 2) Miller's right-wing views seem to be particularly present in the film as a hamfisted allegory of Bush vs. the Muslims. So I thought it was worth pointing out. Just because a movie is mainly a mass-market entertainment, we shouldn't apply any analytical thought to it? It's fine if you don't want to take the political undertones of the film seriously, but saying that we shouldn't even be pointing them out is just rank anti-intellectualism.

Now if somebody made the badass over-the-top lunatic epic film that could be spun from Miller's much-hated Dark Knight Strikes Again, I'd be there in a flash (and probably be the only one in the theater, but hey). But that's definitely not happening.

User avatar
toiletduck!
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:43 pm
Location: The 'Go
Contact:

#29 Post by toiletduck! » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:02 am

sevenarts wrote:It's fine if you don't want to take the political undertones of the film seriously, but saying that we shouldn't even be pointing them out is just rank anti-intellectualism.
Nah man, you go right ahead. All I'm saying is I don't understand why you would want to.

But to speak plainly, I'm on the side of anti-politicization, not anti-intellectualism. And they are entirely different things.

-Toilet Dcuk

User avatar
jbeall
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:22 am
Location: Atlanta-ish

#30 Post by jbeall » Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:37 pm

toiletduck! wrote:
sevenarts wrote:It's fine if you don't want to take the political undertones of the film seriously, but saying that we shouldn't even be pointing them out is just rank anti-intellectualism.
Nah man, you go right ahead. All I'm saying is I don't understand why you would want to.

But to speak plainly, I'm on the side of anti-politicization, not anti-intellectualism. And they are entirely different things.
But of course, the 'anti-political' stance (regarding cinema or anything else) is a political position, as both right- and left-wing culture warriors are quick to point out.

Last semester I assigned Roland Barthes' Mythologies to my students. Barthes does a wonderful job showing how even seemingly innocuous objects and images reinforce the cultural assumptions of the producing society. On a more basic level, the vast majority of moviegoers don't like movies that fail to tell them something (about love, honor, authority) that they take for granted.

To come back to 300 for a moment. I haven't read any interviews with Frank Miller, so I don't know what his politics are. Having read the comic, I do know what its politics are, and I disagree with them. But I feel justified in enjoying the comic because at least I've bothered to think about them, as opposed to the oceans and oceans of passive readers/moviegoers who haven't.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

#31 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:55 pm

jbeall wrote:But of course, the 'anti-political' stance (regarding cinema or anything else) is a political position, as both right- and left-wing culture warriors are quick to point out.
What those "culture warriors" point out isn't much.
jbeall wrote:Last semester I assigned Roland Barthes' Mythologies to my students. Barthes does a wonderful job showing how even seemingly innocuous objects and images reinforce the cultural assumptions of the producing society. On a more basic level, the vast majority of moviegoers don't like movies that fail to tell them something (about love, honor, authority) that they take for granted.
Hmm. That's great for understanding culture, but it's not very helpful for understanding art.

I'm just taking leisurely Sunday swipes at thinkers I don't like.

If the film's politics interest me (and politics usually don't), it's on the level of historical comparison; meaning, how the film's politics differ from the actual politics of the time period, and why that's really funny in context (because it usually is).

Grimfarrow
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:35 am
Location: Hong Kong

#32 Post by Grimfarrow » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:45 am

The whole affair seems curiously homoerotic - not sure yet if I'm going to take the time to see this in Berlin, though my curiosity is piqued.
Well Miller was saying how he's sitting in front of a microphone which their culture couldn't have ever produced.
This is such a lame statement, especially considering that our numeral system is derived from Arabic.

