Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sometimes a scimitar is just a scimitar

Some coworkers were discussing the movie 300 earlier today, noting that it brought in a staggering $71 million in its first weekend (nearly enough to cover KCMO's TIF tax bill for a year).

For those of you not paying attention to current events (or for those of you in Independence), 300 is the new motion picture adaptation of the comic book graphic novel by Frank Miller. It depicts, in a loosely historical account, a battle between the ancient Greeks and ancient Persians.

Let me be clear, I haven't seen the movie yet. And based on my Supermodel Wife's taste in cinema, I probably won't see it until it comes to HBO and I can DVR it.

But I have read/heard a lot about it. According to my many inside sources* it's essentially a wall-to-wall fighting fest with generous doses of CGI animated gore. Like Apocalypto without the storyline.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Sometimes you just need an hour and a half of fantasy blood and guts to exorcise our baser savage instincts -- very much like NFL, hockey and KMBC Channel 9 News.

Of course, a person can interpret a book/movie/song/whatever in any way they want. But sometimes interpretation is taken way too far. Case in point is this AP story.
The hit American movie “300” has angered Iranians who say the Greeks-vs-Persians action flick insults their ancient culture and provokes animosity against Iran.
The offended Iranians say the movie denigrates them by portraying them as flamboyant, savage and evil. They say that the film is aimed at inflaming public opinion against Iran.

Frankly, I think the Iranians are giving Hollywood too much credit. Consider the source material (the original comic book graphic novel) and the audience for this movie (your 12-40 year old male) and I think you'll begin to see my point.

How many Americans from this demographic could even find Iran on a map? How many think of Persia in the context of anything but a rug?

Besides, if the Iranians are worried that people will think of them as decadent barbarians bent upon destruction, they might want to rethink their strategy of being an Islamist state with the stated goal of wiping the Jewish state off the map.

*© Greg Beck at Death's Door

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