So I finally ended up seeing 300 last week. It was absolutely fantastic. I began to think about why it was so fantastic. Sure, all the death and the killing and the murderous rage was good and all, but why does it have that much appeal. Upon reflection, I decided it was because it was just a very "guy" movie. Not in the sense that modern action flicks are, with the blowing up cars and the scantily clad women and the predictable story lines (which all sound more like a young teenager’s dreams anyway), but in the sense that it was manly in the most basic sense. It evoked the passion of defending your country against overwhelming numbers, the confidence and defiant, rebellious attitude that says, "Do your worst. I will hold my ground till I die." And of course the sense of honour and duty that is evoked throughout the film.
That last part, I thought, was absolutely key to the reason why guys can connect to it. I would venture to say that many guys wish to feel honourable and to act with bravery, and we admire men who do so, such as in 300. In the comfort of our seats, we can experience bravery and battle and admire those that went down, and hope that some of their attitude rubs off on us.
Of course, we wish for what we do not have most strongly. Words like honour, bravery and freedom are seldom talked about these days, but the truth is, those words can still be applied today, just to different situations. You may not stand on the percipace of a cliff and watch your enemies fall into the water below, but you can be brave in your life. You can stand up to that person who keeps making fun of you. You can commit to certain goals and say, "This is what I want and I will not stop till I achieve it."
Because our enemies in life are rarely a marching horde, it is harder to fight against it. So one must learn to recognize those myriad influence which we must fight against. It takes courage and bravery to stand up to them. Whether it is the constant stream of advertising telling you to buy their product or service because it will give you lasting happiness, or the negativity thrown at you from all sources, it takes courage to stay true to your desires and goals in the face of them.
After the issue of bravery, the other important thing is that of honour. But what is honour? Is honour external reputation? I don’t believe so. I define honour is being true to your values and beliefs. That includes values of integrity, valour, honesty and even courage. Who have you lied to lately because it was the easiest way to deal with a situation? Even white lies are still lies. On the other hand, I define honesty as not just not lying, but being open about the truth. Can you say you stand by the value of honesty at all times?
The final lesson from 300, though, is slightly different from the
general theme of the movie. It is one of love. Why do those men fight
and die? They fight and die because they love their country and their families.
King Leonidus’ dying words are, "My queen…my wife…my love." uttered
for Queen Gorgo (that’s her name, if you didn’t know, and its a good
thing it was never mentioned in the movie). While most of us will not
have to face a situation where we have to fight to protect something we love, we can cherish that what we love (and that includes ourselves) here and now. Honour your love, too, for it gives you the power to achieve what you desire. Your love for yourself can push you to become healthier and fitter, your love for others can push you to become more understanding and caring. Your love and respect for your dreams and visions can push you to achieve them.
So, my thesis (and I realize that I have performed the greatest misdeed possible in writing) is that one of the reason many of us like 300 is because they are such as we wish to be. They are honourable men, who fight long and hard against impossible odds without losing their cool and even being a little cocky. They have no fears, even an honourable death is a goal to be reached, and are brave that way. But those lessons, we can apply to our worlds, too. It isn’t easy, no, but if we keep at it, perhaps, one day, we will admire ourselves as we do those in 300.
And, of course, the other reason guys like 300 is cause of all the massive amounts of blood and killing. :p