A new column about ‘300’? This is madness!

By Sujay Kumar

Narrator (British accent, whispering for overly-melodramatic effect): Last weekend, a record-breaking $71 million worth of Americans marched to their nearest theater to remember the day when “300” (Warner Brothers all rights reserved) Spartans waged war against an army of a million Persians.

(Cue ominous music) In the aftermath of “300,” Iranian Newspaper Ayandeh-No ran a headline denouncing the box-office blockbuster – “Hollywood declares war on Iranians.” The Iranians were furious at the film’s “dumb savage” portrayal of their ancestors, the Persians. They furiously demanded that Warner Brothers and the Spartans surrender.

Our story begins in the palace of Spartan King Leonidas. He stands, only cloaked in a red cape and tight black underwear. The rising sun reflects off of his oiled-up and chiseled six-pack, as he stares to the North.

Leonidas (Scottish accent, gritting teeth): “300” was shot against bluescreen film. It’s a stunning visual masterpiece. Sure it’s loosely-based off of the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, but it really is Frank Miller’s graphic novel translated to the silver screen. If the film conquered the Americas and has held strongly in Greece, then why are the Iranians trying to wage war?

Half-naked Hollywood Executive-Warrior: My King, the Iranians believe the film portrays Iran as a long source of evil, and that modern Iranian ancestors are bloodthirsty, dumb savages.

Leonidas: Well I’ll be damned if the Persians are deemed more bloodthirsty than Spartans. Even if it means slicing through hundreds in gratuitous yet elegantly brutal 10 to 15 minute action sequences, we will never retreat, never surrender. Box office rule is the greatest glory a Spartan could achieve in life.

Warrior (sighing): My dear, dear King. The Iranian Parliament has written to the foreign ministry protesting production and screening of the film. The Iranians will be slaughtered if they go against us.

This is not war, this is madness!

Leonidas (spits while yelling): Madness? This…is…HOLLYWOOD!

(Slow motion kick, warrior falls into bottomless pit)

Narrator: And so, King Leonidas led his army of 300 Spartans and Hollywood Executives to the narrowest point of a road that lay below treacherous mountains while also overlooking an ominous bay. The fearless King turned to his men.

Leonidas: Remember this film men, for it will be yours for all time. Give them nothing! But take from them everything!

Narrator: The land shook like Hades with dysentery as Javad Shamaqdari, Iranian Emperor of Cultural Advising, and his army of furious Iranian officials advanced towards Leonidas.

Shamaqdari (to the 300): Your film will not hit Iranian screens, but we have watched it on pirated DVD. After the Islamic revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the United States have started a psychological war aimed at destroying Iranian culture.

Leonidas: The world knows that our chiseled abs and the vile depiction of Persians is a mere interpretation of the popular graphic novel “300,” translated flawlessly from ink to film. It means no harm to Iranians.

Shamaqdari: Persian Emperor Xerxes looked foolish in jewelry and piercings. “Lost’s” Rodrigo Santoro couldn’t have portrayed him more effeminately. The other Persians were depicted as barbaric monsters.

There was an eight-foot ogre, mutilated “immortals,” masked sorcerers and a goat-headed man. You are plundering Iran’s historic past and insulting its civilization, but we are strong and you Americans will not have mental satisfaction.

Leonidas (raising his sword): Then you leave us no choice. “300,” in all its visual beauty, exhilaratingly gratuitous fight scenes, and melodramatic lines, will remain in theaters. Spartans and Hollywood Executives, this is where we fight, prepare for glory!

(The armies clash)

Narrator (dramatic orchestra music): And so, the historic battle spurred successful resistance that historians say preserved the sanctity of cinema.

A new age has come, an age of freedom. And all will know that 300 Spartans and Hollywood Executives gave their last breath to defend it.