Saturday, March 24, 2007

"300" review

Tom Charity has written another good review, this one of 300.
Like I said, the film looks amazing, and I love that. But I should have suspected something like Tom says here: that the film is more or less a boring violence-fest. And has a pretty fascistic war-hawk world view.
The film is based on the comic book "300" by Frank Miller. I think that Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is the best superhero comic ever written. But what he has written since that (20 years ago) has left me lukewarm. It seems to lack the complexity and subtlety that Dark Knight had. Too bad, since he has had more freedom than almost anybody in the comics field. It is not the only evidence that too much freedom can be an enemy to the artist.

Anonymous commented...
"concerning artistic freedom:
"It is not the only evidence that too much freedom can be an enemy to the artist"
I've heard simular from other artists I admire (Brian Eno being one) - It may be something I akin to what I refer to as the "temperture factor" > too much towards any extreme can be harmful. That is too little freedom can be just as much an enemy to the artist. However, I can't help but wonder if artists could handle freedom better if they recognized such as a limitation in and of itself. Perhaps in doing so then the outcome would be something easier for audiences to relate to...."

I'm sure you're right.

And "too much freedom" is only a problem for psychological reasons. Ultimately there is no such thing, of course.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Saturday, March 24, 2007   11 comments links to this post

11 Comments:

At 24 Mar 2007 22:26:00, Blogger jacquie4000 said...

Well my son and I are going to see 300 tomorrow so I will let you know what I think of it. My son's History teacher is also a skeptic because it will not portray true history.

 
At 25 Mar 2007 05:39:00, Anonymous Anonymous said...

concerning artistic freedom:

"It is not the only evidence that too much freedom can be an enemy to the artist"

I've heard simular from other artists I admire (Brian Eno being one) - It may be something I akin to what I refer to as the "temperture factor" > too much towards any extreme can be harmful. That is too little freedom can be just as much an enemy to the artist. However, I can't help but wonder if artists could handle freedom better if they recognized such as a limitation in and of itself. Perhaps in doing so then the outcome would be something easier for audiences to relate to....

 
At 25 Mar 2007 07:29:00, Blogger eolake said...

I'm sure you're right.

And "too much freedom" is only a problem for psychological reasons. Ultimately there is no such thing, of course.

 
At 25 Mar 2007 08:54:00, Anonymous ttl said...

I have written about this issue at length in two earlier threads here. One was in reference to the unlimited freedom brought about by hard-disk based music production (as opposed to tape). The other had to do with the added freedom brought about by the low cost of digital photography (as opposed to film). Note that cost refers mainly to energy here, not just money.

In both instances Eolake disagreed with me about the effect --- at least concerning its generality. In one post Eolake even claimed to be personally immune to the effect.

I continue to stand firmly behind the idea. I base this on observing both my own work and that of several others for the last 25 years.

What needs more research, though, is the exact cause and nature of the phenomenon. It has to do with focus and energy. But exactly why and how, I am not sure.

Lately, a number of new software products have based their whole raison d'etre in countering this effect. One example is Blockwriter, a 'word processor' in which the insert and paste functions are intentionally disabled. And even the delete-key works in an intentionally crude way.

It is well known that in the era of cheap computers and advanced typing software, many professional authors still choose to write using a mechanical typewriter. It'd be interesting to hear if Blockwriter and other tools of its kind have helped any of those make the transition.

Khoi Vinh, writing on Guardian, claims that, if there has been switching happening, it has been from the word processor to the mechanical typewriter.

I predict that we will see a lot written about this issue in the future.

 
At 25 Mar 2007 09:13:00, Blogger eolake said...

If some artists need artificial constrictions to do their best, then they should get them by all means. I just think it shouldn't really be necessary. Like putting on your lucky underwear before a sports match.

 
At 25 Mar 2007 16:23:00, Anonymous epona said...

I saw 300 last night and it was mainly a gore-fest, but I figured it would be going in. After all, the story is about 300 men trying to hold back an immense army. There was bound to be a lot of fighting and gore. I went for the artistic part of it. I wanted to see how the filming and digital meshed and I enjoyed that part immensly. The merging of the analog and digital was seamless and the artistry was wonderful. It was beautiful in that aspect. The limited color palette and play of light, contrast, and scenery was beautiful, I thought. The costumes and unusual creatures were done well too. I knew the story was not going to be "documentary", so those who wish it to be historically perfect are going to be disappointed. It is a simple and predictable story line. It is all about the visuals.

 
At 26 Mar 2007 01:15:00, Anonymous Pascal said...

Eolake said...
"And "too much freedom" is only a problem for psychological reasons. Ultimately there is no such thing, of course."


People usually say "too much freedom" when they mean "it's too much for me". They're afraid they can't handle such freedom. They may sometimes be right. Freedom, like all power, requires maturity to handle adequately.

I was raised in the days of pen and paper. My whole childhood. I still use them. But the word processor is an awesome tool, and I am definitely not afraid of using it. It beats white corrector any day! A painter can add layer over layer on a picture, one little bit at a time, here and there. Without word processing, a creative writer will have to re-copy his whole draft every time he feels like making an improvement some place in the ensemble.

I agree with Epona about "simply enjoying" the visuals of a well-made movie from time to time. This one doesn't claim to be acurate.
On the acuracy side, I have no idea how far the two periods are, but Sparta's power position ended for good after a military defeat against its rival city Athens, rival all the way to the opposite upbringing style of the citizens. It would appear that being "raised tuff" isn't everything, even on the battlefield.
At least sometimes.

Maybe the Spartans ultimately lost from not having enough love?...

 
At 26 Mar 2007 01:21:00, Blogger eolake said...

I shouldn't wonder.

"I agree with Epona about "simply enjoying" the visuals of a well-made movie from time to time. This one doesn't claim to be acurate."

Sure.
My chief beef (hey that rhymes) with it, from a personal viewpoint, is that it's apparently mostly one long battle scene. I just know that will bore me very quickly.

 
At 26 Mar 2007 23:09:00, Anonymous Fatal Pascal said...

Bah! You just don't know how to appreciate fine violence. The subtleties of the (very ancient) art of war are lost on the likes of you.

"FINISH HIM!" -- (that faceless but supremely cool guy in Mortal Kombat)

 
At 27 Mar 2007 06:37:00, Anonymous ttl said...

Wait a minute! I am Finnish. It's an insult to my heritage if you imply that you can "FINISH" people just like that. Hmphh.

 
At 28 Mar 2007 00:46:00, Anonymous Päscäl in a hörned helmet said...

I can reassure you, TTL : characters in Mortal Kombat all undergo years and years of extreme training, and they must also sell their soul, before they can hope to "Finnish" any serious opponent. Your Drakkar-sailing ancestors have no reason to feel belittled.

I hear the Finnish also invented the Molotov cocktail. Any bloke who can readily drink a bottle of flaming alcohol has my deepest respect.
From a safe distance.

 

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