Sunday, March 16, 2014

Could they at least have warned us?

Several years ago I went to the movies with my Dad to see a film that was an ode to abs and implausible fighting. Today I went to see the sequel.

300: Rise of an Empire, isn't a great movie but it can be fun at times. The pacing of it is a little strange, and there's something confusing about the overall timeline but that's not what anyone came to see. We came to see awesome fight choreography and lots of silly gore, and that's exactly what we got.

None of the characters are particularly memorable, none of the acting is spectacular, none of the writing is great, and it's missing the defining "This is SPARTA!" kind of line that a lot of people were probably hoping for. There are, however, lots of boobs; at least one awesome slo-mo kick to the chest; super-cool fight scenes; anachronistic but rad explosions; and in spite of the fact that this movie wasn't directed by Zack Snyder there is at least one patented Snyderistic Uncomfortable Sex Scene.

So if you're into that kind of thing and don't have a problem watching non-consensual sex scenes, it's probably worth a viewing. If you DO have a problem watching non-consensual sex scenes, don't go. Really. It's pretty bad.


There were also a couple INCREDIBLY uncomfortable rape scenes, which I'll admit really bothered me.

I'm pretty pissed about the way that rape is casually bandied about as a narrative device; it normalizes the idea of rape-as-character-development in our society and usually isn't really all that important to the story. Why is Big Baddie pissed at all of Greece? Oh, she watched Greek soldiers murder her entire family, that's why. That's enough of a reason. Oh, she watched Greek soldiers rape and murder her family before being taken away as a child sex slave and raped until she was dead-eyed and had lost the will to live and was then left for dead on the street, and why don't we show that entire process while we're at it? is a little too fucking much.

It's not like the movie's endorsing rape or anything, and actually "rape makes people want to watch your nation burn to the fucking ground" is a pretty good message, but the fact that it came out of left field was pretty upsetting. I came here to watch people messily murder each other, not to watch a soldier thrust into someone trying desperately to escape or a chained thirteen year old girl turn her eyes away blankly as a sweaty, hairy man disrobes over her. That is TOO FUCKING REAL for my silly action movie, thank you very much. And I had no way of anticipating this - none of the advertising brought it up, there were no press releases I saw that said "oh, by the way, if you're prone to flashbacks or suffering from PTSD as the result of a rape or sexual assault you might want to step out of the theater for five minutes starting at X time."

Also, dear filmmakers, please stop making rape look sexy. You incredible fuckwits. The most lovingly lingering tit-shot in the whole damn film takes place in slow motion while a screaming woman is carried off and stripped by enemy soldiers.


So, yeah. There were parts of the movie that I enjoyed, and other parts that really, really bothered me. Overall, I'd probably watch it again only if I had a fast-forward option.

Sorry if I'm a huge bummer, that's just the way I feel.

     - Alli

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