Hollywood Gothique
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Snyder denies 300’s racist undertones

Well, that didn’t take long!

Director Zack Snyder’s film version of Frank Milller’s graphic novel 300 made a $70-million debut this weekend, and now Snyder is telling Comic Book Resources that his next project will another adaptation of a graphic novel, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ WATCHMEN:

  • “I’m doing WATCHMEN next for sure. That’s what we’re focusing all our attention on. It’s the shit, as they say! [laughs] It’s the best thing out there. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I feel like WATCHMEN is the coolest thing ever and I have to do it.

More interesting than the usuall gabby chatter about how excited he is to move on to his next project now that his current one is a certified blockbuster success, is the brief moment when the interviewer asks Snyder about the racist overtones of 300 (in which the light-skinned Greeks defeat the dark-skinned Pesian hordes). Snyder basically just avoids the issue altogether, and the interviewer doesn’t bother with a follow-up because…well, just because.

  • “You know, when I see that, when I see someone use words like “neocon,” homophobic,” “homoerotic,” or “racist” in their review, I kind of just think they don’t get the movie and don’t understand. It’s a graphic novel movie about a bunch of guys that are stomping the snot out of each other. As soon as you start to frame it like that, it becomes clear that you’ve missed the point entirely.”

No, it becomes clear that Snyder has missed the point of his own movie entirely. His point may not have been intentional, but he made it, nonetheless. You don’t even really have to be looking too closely to see it. What Snyder is really saying in the interview is that viewers should close their minds to what they’re eyes are seeing and simply accept the distasteful elements because the action and bloodshed are so much fun.

It’s an interesting theory, but ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Without some heavy duty research, it’s impossible to say why so many people felt compelled to see 300, but one good guess is that it serves up the good and glorious war that the Neo-Cons promised us in Iraq but failed to deliver.

When reality falls short, fantasy will fill the gap, and I suspect that’s what happened here. It’s really not hard to imagine George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld all together, sitting in a screening of 300, and cheering, “Now this is more like it!”

Who knows? If Snyder’s film career ever bottoms out, he could probably get a job shooting “news documentaries” for Fox Cable News.