FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTIONS: *sociological*
It's been a while since I read Frank Miller's "300" graphic novel, but as I recall, Zach Snyder's film-adaptation of the comic is reasonably true to the original, apart from adding a few fillips (the subplot concerning Queen Gorgo, wife of the film's hero King Leonidas).
In interviews Miller asserted that he became interested in the subject of the Battle of Thermopylae after seeing the 1962 historical film THE 300 SPARTANS. That film was a reasonably "straight" naturalistic depiction of the historical events, but both Miller and his adaptor Snyder were less interested in facts than in a sort of fever-dream translation of those events. Snyder in particular defended 300 from detractors by asserting that the audience was in some sense seeing the events "darkly," as through a subjective glass: that it's "an opera, not a documentary." Snyder would play with this subjectivized mentality once again in his equally operatic (but less interesting) SUCKER PUNCH.
I've mentioned in my review of CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR that whenever I see a historical situation depicted in such a way as to distort known facts, I don't consider it fantasy in the "marvelous" sense, but it may often be an "uncanny" fantasy. The plot of 300-- in which the heroic 300 Spartans sustain a holding action against an army comprised of millions of invading Persians-- is not the source of the uncanny metaphenomenality, however. Rather, this phenomenality springs principally from the grab-bag visual characterizations of the Persians, who are explicitly said to have marshalled against Greece all the strange powers and cultures of Asia. (Technically Africa finds its way into the mix as well.) In so doing 300 continues a long mythic tradition perpetuated in Europe, in which the progressive, often masculinist Occident is favorably compared with the repressive, backward and demi-feminine Orient. Tennyson said it best in the poem "Lockley Hall:"