You know what? You're not going to escape me that easily, dammit!
Now......I will attempt to refrain from naming names (as I am enough a gentleman for that), but I feel that I must -- simply MUST -- offer my rebuttal to the ever-popular camp of "live and let live and shut up and still your brain and watch the damn movie."
I do not watch movies -- any movies -- to shut my brain up, but rather to feed it and make it light up like a bustling Christmas-lit metropolis. I like my brain, and I like my entertainment to respect that liking for my brain and not attempt to fob off cheap spectacle in exchange for my attention and/or money. The same goes for roleplay, where I have often been accused of not wanting people to "just have fun", and attacked with whinings of "But it's only a game...!" by inadequately-involved players when I attempt to remind them of things like logic and timing and setting and technology and character credibility.
And yet, I do have fun in these fields.....though it sometimes takes others of like professional-mindedness to share the pleasure of the pursuit in full. Can I help it that I am not merely a "consumer" in this world? Should I?
Look, people -- I'm not stupid, and I refuse to pretend to be. I'm an intelligent and creative person who deplores the lack of imagination that goes into making fascistically propagandistic and CGI-bound pieces of beefcake cinematic epic instead of addressing the realities of history in all their real complexity. That's right -- LACK of imagination. It's the sort of thing that happens when commercial ideology supersedes artistic wit and talent, where style overcomes substance and spills out oiled-chest machismo to the screen, laden with every manner of ham-handed cultural prejudice and assumption, all-too-easily transferrable without question -- without even the hint of question or real philosophy -- to the audience's modern milieu, reinforcing in the brutish and unreflective mind all that it wants to see and to believe.
Forgive me for having a slight issue with that......but history is not so simple in lights and darks and boldly-drawn stylistic outlines for the viewer to absorb. The pity is (though fortunate for dictators) that people do not think -- and that they will believe all too quickly that the most trumped-up and loudly-blared vision is the one that has the ring of truth. These people do not read history books, or compare cultures or sexual mores or how what we call one thing is not the same as what it was twenty-some-hundred years ago......these people who praise mere style (or gleaming wet "straight" male bodies) here do not think, in short, and they would find little difference between this presentation and one that were historically accurate, save that the well-played reality of another time and place might give them pause, and make them feel a bit less comfortably self-assured in their "normalcy", since normalcy is a perpetually relative judgement, if not a complete illusion of stability. It is a version for cowards who dare not stretch their minds -- and even the actors, unfortunately, I must include in this, since they could as well have done their research in making the characters live, and put in a bit of suggestion for how a purported tale of a time ought to be played. Their complacency, as well as that of those who had the writing and directing mantles-of-authority, wins no admiration from my corner.
If neither the creators nor the audience could be bothered to have interest in a reasonably-"faithful" rendering of the era and its incidents (not having the excuses of ignorance as did previous generations of epic moviemakers), then why name names, why cite history as a source when you are unwilling to follow it to its ramifications? I could say the same to Mel Gibson, or Wolfgang Peterson -- if you're making propaganda or a cultural apologetic, you may as well say so with a very clear up-front disclaimer that this is a fictional creation and not a proven factual account, state your angle from the start....but if you do know for certain that the facts and details are a certain way and you still want to bank on the fame of its 'historical reality', then have the bloody courage to tell that story and not twist it into something made up out of your arse -- or else don't let it be assumed as a "historical" film atall -- go for Marie Antoinette or Richard III, with a meaningful spin. The problem here is that there are many people willing to suspend their disbelief and think that this was the way it really was, when it really wasn't. Personally I'd rather watch an episode of "Secrets of the Dead" and dig at the truth of things, even if the battle scenes might not be quite so expensive and impressive.
So what can I say to all that but - "I'm not impressed." Really. And with The Lord of the Rings I was, because one could tell that it was a labour of love to assemble that world, that whole universe, and that they had treated it as completely "real" regardless of its unreality. This, on the other hand.....well, 'tis but a comic-book myth "full of sound and fury," it seems -- and even in that, my friends, I've seen graphic novels rendered far better for their respective times and twisted tales.
Another Lengthy Note: The ancient and classical Greeks would generally be termed bisexual (at least functionally, as they obviously did breed) by today's standards, with one accepted mode of sexuality being that between male equals (hence the famous statement "An army of lovers cannot be defeated") and the other between a man and either a woman or a boy of younger age -- though they still naturally placed a high value on virility and valour, meaning that the only logical 'prejudice' against the Persians would be their arguable luxuriousness and 'effeminacy' of culture compared to the 'manly' Spartans as a race entire. As well as the fact that they made and kept eunuchs as slaves instead of practicing good ol' pederasty...but for more on that I suggest a thorough reading of The Persian Boy by Mary Renault (very well researched), which is narrated by one of the Persian emperor Darius' male concubines who became a lover of Alexander the Great. And speaking of Alexander, seeing as I have his portrait up..../:)....the main cultural reason that there was any spiteful rumour atall about the love between him and Hephaestaion was that there was not a clear difference in sexual role between them, as by then (or later on when the historians began to set in critically on his entire reign and character) the more "civilized" (socially-settled) pattern was that of the older/higher-ranking male always being the active sexual partner and the younger/inferior always being receptive (in the "female" role) -- whereas they apparently followed more in the warrior tradition of their own mythological heroes/idols, where equality in love was the central idea. So....there's some historical education for you, if you can handle the fact that it was fact. And it would be a dull film indeed about a whole time and culture that did not integrate their various lovings in with their battles and strife as a true part of the whole, but sweep it under the rug or whitewash it with gratuitous display of heterosexual bliss. So there. Deal with it.
And comments ARE enabled here, as I am not intolerant of argument -- except with those who are not worth arguing with for their lack of mental armaments. For them I have ginsus just for the hell of seein' 'em squirm and squeal and "protest too much"..........>:)