300

Comic book Spartans are both homophobic and homoerotic.

Long ago there reigned a clan of Speedo-wearing militaristic psychopaths called the Spartans. They lived beneath a copper-colored sky, on a copper-colored land, amidst copper-colored fields, in copper-colored homes made from copper-colored stone. Legend has it they would outline their copper-colored pecs and abs with ash to enhance their manly buffness, and yet these were men of action and honor, not "philosophers and boy lovers" like their namby-pamby rivals the Athenians. Such machismo was memorialized by Frank Miller in 300, his graphic-novel retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, in which the titular quantity of Spartan studs fended off a billion gazillion Persian invaders. Marshalling the full resources of high-end computer imaging and the full capacities of hard-core fanboy nerditude, writer-director Zack Snyder (he of the unexpectedly decent Dawn of the Dead remake) has now brought Miller's book to "life." On first glance, the terms couldn't be clearer:macho white guys vs. effeminate Orientals. Yet aside from the fact that Spartans come across as pinched, pinheaded gym bunnies, it's their flesh the movie worships. At once homophobic and homoerotic, 300 is finally, and hilariously, just hysterical. NATHAN LEE

 
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