Omid Memarian

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The movie "300" : Inaccurate and Insulting !?

"To all Iranians, and all those who know and respect ancient Persian history and culture :

A new movie called "300" is opening on March 9th in theatres all over the United States, sponsored and made by Warner Brothers Pictures.It is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller which portrays the battleof Thermopylae in which King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fight againstXerxes and his Persian army.Upon seeing the previews of this movie, it immediately becomes clear that apart from the actual names used in it, the entire depiction of thisbattle is based on fantasy.Xerxes and his army are shown as monster-like men, with attire andattitudes that can only be seen among demons.It is obvious that attempts have been made to purposefully insult ancient Persians.Please take a moment to sign the following petition to boycott thisinsulting and inaccurate movie, in the hope that our voices may be heard. And please don't hesitate to circulate it among as many people aspossible!"

16 Comments:

At 1:53 AM , Blogger brando said...

Where's my Sin City petition? I don't want people thinking that Americans look like Mickey Rourke.

 
At 10:44 AM , Anonymous Jimbo said...

300 is based on a Frank Miller comic book. It's based on fiction and not facts. Signing that petition would as dumb as finding Monty Python's Life of Bryan offensive to Christianity. "Just my two cents," like they say in the US of A! :p :o)

 
At 11:41 AM , Anonymous serendip said...

This is only a symptom of bigger problem which is not only unique to Iranian but all minorities. Remember the Italian-American outrage in regards to the organized crime Portrayal of Italainas when the TV series, 'The Suprano' first aired on HBO? Being a minority community in the US, everything is magnified and exploited by some who have other agendas in mind to created more division and hostilities.

Omid: Have you ever heard of 'No Irish Need Apply' or did you know they called Italian-Americans as 'blackies' in not so distant past in the US?

 
At 12:16 PM , Blogger Omid Memarian said...

brando, Jimbo, and serendip thanks for your comments. I have just put the petition on my blog about an emerging objection against a movie which I havent seen. It shows diffrent approached to a story...Jimbo and Serendip's opinions are thw other side of the story.

 
At 12:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If 300 was touted as an actual historical portrayal, the outrage indicated by this petition would be somewhat valid. However, it is based on a comic book. It is the creative fantasy of a comic book genius. The mere connection drawn by Tinoush and others only emphasizes the trouble with Iranians when it comes to the arts and literature: these are separate creative spheres that exist independently of politics and politicians

 
At 11:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omid:
Below is today's review of "300" by the chief movie critic of the NY
Times, A.O. Scott. It would seem that if the movie is half as bad as
Scott says it is, it will disappear from the movie screens pretty soon!!
Scott's opening sentence sets his sarcastic tone.

Some of your Iranian friends might want to trace how many screens it
opened to this weekend, and then how quickly those number of screens
diminish in the next few weeks, in comparison to other films. The
inaccuracies about Ancient Persia in "300"are just one element in this trashy
exercise, which started as a graphic novel, with all the excesses of that
genre.

Charlie

March 9, 2007
MOVIE REVIEW | '300'
Battle of the Manly Men: Blood Bath With a Message
By A. O. SCOTT
"300" is about as violent as "Apocalypto" and twice as stupid. Adapted
from a graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, it offers up a
bombastic spectacle of honor and betrayal, rendered in images that might
have been airbrushed onto a customized van sometime in the late 1970s.
The basic story is a good deal older. It's all about the ancient Battle
of Thermopylae, which unfolded at a narrow pass on the coast of Greece
whose name translates as Hot Gates.

Hot Gates, indeed! Devotees of the pectoral, deltoid and other fine
muscle groups will find much to savor as King Leonidas (Gerard Butler)
leads 300 prime Spartan porterhouses into battle against Persian forces
commanded by Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), a decadent self-proclaimed deity
who wants, as all good movie villains do, to rule the world.

