Go Tell the Spartans, passerby: here, obedient to her laws, we lie.

Saw Frank Miler’s 300 last night. This film was wonderful … if you are a guy. Ladies, I don’t think this film has much in it for you, unless you like seeing huge slabs of raw beefcake, or the rippling muscles of many macho manly men pluging bloody spears through torsos and hacking off many limbs. 

Sounds like I’m mocking this film. I’m not. I cannot remember any film since HIGH NOON that took the masculine notion of honor with perfect seriousness.

In fact, I almost cannot picture how this film got made. You see, we have known for a long time that there is a Beast in service to the Powers of Darkness, a Chimera, that sits outside the gates of Hollywood, and consumes with fiery breath any film that contains anything decent, kind, patriotic, or honest. The Chimera has three heads: the goat will let pass a film if it contains pointless sex scenes; the lion will let pass any film that splatters and drips blood; and the dragon will let pass any film that utters lies to mock this nation and her ideals.

So when this film came up for review in front of the Chimera, all the three-headed beast saw were the pointless prurient scenes (two of them) and the cartoon sprays of blood (thirteen zillion gallons) and he thought the film would corrupt the young, and so he gave it his imprimateur. 

But the watchful beast was fooled. This film is about honor for honor’s sake. Any man watching this who has not even tried to join the armed services will think less of himself. 

Leonidas actually achieved the immortal fame his acts merited: our poets are still telling tales about him. And we, as a people, are as nearly opposite the Spartans as it is possible to be. In the film, the screenplay unabashedly trumpets the triumphant aspects of Western culture that the Enlightenment scholars retroactively attributed to the Greece of Pericles: reason, democracy, rule of law.

The theater was packed. No one cheered at the famous laconic Laconic lines but me: maybe no one else recognized them. The queen bids her beloved king goodbye with the words: “Spartan! Come back with your sheild, or on it.” 

Even the women were manly in Sparta. The biggest applause from the audience came when a Spartan woman stabbed a traitor while he was reviling her before the assembly: the Persian gold used to buy his collabortation spills out on the ground along with his guts. 

Also, not the all-shouting dialog the trailer led me to believe. The visuals were straight out of Frank Miller: Xerxes the Great King of Persia was decked out in a dozen gold nose-rings just like Miller has him. The Hoplites wear nothing but loincloths in battle, but, hey, its a movie based on a comic, so what do you want? The Ephors are depicted as some sort of leper colony dressed like the bad Emperor in Star Wars, not looking like judges, so we have our obligatory slam against religion, but, hey, Leonidas in real life was undermined by the Ephors, so the film lauding him gets to put them in Richard III type make up. 

My contempt for the reviewer at Slate magazine has increased fivefold. I do not see how anyone could dislike this movie unless h were allergic to testosterone. Even people who hate the Spartans (let’s face it, guys, they were way worse than Nazis) have to admit they were bold on the battle field.

And yes, the Spartans were creatures of honor, willing to fight and die to the last. By God, sir, they were almost man enough to be Virginians.