The Persian army is depicted as an army of monsters. They are all less than human: they're all horribly mutated in one way or another, hunchbacked and grotesque. They're not white. They're sexual perverts! (And while we get jokes about boy-loving men [this from Spartans, mind you—Spartans who are all dressed in very manly and heterosexual giant leather jockstraps], of course what we see is women engaging in some form of pantomime lesbianism—because why not titillate while also casting moral judgment?) Obviously, they deserve to be brutally slaughtered. It must be the will of God.I don't get out to the movies a much as I'd like, so the next time I do go, it probably won't be 300.
Never has a film made me feel so physically ill to be in the theater watching it. And it wasn't all the beheadings, although those were copious. I felt like I was being made to watch a Leni Riefenstahl movie, or the very worst bits of Birth of a Nation. And then there was even more to feel sick about, like the fact that the sole female character's only role seemed to be to allow herself to get raped by her husband's rival—and this was presented as heroic. What a vile, vile piece of trash.
Update: The classical scholars at Obsidian Wings and their readers are all about ancient Sparta and triremes.