User avatar
Fletch F. Fletch
Big fan of the former president
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah

#33 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:54 pm

toiletduck! wrote:And more importantly, violence and sex that looks really neat! I'm with you on this one, Mnky. Whether or not I will enjoy it remains to be seen, but I can guaran-fucking-tee that the politics of the film won't be the dealbreaker.
Speaking of which, Snyder's next film is supposed to be an adaptation of Watchmen. It should be interesting to see how he tackles the politics in that one.
Antoine Doinel wrote:As for Watchmen, I'll believe it when I see it. That film has been in development hell for years. Have they even finalized a script yet?
It sounds like it.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

#34 Post by Matt » Mon Jan 29, 2007 4:56 pm

Grimfarrow wrote:The whole affair seems curiously homoerotic
It's the only reason I plan to see it.

User avatar
toiletduck!
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:43 pm
Location: The 'Go
Contact:

#35 Post by toiletduck! » Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:08 pm

Gerard Butler often has that effect. And this is coming from the curiously heteroerotic.

-Toilet Dcuk

User avatar
Lino
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:18 am
Location: Sitting End
Contact:

#36 Post by Lino » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:22 pm

toiletduck! wrote:Gerard Butler often has that effect.
Agreed. The man is hot.

Cinesimilitude
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:43 am

#37 Post by Cinesimilitude » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:30 pm

If Lena Headey doesn't get her babylons out for peace in this, I'll be incredibly disappointed.

User avatar
Michael
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:09 pm

#38 Post by Michael » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:35 pm

My partner and I saw the trailer (attached to Pan's Labyrinth) - a few moments of hot explosive meat, close to porn for both of us. We agreed we have to go see it when it comes out.

Grimfarrow
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:35 am
Location: Hong Kong

#39 Post by Grimfarrow » Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:11 am

Matt wrote:
Grimfarrow wrote:The whole affair seems curiously homoerotic
It's the only reason I plan to see it.
Truth be told, me too! :)

User avatar
barrym71
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:52 pm
Location: NYC

#40 Post by barrym71 » Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:03 pm

Grimfarrow wrote:
Matt wrote:
Grimfarrow wrote:The whole affair seems curiously homoerotic
It's the only reason I plan to see it.
Truth be told, me too! :)
Sigh. Me too. Saw the trailer last night and I could not stop laughing. I doubt very much I'm in the target audience for this, but I'm buying a ticket for the spectacle.

DrewReiber
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 3:27 am

#41 Post by DrewReiber » Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:50 pm

I don't know why I'm bothering, because I'm sure I'm going to be torn apart for saying it... but if you actually pay attention to Dawn of the Dead, it becomes clear that Zack Snyder has major homophobic issues. I thought the business on the television about the preacher blaming the apocalypse on "men sleeping with men" was just atmosphere, but then he created one of the most blatantly predatory homosexual stereotypes I saw that year (probably longer than that). I also found the other ethnically diverse characters in the film to pretty much fit the mildly-racist molds of minority horror caricatures.

I was in such complete disbelieve at the film's negative qualities, especially the festishistic worship of violence... even down to the angles that exaggerated the proportions of their pistols while firing. I decided I had to show the film to a friend of mine, who was equally floored and disturbed. As we had rented the DVD, we listened to chunks of the commentary and it was just rife with insanity. Snyder talked about how much he liked the scene where the preacher blamed gays and then went on to talk about how the gay stereotype reminded of him of somebody and "you may not believe this, but the actor is not actually gay". I'm pretty sure those comments actually creeped out the producer, who was also sitting for it.

300 is not at all suprising in it's sexually charged violence that borders homo-eroticism. I also don't think it's all that much of a leap to assume that his issues may stem from actual sexual confusion. As a filmmaker, I think he's blissfully unaware and just following his dumb, confused instincts on what's "cool", which is why you're going to see so much slow-mo, goat-headed warriors and orgres. What actually disturbs me is that his blind obsession with violence is once again undercut with blatantly xenophobic and right-wing messages.

