Tuesday, March 13, 2007

300- A Movie Review

Some small and large and awkwardly sized spoilers will be contained in this post!

I went to see 300 last night with a coworker. It was good. Go see it. End post.

"The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside your mind...."
(click to enbiggen)

Seriously though, definitely a "must-see" movie for any fans of action, drama, fantasy (yes, I know its based off of actual events, but any movie that has a 9' tall giant, an 8' tall God king, a hunchback who's hunchbacks have hunchbacks, and immortal Asian warriors falls into the fantasy category) and action again. Instead of a showing a bloodbath like most directors would have done, Zack Snyder instead made a movie that is more like a ballet than a war. Yes, the ballet is about 300 Greeks shoving spears thru their enemies and lobbing off limbs left and right (hehe, left and right limbs) but it is a ballet nonetheless.

So what is this movie about? 300 tells the story of King Leonidas (Gerard Butler, aka, the Phantom from the 2004 Phantom of the Opera movie), the king of Sparta (Greece) taking 300 soldiers to fight the
oncoming Persian armies, in what will eventually be known as the Battle of Thermopylae. It is the story of how 300 men stood against entire armies, and the story of their battles. It is based off of Frank Miller's graphic novel from the 90s and directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed Miller's "Sin City" movie. This is in theory a remake, as Richard Egan starred as Leonidas in 1962's "The 300 Spartans" (http://imdb.com/title/tt0055719/). Have not seen it yet, but want to hunt it down.

The film (not a movie, but a film!) has a gorgeous artistic style. Miller's graphic novel is brought to life on the big screen in all its glory. This looks like art, not like film. While not quite as powerful in the visual department as Sin City was, the artistic direction in this film rivals Pan's Labyrinth or Moulin Rouge. Almost everything was shot in front of a green screen or blue screen, so all of the backgrounds are vividly detailed.

As stated above, blood does not flow like wine. No, that is not because wine is expensive. Heads roll and limbs fly, but the actual BLOOD that appears on screen is not overly gory or disgusting. No horror movie blood here. Don't think that I am saying this is not a violent movie, oops, film, because it is violent and very graphic, but not gross-out graphic.

Faramir loved sweatbands, but 480's B.C. was not ready for 1980's fashion.
(click to enbiggen)

My complaints? Weird nipples (women should have nicer nipples than men, not the other way around) , other characters outside of Leonidas and the Queen were not very developed (you only get to know 5 of the 300, and only 2 have more than 2 lines), and.... and.... thats basically it! Not much bad here. This isn't so much a complaint as a humorous take on things. A few times I thought I was watching Lord of the Rings: 400BC. The first time that thought popped up was when I saw David Wenham playing Dilios. Wenham played Faramir in the LotR trilogy. Mind you he was also in Van Helsing and that didn't distract me there because he played a much different part. He also said a line about "losing brothers" that almost made me chuckle (poor Boramir). Also, for the first 30-45 minutes, the 300 are being followed by a strange deformed creature, and their leader (Leonidas/Gandalf) knows they are being followed. The creature offers to help them, is rejected, and ends up causing buttloads of trouble for our heroes. And if I want to get REAL technical, the soldiers also wore capes held on by gold clasps.

So go out and see this incredible film. Do not bring your girlfriend/wife (unless she has a strong stomach) and no one under 16. Bring a buddy, bring your dad, bring your coworkers. This may not win any awards for acting or story, but is the best 2 hours I have spent in a theater this year.

4 Stars (out of 5)

(images courtesy Rotten Tomatoes)

1 comment:

Mr Besilly said...

I must concur with your fine review sir. 300 for me was a two hour fist pounding, shout out loud, testosterone filled, thrill ride. In my own review I said; "the battle sequences were orchestrated like a stylishly muscular ballet carved out in several acts." I could clearly see the choreography in motion during every fight sequence which made the perfect mix of slow motion even sweeter. A must see film on the big screen.