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March 05, 2007

"300" Seen As Pro-Defense-of-Civilization Propaganda, And The Left Doesn't Like It One Bit

By the white beard of Zeus! And I thought we were just talking about a movie here! I thought artists had be permitted the freedom to explore controversial ideas!

Well, not so much. Ideas which are controversial among Those Who Need The Elites' Moral Instruction are to be incessantly explored, whereas anything that discomfits the Teachable Moment Left is to be branded as vile.

LOS ANGELES, March 4 — Three weeks ago a handful of reporters at an international press junket here for the Warner Brothers movie “300,” about the battle of Thermopylae some 2,500 years ago, cornered the director Zack Snyder with an unanticipated question.

“Is George Bush Leonidas or Xerxes?” one of them asked.

The questioner, by Mr. Snyder’s recollection, insisted that Mr. Bush was Xerxes, the Persian emperor who led his force against Greek’s city states in 480 B.C., unleashing an army on a small country guarded by fanatical guerilla fighters so he could finish a job his father had left undone. More likely, another reporter chimed in, Mr. Bush was Leonidas, the Spartan king who would defend freedom at any cost.


Walt Disney largely sidestepped arguments about whether its Pixar-created animated film “The Incredibles” was quietly channeling Ayn Rand. “We feel that the longer we either refute or debate a subject like that, the more the story will live,” said Dennis Rice, senior vice president of marketing for Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures unit. “So we chose to do nothing.”

Executives at Warner, which is releasing “300” in the United States on Friday declined to discuss the studio’s approach in marketing the film. Billboards and trailers, seeming to mirror Disney’s tack with “The Incredibles,” have focused heavily on the picture’s battle action and visual flamboyance — “Prepare for Glory!” runs the most oft-repeated advertising line — while avoiding some deeper story elements that are stirring unexpectedly heated reactions, especially abroad.

Shortly after his press-junket grilling Mr. Snyder — an established commercials director, whose best-known previous credit was a remake of George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” — ran into some surprising reactions at the Berlinale film festival in Germany. Some attendees walked out of a screening there, while others insisted on seeing its presentation of the Spartans’ defense of Western civilization in the face of a Persian horde as propaganda for America’s position vis-à-vis Iraq and Iran. (By contrast it drew applause at a Los Angeles screening last month.)

“Don’t you think it’s interesting that your movie was funded at this point?” Mr. Snyder recalled being asked in Berlin. “The implication was that funding came from the U.S. government.”

Not so. Funding may have come from media-controlling, warmongering Jews as well.


According to Deborah Snyder, Mr. Snyder’s wife and an executive producer of “300” (which has more than a dozen credited producers of various levels, including Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari), some changes to Mr. Miller’s original story may have inadvertently amplified its political resonance.

In a key twist Mr. Snyder and his collaborators expanded the presence of Gorgo, the Spartan queen and Leonidas’s wife, including, among other things, a sequence in which she inspires a wavering populace and weak-willed council to resist the Eastern armies even at the cost of battle deaths. “Her story is that she is trying to rally the troops,” said Ms. Snyder, who dismissed as irrelevant a question about her and her husband’s personal political philosophies.

Mr. Snyder acknowledged that Mr. Miller — who declined to be interviewed for this article — had opened the door for contemporary comparisons with his passionate, if not entirely accurate, portrayal of the ancient Spartans as saviors of Western civilization. “He’d be on their side regardless of who they were fighting, because he just loves them,” Mr. Snyder said.

The director was responsible for the nearly-perfect Dawn of the Dead remake? And refuses to answer questions about his politics?

Well! Refusing to talk about one's politics in Hollywood is like refusing to talk about one's sexuality -- the very fact you won't simply acknowledge the default, prevalent choice speaks volumes.

This brings to mind what I think was one of the most controversial one-second images in recent movie fare -- something so hiddeously offensive and outrageous that not a damn person except me seems to have noticed it.

In the first few post-teaser shots in Dawn of the Dead -- a movie, of course, about a civilization destroyed by mindless, psychopathic hyperviolence -- a shot of Muslims bowing in unison in a mosque is shown.

That can play two different ways, of course. It can just be seen as suggestive of the apocalypic end-time scenarios described in many religions. A suggestion made famously by the original Dawn of the Dead's promotional tag-line: When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth..

On the other hand, it can be seen as suggesting a metaphor between the mindless death and destruction wrought by the film's anti-civilization, anti-human, primitive zombies and the mindless death and destruction wrought by the real world's anti-civilization, anti-human primitive Islamicists.

I don't know which message Snyder intended. I do know for a fact -- based on skills -- that he's smart enough to know the shot could be taken either way, and didn't seem particularly bothered by that.

So Zack Snyder finds himself directing another movie about the defense of Western civilization against viral insanity?

Hmm. Good to know.

We pretty much know where Frank Miller -- who declined to be interviewed for this article ("My sexuality is none of your business") -- stands on similar issues:

After never fully believing in patriotism and the U.S. flag, Miller discusses how the events of 9/11 shaped his newfound belief in patriotism and the flag. In discussing 9/11, Miller says, “I draw and write comic books. One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had showed up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country.” Miller adds, “Patriotism, I now believe, isn’t some sentimental, old, conceit. It’s self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation’s survival.”

The Shot: Seen here, followed of course by Johnny Cash's When The Man Comes Around over the credits:

Sorry for the poor quality of that clip. There are several versions of that intro up on YouTube, but one cleaner version is useless for my purposes, as the poster was sensitive enough to cut that opening shot out.
Correction: Moviegique corrects my quote of the tag-line, and notes it was actually the tag-line for the original Dawn of the Dead, and not Night of the Living Dead as I'd thought.

Ohhh... In the end credits, again showing the end of the world, the director slips in a clip from Paris Hilton's sex tapes (or a clip staged to look like her sex tapes), suggesting, humorously, that Paris Hilton caused the Apocalypse.

A humorous little Easter Egg, but once again, one that seems to spring from a conservatively-oriented mind.

Second Video Deleted... As it seems to be a Truther video. Though I think they just took a 9/11 video popular a few years ago and added a few of their own images.

Thanks to Midaz and NiceDeb for alerting me to that. Apologies.

Let's Keep This Quiet, Okay? Moonbat_One ID's Zack Snyder's t-shirt here as being a parody of the Major League Baseball logo, with a guy shooting an assault rife instead of a holding a bat. The slogan underneath (unseen) he says is "Major League Infidel." Seen here.

Could just be a funny t-shirt, I guess. In any event, keep it on the Q.T. so that "those people" don't find out.

digg this
posted by Ace at 07:35 PM

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