The Persians, pioneers in the art of facial piercing, have vastly
greater numbers -- including ninjas, dervishes, elephants, a charging rhino
and an angry bald giant -- but the Spartans clearly have superior
health clubs and electrolysis facilities. They also hew to a warrior ethic
of valor and freedom that makes them, despite their gleeful appetite for
killing, the good guys in this tale. (It may be worth pointing out that
unlike their mostly black and brown foes, the Spartans and their fellow
Greeks are white.)

But not all the Spartans back in Sparta support their king on his
mission. A gaggle of sickly, corrupt priests, bought off by the Persians,
consult an oracular exotic dancer whose topless gyrations lead to a
warning against going to war. And the local council is full of appeasers and
traitors, chief among them a sardonic, shifty-eyed smoothy named Theron
(Dominic West, known to fans of "The Wire" as the irrepressible
McNulty).

Too cowardly to challenge Leonidas man to man, he fixes his attention
on Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), a loyal wife and Spartan patriot who
fights the good fight on the home front. Gorgo understands her husband's
noble purpose, the higher cause for which he is willing to sacrifice his
life. "Come home with your shield or on it," she tells him as he heads
off into battle after a night of somber marital whoopee. Later she
observes that "freedom is not free."

Another movie -- Matt Stone and Trey Parker's "Team America," whose
wooden puppets were more compelling actors than most of the cast of "300"
-- calculated the cost at $1.05. I would happily pay a nickel less, in
quarters or arcade tokens, for a vigorous 10-minute session with the
video game that "300" aspires to become. Its digitally tricked-up color
scheme, while impressive at times, is hard to tolerate for nearly two
hours (true masochists can seek out the Imax version), and the hectic
battle scenes would be much more exciting in the first person. I want to
chop up some Persians too!

Video
More Video »
There are a few combat sequences that achieve a grim, brutal grandeur,
notably an early engagement in which the Spartans, hunkered behind
their shields, push back against a Persian line, forcing enemy soldiers off
a cliff into the water. The big idea, spelled out over and over in
voice-over and dialogue in case the action is too subtle, is that the free,
manly men of Sparta fight harder and more valiantly than the enslaved
masses under Xerxes' command. Allegory hunters will find some gristly
morsels of topicality tossed in their direction, but you can find many of
the same themes, conveyed with more nuance and irony, in a Pokémon
cartoon.

Zack Snyder's first film, a remake of George Romero's "Dawn of the
Dead," showed wit as well as technical dexterity. While some of that
filmmaking acumen is evident here, the script for "300," which he wrote with
Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon, is weighed down by the lumbering
portentousness of the original book, whose arresting images are
themselves undermined by the kind of pomposity that frequently mistakes itself
for genius.

In time, "300" may find its cultural niche as an object of camp
derision, like the sword-and-sandals epics of an earlier,
pre-computer-generated-imagery age. At present, though, its muscle-bound, grunting
self-seriousness is more tiresome than entertaining. Go tell the Spartans,
whoever they are, to stay home and watch wrestling.

"300" is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult
guardian). Much butchery, some lechery.

300

Opens today nationwide.

Directed by Zack Snyder; written by Mr. Snyder, Kurt Johnstad and
Michael B. Gordon, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn
Varley; director of photography, Larry Fong; edited by William Hoy; music by
Tyler Bates; production designer, James Bissell; produced by Gianni
Nunnari, Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann and Jeffrey Silver; released by
Warner Brothers Pictures. Running time: 116 minutes.

WITH: Gerard Butler (King Leonidas), Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo), Dominic
West (Theron), David Wenham (Dilios), Vincent Regan (Captain), Michael
Fassbender (Stelios), Tom Wisdom (Astinos), Andrew Pleavin (Daxos),
Andrew Tiernan (Ephialtes) and Rodrigo Santoro (Xerxes).

 
At 9:07 AM , Anonymous Jimbo said...

Ay karramba, that was one looong comment!

I thought you might find THIS interesting.

I haven't seen 300 yet, but it's on top of my "to download" list. Will decide whether to rant on the film or the petition after I'm done watching it.

 
At 11:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://300themovie.info/

 
At 5:47 AM , Anonymous Elias said...