Just as he used the zombie apocalypse as an excuse to showcase and sensationalize violence towards characters he portrayed as less than desired or worth hate, I have no doubt he will end up (unconsciously?) projecting onto the enemies in this film similiarly implied relationships to real life. Not with thought, or balance or tact... but with stone-cold dehumanization and vague rationalizations such as "freedom" (from the slave-owning Spartans?) and the cultural right to dominate others. I just cannot express enough how the remake of Dawn of the Dead represented everything I find dangerously panderous to the worst elements of mainstream audiences, especially in a day and age when we sell torture porn like "Saw" to audiences who are doing everything they can to numb themselves to the same issue in our politics. Just because it's not intentionally functioning as propoganda does not mean it is not exploiting the same empty, pro-death carthesis.

Anyway, sorry, it's just I've been reading this thread for weeks now and I really needed to get it off my chest. I do agree that there is a lot of anti-intellectualism on this board (just visit the Lynch thread, yeesh) and that there is no reason there should not at least be some discussion as to the emotionally and cultural impact a film like 300 and it's aethestics can have, especially when it's being sold as simple candy while simultaneously acting so transparently.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

#42 Post by Matt » Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:03 pm

I hope I'm not being anti-intellectual by saying this, but some of the best homoeroticism is created by those who had no intention of doing so. I don't remember the parts of Dawn of the Dead you're referring to and I'm not surprised that the director of a zombie movie remake (technically skilled though he might be) is neither tactful nor sensitive when it comes to issues of sexuality. I imagine he'll have the last laugh on me when I pay $5 or so to see 2 hours worth of slo-mo CGI and makeup-enhanced abs, but it's my ultimate revenge to not take his work seriously.

Cinesimilitude
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:43 am

#43 Post by Cinesimilitude » Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:19 pm

Matt wrote:I hope I'm not being anti-intellectual by saying this, but some of the best homoeroticism is created by those who had no intention of doing so.
I wonder, did Tony Scott ever record a commentary for Top Gun?

User avatar
Lino
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:18 am
Location: Sitting End
Contact:

#44 Post by Lino » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:30 am

Nah, Snyder is not homophobic. He's just in denial, that's all.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

#45 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:47 am

The problem I had with the remake of Dawn of the Dead (apart from the sacriligeous use of the title! :wink: ) was that so many opportunities were created and squandered. For example the gun shop being located across the street had a lot of potential, but it was used in the simplest 'gotta get my dog' way of developing the plot. Watching it again over the weekend I was also struck by the way you show a very exciting scene of the trucks plowing through a sea of zombies, but nothing of the carnage that would create! No wheels crushing (or popping) bodies, no tyres slipping on entrails and blood (which at least would provide a better motivation for the subsequent crash than just poor driving!), and even more importantly, no aftermath scenes with bits of zombies crawling away from the scene!

Despite ratings issues it would create, that would be a scene that someone like Peter Jackson would have made sure to get (the inserts of the lead character's feet slipping and sliding on all the blood are a big part of making the lawnmower scene from Braindead disgustingly funny!). In that sense I feel the remake truly was the action film it was marketed as, concerned with events and shock scenes as a way of moving the plot forward to the (disappointing) conclusion, rather than having an importance in and of themselves. That emphasis meant that there literally was no time to enjoy the mall, then feel stifled by it, then feel violated by the biker gang attacking it, as in the original (the remake characters don't need a biker gang to wreck things very nicely themselves #-o ); or to have moments to reflect on the violence just passed, or still to come that were abundant in Romero's trilogy.

I would say, though, that the one moment in the truck with the chainsaw inspired just what I've been talking about, the shock and horrified laughter from me that I had hoped to find in the rest of the film. But there was no lasting impact from that event, which makes me think they chose the wrong girl, it really should have been the girl with the dog, who they had safely ensconced in the other truck! That would have drastically altered the dynamics of the film!

However the opening of the remake is brilliant, I can see why in an age of not showing films early the decision was made to show the whole pre-credit sequence on TV here to promote the cinema release.

Another thing I was wondering is why they chose an ending very similar to Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive film?

