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Movie 300: A tale of pure fantasy


By Daniel M Pourkesali


Being an Iranian and having heard of all the many negative remarks, petitions, and other complaints, I decided to see the movie "300" for myself while fully prepared to be totally offended.   But after stomaching two hours of the most gruesome graphic scenes, I walked out feeling sorrier for the Greeks.


The viewer must be forewarned that the movie, although loosely connected to Battle of Thermopylae, an event that took place in 480BC,  is entirely based on Frank Miller's fictional comic [1] of the same name and judging from what I saw, it is a faithful rework of that novel . Persian King Xerxes, for example, is not as the bearded figure perched on his throne as depicted on the walls of Persepolis[2], but a bald man with pierced nose and ears wearing jewels and displaying somewhat ambiguous sexuality. The Spartan King Leonidas also closely resembles the character from Miller’s book.


Xerxes on the wall of Persepolis Palace



Xerxes character in Movie “300” and in Miller’s novel



Leonidas character in Movie “300” and in Miller’s novel



Having read the Greek historian Herodotus account of the events at Thermopylae, one can't help but find Miller's version poorly written and very shallow.  There is hardly any depth to his portrayal of Greek Spartans as they are reduced to bloodthirsty savages whose only aim in life is to do war and yell "SPARTA" each time they stab a Persian warrior.


This heavily fictionalized film shows the mad Greeks battling wild beasts, giants, and fang toothed men totally degrading one of the key battles in Greco-Persian history. They face not the army of Xerxes described by Herodotus, but that of monstrous beings from some distant Sci-Fi universe.


Historical purists looking for an accurate reenactment of the battle at Thermopylae will be sorely disappointed but fans of Frank Miller’s comic novels and those into graphic and gory video games are in for a treat.







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