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Inspirational Speeches Before Epic Battle Scenes In Movies Are Bullshit

Inspirational Speeches Before Epic Battle Scenes In Movies Are Bullshit

I recently watched 300, which is an awesome movie, for the first time in several years. It will probably make you insecure about your pathetically average body, because every single Spartan soldier is chiseled like Michelangelo’s statue of David, but it’s still awesome. That being said, there was one particular scene that didn’t sit right with me.

At the end of the film, when Dilios (stupid fucking name) is giving his speech to the Greek army, which has assembled to fight the Persians after the slaughter of Leonidas and his crew, some glaring obstacles are ignored.

Is this guy fucking serious? Dilios is just waltzing along through the crowd, using his inside voice like he’s having a stern conversation with his wife in the produce aisle of a grocery store. Speak the fuck up, man! Nobody can hear you.

Then, when this facially-crippled genius finally makes his way to the front of the army, he doesn’t even bother turning around to face the men. At this point, he’s essentially giving a speech to himself. Congratulations, Dilios, you’ve managed to convince the entire army that a rambling madman wearing an eye patch is leading them into battle, while only psyching up yourself.

He even mentions that there are over 30,000 soldiers present. Maybe six or seven of those dudes caught a whole sentence of his epic speech.

Here’s a conversation between two soldiers that were six rows back:

Soldier #1: Who the fuck is that pirate up front, and what is he saying?
Soldier #2: I don’t know. I can’t hear a damn thing.
Soldier #1: Are we heading into battle? Was there a truce? What’s the deal?
Soldier #2: No idea, bro. Hold on. Is he charging? Are we all charging?
Soldier #1: Fuck that. I’m not charging. I’m out.
Soldier #2: Right behind you.

I’ll give Dilios this: he chose a solid speechwriter. Had he been handed the world’s most powerful megaphone, or a microphone hooked up to a high-quality set of concert speakers, he might’ve actually made a difference.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t the only cinematic military force in history to struggle with the limitations of an acoustically challenged battlefield.

Take Braveheart, for example.

Sure, William Wallace manages to get a conversation going with a few peasants on the front line, but all that grumbling you hear in the background is the rest of the army yelling, “What? WHAT? WE CAN’T FUCKING HEAR YOU!”

When the crowd cheers, it’s only because they’re excited to see what they think is a psychotic midget wearing blue face paint on horseback. They assume he’s the pre-battle entertainment.

“Oh hell yes! They brought a midget! Look! It’s riding a horse and has its face painted like a clown! SCOTLAND! FUCK YEAH!”

King Theoden in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King had some trouble with public speaking as well.

This guy is riding up and down the lines, bellowing like a drunken lunatic as he delivers his unheard address. It doesn’t help that most of his men are wearing helmets that cover their ears, making it even more difficult to decipher what their elderly leader is murmuring as he carelessly smacks his sword up against their spears for no reason.

He’s not alone, though. Aragorn has some issues later on in the same film.

These guys are facing almost certain death, and it looks like most of them are about to turn around and hightail it home in order to elongate their lives just a bit. Then comes Aragorn, speaking at a volume that wouldn’t frighten or inspire a classroom filled with third graders.

Good job, good effort.

Here’s an example of an epic pre-battle speech executed to perfection:

Thank you, Brad Pitt, for reminding us all that it truly is possible to convey a passionate message to a reasonably-sized group of men before they lay their lives on the line for king and country.

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Ross Bolen

Ross Bolen is a New York Times Bestselling author, co-host of the Oysters, Clams & Cockles: Game of Thrones podcast, co-host of the Back Door Cover sports podcast, 2017 Masters attendee, bigger and more loyal Rockets, Astros and Texans fan than you, cheese enchilada aficionado, and nap god.

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