User avatar
jbeall
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:22 am
Location: Atlanta-ish

#46 Post by jbeall » Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:42 pm

Matt wrote:I hope I'm not being anti-intellectual by saying this, but some of the best homoeroticism is created by those who had no intention of doing so. I don't remember the parts of Dawn of the Dead you're referring to and I'm not surprised that the director of a zombie movie remake (technically skilled though he might be) is neither tactful nor sensitive when it comes to issues of sexuality. I imagine he'll have the last laugh on me when I pay $5 or so to see 2 hours worth of slo-mo CGI and makeup-enhanced abs, but it's my ultimate revenge to not take his work seriously.
I suspect he'll be crying all the way to the bank.

User avatar
Fletch F. Fletch
Big fan of the former president
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah

#47 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:40 pm

colinr0380 wrote:The problem I had with the remake of Dawn of the Dead (apart from the sacriligeous use of the title! :wink: ) was that so many opportunities were created and squandered.
I agree with all of the points you made. I too had problems with this film, first and foremost the notion of remaking a film that quite simply didn't need to be remade (I dread the impending Day of the Dead remake) and even though Romero's own Land of the Dead had its problems, I thought that it was infinitely better and more thought-provoking than anything in Snyder's film.

But we shall see with 300. Snyder seems on perhaps firmer territory with this one as he seems to be a comic book aficianado and perhaps this will bode well for the film. If anything, it will be a visually stunning spectacle.

User avatar
John Cope
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:40 pm
Location: where the simulacrum is true

#48 Post by John Cope » Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:13 pm

Matt wrote:I hope I'm not being anti-intellectual by saying this, but some of the best homoeroticism is created by those who had no intention of doing so.
Well, I just re-watched Mailer's fascinating mess Tough Guys Don't Dance and I have to say that there are few movies which provide more insight into the hysterical acts of self-denial that accompany blatant machismo. It's a valuable study. Whether it was meant to be is another question.

For a similar look from a similar period, check out Peter Medak's The Men's Club.

DrewReiber
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 3:27 am

#49 Post by DrewReiber » Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:30 pm

Fletch F. Fletch wrote:Snyder seems on perhaps firmer territory with this one as he seems to be a comic book aficianado and perhaps this will bode well for the film.
I would be careful on that bit of speculation, because Snyder's already admitted to a casual dismissiveness towards various elements and consistency of realism from the book. I saw an interview where he was bragging about the his random insertion of Lord of the Ring elements and his argument was basically, "Why not"? As I understand it, a key character arc was deleted and there are further changes to the story that were more about omission than substitution. Miller's comments on the film so far have just been "we'll see".

User avatar
jbeall
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:22 am
Location: Atlanta-ish

#50 Post by jbeall » Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:41 pm

DrewReiber wrote:
Fletch F. Fletch wrote:Snyder seems on perhaps firmer territory with this one as he seems to be a comic book aficianado and perhaps this will bode well for the film.
I would be careful on that bit of speculation, because Snyder's already admitted to a casual dismissiveness towards various elements and consistency of realism from the book. I saw an interview where he was bragging about the his random insertion of Lord of the Ring elements and his argument was basically, "Why not"? As I understand it, a key character arc was deleted and there are further changes to the story that were more about omission than substitution. Miller's comments on the film so far have just been "we'll see".
That doesn't necessarily annoy me when it happens, as movies should be faithful to their own medium. Although Sin City worked well as a frame-by-frame adaptation of a comic, I think it's the exception, not the rule. I find The Lord of the Rings far superior to the original books--Tom Bombadil, anyone?--for precisely this reason.

On the other hand, it's not like 300 is a sprawling epic with too many plotlines to include in the film. I read the entire comic in 30-45 minutes. I can't see what Snyder could possibly cut without deviating rather drastically from Miller's vision.

I plan on seeing 300 and I want to like it, I really do. But if you can't already tell from my earlier posts, I'm steeling myself for disappointment (which probably means I'll be pleasantly surprised!).

Post Reply