WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL: Celebrating the alpha male

Marine Lt. Dimayuga, eat your heart out.

 

It's been a long time that a movie celebrated the male anatomy in such a tasteful way. The last time was when they made Brad Pitt wear a miniskirt and roar in challenge at the city gates for Eric Bana's Hector to come down and face him. Troy it was. Or, more appropriately, Destroy. The city fell after all.

 

Actually, hubby and I were there at the movies for Ghostrider, but by the time we got to the ticket counter, Nicolas Cage had turned ghost.

 

So, 300 it was. And a good thing, too. I found 300 reasons to appreciate the movie, not the least being the visual feast of alpha males in black jock straps and flowing crimson capes. It's okay, I don't need their names. It was very reassuring to see 300 of them all at once. Like, okay, they're still around after all. Whew!

 

I wouldn't rank 300 among Cecil B. DeMille's epic masterpieces, but it's been a long drought of movies that celebrate the glory of man and beast sans newfangled technological gadgetry. The inept computer graphics in places were actually forgivable. The limits of animation kind of underline the fact that nothing substitutes for the real thing.

 

Man, see those moves. I hope it makes people want to get up and discover the limits of muscle and tendon beyond the movements intended to work the keypad and the keyboard.

 

This is what the human body could do. And no, it doesn't have to be in the battlefield, but I suspect part of the thrill of the movie had to be in the way it gratified the impulse to violence. This is the macabre beauty of bloodlust pumping in the veins. Tolkien must have envisioned something like this when he wrote about young Eomer of Rohan and the song of battle singing in his blood.

 

300 adequately essays the making of a warrior. Spartans born and bred for war. Ah, but for all that, better them onscreen than us offscreen. Go, man. As in man. Make no mistake. Gee, we so rarely see them anymore in real life.

 

Growing up, Spartan was what we wore on our feet. Yeah, yeah- I know it's supposed to evoke strength and endurance and the simple life. But no, the slip-ons do not translate at all what a Spartan was.

 

300, the movie, romanticizes many of the virtues we live by. Well, gee, the Greeks did give the world democracy. So, like, it's kind of ironic that the movie about Sparta's fight for their homeland against the Persian invasion teaches that numbers don't matter when you make the right stand.

 

Of course, in the end as always when the fencesitters finally take a stand, numbers did matter, so I guess the people behind 300 were playing up to the democratic ideal after all. Did they know it would be election time over here in this showcase of democracy in Asia when the movie would show? So what are they saying really?

 

Oh, well. Go watch the movie. Cover your ears if you have to. But watch how it could have been when men were men.

Watch, and weep. (Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to [email protected] "Send at the risk of a reply," she says.)

 

 

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