Im persian like you I dont how can show the American our culture but Iran is /was / will No. 1

 
At 6:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why everyone seems to want to take offence to everything possible nowadays. ITS A FILM OF FICTION! There are far bigger problems in our world to worry about than this. How about focusing on something important!

 
At 7:54 AM , Anonymous J Olson said...

Omid,

There is no reason to politicize the movie 300. The graphic novel was released in May of 1998. Inspired somewhat by the orginal movie "The 300 Spartans" made in 1962. Those events are long before any anamosity towards the recent events taking place in Iran.

Besides, most westerners have no clue that Persia is now in modern day Iran. But you're connecting dots that need not be connected.

I think that your blog is very important in helping to educate. However, this attempt chastise a fictional rendition of 'true events' hurts your cause and in my opinion makes complaining Iranians seem petty. Focus on the real issues, if you make Iranians sound like victims in western society, you will lose a lot of support.

 
At 5:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's important for everybody to remember that these stories are just that...stories. The historical records of this time are hazy at best, so is it really responsible for opponents of the film to say that the makers have distorted facts? And to assume that there is some "hidden agenda" within the film is nothing more than conspiracy theorists looking for fodder. It's a movie BASED on a historical event. Period. It never claims to be anything but.

 
At 6:28 AM , Anonymous 300film said...

hi
goog blog.
thank you for your activities.

 
At 11:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU CANT JUSTIFY DISRESPECTING A WHOLE NATION BY SAYING ITS A MOVIE.FALSELY REPRESENTING THE IRANIANS ARMY AS WEAK WHEN THEY ARE STRONG AND REPRESENTING THE NATIONS HISTORICAL FIGURES AS FOOLISH IS INSULTING.
IT HAS BEEN RELEASED AT A CONTRAVERSIAL TIME IN ORDER TO CAUSE CONTRAVERSY. ENGLISH AND AMERICANS PROBABLY WONT UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE GET UPSET WHEN THEIR HISTORY IS SLATED. NEITHER ENGLISH OR AMERICANS CAN BE VERY PROUD OF THEIR OWN HISTORY AND THEY SEEM INCAPABLE TO SHOW RESPECT FOR OTHERS.

 
At 5:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The movie is wildly innaccurate historically, but it's not meant as a political statement. If you think otherwise, then you would do well to remember that the Persians aren't the only ones to have been made to look bad by the changes.

The 300 went to battle on the direct orders of Sparta; they were in no way rebelling or breaking the law. The main army simply couldn't be deployed during the religous festival. The behaviour of the Spartans back in Sparta is appalling, as they refuse to back one or their two Kings who is defending their country.

All a pack of lies; is the movie, then, an attack on Sparta and Greece as well?

What about the man who betrays the Spartans? In reality, almost certainly a local Greek (Herodotus in fact names a specific man, whose name lived in infamy the way Judas does nowadays in Christian mythology).

But the movie says it was a deformed and bitter Spartan.

Wrong on all counts.

It also omits from the last stand the Thebans (who may have been forced to stay) and the Thespians (who elected to stay entirely voluntarily) as well as over 1000 Helots (slaves of the Spartans) who also stood and held their ground to the last man. Should the people of those cities be angry too? They have, after all, be denied their proudest moment in history.

Yes, the historical changes make both sides look bad - and maybe the Persions come off worse. That's not political; that's metaphore. Done poorly at times, it must be said, but metaphore nonetheless.

But at least we were spared seeing what Xerxes had done to the corpse of Leonadis when it was recovered from the battlefield.

Now if you wanted the Persians to look evil, then THAT is something you would show. And it would be absolutely, 100% historically accurate, as attested by witnesses of the day. Or Xerxes could be shown whipping a river which refused to obey him (also true).

If the guy had wanted to attack the Persians, he could have done a much better job, using historically accurate information, rather than just have a huge army with some demons in it to use as a handy metaphore.

 
At 10:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a movie based on a comic book. Your real beef is with the comic book, which portrayed these characters in the exact same way.

I'm not going to see the film because it looks dumb, but seriously... it's a movie about a comic book interpretation! Comic books have demonic villains and super heroes. Get over it and go boycott Batman.

 

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