Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Tortoise vs. Hare, Lacedaemonian Edition

Am I the only one who finds this a little worrisome? The film-makers give the impression that we don't know much about the tactics the Spartans used. My understanding is that we actually know a great deal about Hoplite tactics. (As I recall, they locked their shields together to form an essentially impenetrable wall, array their spears forward, and charged the enemy en masse, like a giant anvil, in an effort to break the other side's line.) The problem, I suspect, is that actual Hoplite tactics don't look cool on the big screen, so the film-makers are feigning ignorance in order to spice up their battle scenes.

The irony is that they're making the same mistake the Persians made, for basically the same reasons. A disciplined army that stays in formation and wins by basically shoving the enemy back over and over again is l-a-m-e lame; skirmishers bravely hacking their way through the enemy, winning individual glory along the way, that's cool. This comports with human intuition, which is why genuine Greco-Roman style military discipline is relatively rare in human history. (See generally.) The problem is, as the Persians discovered, the dull, disciplined formation can kick the valiant skirmishers' collective butt, even when tremendously outnumbered. In their efforts to up the kick-assitude of their film, the producers of "300" seem to have completely missed the point of their story.

But other than that, it looks awesome. Pencil me in for Summer 2007. (Though it looks like that may be a busy time for movie-going.)