Montreal, the new Sparta
"No, this is SPARTA"
Or is it? From what I understood, it’s just a studio somewhere around Montreal, with a few dozen actors in front of huge green screens, which were magically transformed into Sparta by a local firm.
By now you’ve probably already seen 300, you’ve probably read about 300, you’ve probably spoken about 300 and you’ve probably dreamt about 300. And if you’re unlucky like me, you’re girlfriend has fallen in love with all the Spartans and doesn’t want to see you until you grow a pair of six packs visible enough to scare bouncers on St-Laurent. Unfortunately carrying a six pack of beer from the dep all the way to your place isn’t enough for that miracle to occur, so I am bracing for a long and lonely spring.
Everybody is talking about 300. Not because it is a cinema chef-d’oeuvre, because it isn’t, nor because of the acting, cause there wasn’t much of that in 300, but because of the beauty of the movie’s images. Do you remember when you were a kid, reading comic books and animating them in your head, constructing a fantastical world that you would dive in? Well Zack Snyder has managed to create it on film, thanks to the help of a bunch of local artists and computer geeks.
And all of this at a cost lower then what the movie made in it’s first week end.
This indeed is madness.
No, this is MONTREAL.
Montreal is the city where you can pull off such a stunt. Montreal is the city where we do everything with less, yet it looks amazing. This thanks to the innovative digital video effects shop Hybride, the one that created the Spartan’s world on computer. And even though it operates out of its base hidden somewhere in the Laurentians, I still say Montreal because we all know the Laurentians are just a distant sub-urb.
Just like in Montreal, in the Sparta of 300 we were treated to brainless speeches about freedom, liberty and anti-despotism, taken for idiots by the movie makers, probably imitating our politicians running around in election mode these last few days.
Yet, just like in Montreal, the sight of a few breathtaking images was enough to make us forget the sickening Hollywoodian obsessions with cries of freedom. The scene with the Persian envoys on their horses rising on the horizon, at the beginning of the movie, is like a slap on the face, it’s like a dream transposed on film.
300 was a fiction, just a cartoon beautifully transposed on the cinema screen. Montreal too is often just a fiction, transposed on our all too real lives.
Enough philosophy; go see 300, get inspired, create some images on your computer and please don’t take the movie too seriously (hint: to everyone making a fuss about how the Persians are portrayed), after all it’s just a work of fiction based on a comic book. Enjoy the show, preferably alone without your girlfriend; she might like it more than you.
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