"The 300" was the center of quite a bit of attention from the Right-Wing in it's depiction of the epic battle of Western civilization against the godless hordes of Eastern savages. As much as I happy that conservatives are warming to the idea of trying to understand subtext I think they're wildly overextending by identifying with the Spartans depicted in this movie. Although the depiction a horde of half-naked, oiled and muscled men did give off a Jeff Gannon vibe that I'm sure hit a note with that weird element of the conservative subconscious in which they are similarly suppressing their wildest desires at the same time they're violently against those same desires when they see them openly expressed in others.
"Freedom isn't free."
"The 300" was made for one reason only - to depict the violence inherent in ancient warfare as realistically as possible using today's state of the are computer graphics. If you're looking for deeper meaning in this movie than I feel sorry for you. Sure, there are tons of throwaway lines like the above that sound like they might be something that could fall out of George W. Bush's mouth during any of his speeches but really the expositional portions of the movie are filler to get to another crackerjack actions scene.
Clash of civilizations? The Persian empire displayed in this movie was a cartoonish, looking glass view that fell somewhere between the hordes of maniacal bikers populating the desert in Mad Max and Peter Jackson's orcish armies which seemed to heavily influence many parts of the film. One would have to be a simpleton of the highest order to take this depiction of Persian culture at face value.
In contrast the children's movie "Happy Feet" was the target of quite a bit of conservative bile a few months back. They hated the film's categorizing of religious zealots among the penguin leadership as the crazy ones. They despised the film's environmental message. They loathed the dancing penguins. Especially the dancing penguins.
The criticism of this movie that I've read was still fresh in mind as I watched which left me to ask myself "what the hell kind of people have a problem with a movie this good?" Yes- it had a blatant ally pro-environmental message but it was never that heavy-handed and wasn't central to the story. Yes - the devoutly religious penguins in the film are a actually antagonists but a couple of points might be important to point out here: they're cartoon penguins and they're god is great penguin in the sky. C'mon.
How many films have we seen in out lifetimes where those that resist change are the bad guys? It's hardly something new that conservatives would be the villains in a film. Film, all drama, is about a protagonist doing something and changing. The forces that line up against that protagonist and resist that change are what create the drama. Don't like that? Stop going to movies.
So to sum up, conservatives -
- Like half-naked, well-muscled men.
- Like empty slogans.
- Hate dancing penguins.
- Don't much like to have the penguin-god mocked.
- Prefer much less pro-environmental stuff in their pro-environmental movie.
- Still seemed confused between cartoons and real life. (see George W. Bush)