Remember this day, men, for it will be yours for all time.
When the first teaser for the movie 300 came out some time last summer, I was stunned. It was gorgeous. Absolutely spectacular. Doing an even better job of capturing Frank Miller's hyper-realistic visuals than Sin City. I would watch it over and over again, never losing excitement. I became obsessed with the movie, working myself into a froth about how I just knew it was going to be the greatest movie I had ever seen. Give them nothing! But take from them everything!
But obsessed in a strange way. Although I had the trailer in an endless loop in my head, I really didn't want to know anything else about the movie. I didn't read pre-release reviews. I didn't look for images or clips on the web. I didn't even read the graphic novel, even though I'm a huge Frank Miller fan. This was because, although I loved Sin City, I found myself comparing every scene to its corresponding frame in the comic book. I wanted to go into 300 more pure. A new age has come, an age of freedom. And all will know that 300 Spartans gave their last breath to defend it.
There were ample reasons why I was so excited about this movie. First, I love Frank Miller. Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, Daredevil. His graphic novels and comics have always hit me on a very visceral level, and I was sure that 300 wouldn't be any different, not reading it only because I wanted the purer film experience. Second, I have always loved Greek legend and lore. As a child, I read all about the Greek gods. As a teenager, I read the Illiad and Odyssey, not for any school assignment, but because I wanted to. In college, I read dozens of Greek plays, some for class but many for pleasure. And while the battle of Thermopylae certainly happened, this particular telling of it falls clearly in the legend and mythology category, not strict historical accuracy. Thirdly, this movie simply looked like a checklist of everything that I love in movies. Heroic men making speeches and fighting and dying for what they believe in. Strong women doing the same. Blood, sex, and magic, and lots of it. Strong and memorable visual, music, and dialog. Idealism. This is where we fight! This is where they die!
So after 6 months of psyching myself up, there was certainly no way for the film to live up to my expectations. But it tried really damn hard. And I do love this film. For all of the reasons that I stated above. So what if the first half hour was a little slow. And the actual movie used different and more subdued musical cues than the trailers that I have drilled into my head. And that the inevitable betrayal was really obvious. Who cares? This movie ownes like few others, and I will see it again. And again. And again. "This is madness," you say? MADNESS? THIS IS SPARTA!