Pros: Great fight scenes, interesting cinematography, some decent effects
Cons: silly dialog, overuse of slow motion, too much reliance on style instead of substance
The Bottom Line: If you crave lots of gore and lots of style, but very little story, this is the film for you.
Its been a while since I took Junior high history and studied the Spartans. What I do remember is that they were fierce warriors. Apparently Frank Miller wanted to focus on this when he wrote the graphic novel (comic book) 300. And of course, that graphic novel was made into a movie. Does it entertain? Does it have emotional resonance? Is it any good?
Read on, Dear Reader
300 begins with young Leonidas being trained as a Spartan warrior. This is our history lesson for the movie indicating the fierceness that is the Spartan raised as a fighting machine. Soon Leonidas is king of Sparta. He gets a visit from an emissary of the Persian king Xerxes telling him to join the Persian empire willfully or be taken over. Leonidas opts to fight for his freedom.
Despite the objections of the mystical oracles or the backing of the congressional forum, Leonidas takes 300 of the Spartan warriors and goes off to fight the Persians, a million man army. There is an unnecessary subplot involving a corrupt congressman and his wife, but the story is really that simple and one-dimensional. And ultimately, thats its downfall. While the film is ultimately an underdog story of a small band of warriors taking on a huge army, the film never achieves the emotional climax it needs to in order to be successful.
Cinematically, 300 is pretty to look at. Shot almost entirely against green screen in a studio, the film has a very grainy sepia tone to it. It isnt colorful. Quite the contrary. It is very washed out and dull. But thats part of the visual wonder of the film. And for those who have read the graphic novel, you'll find that the film looks exactly like a comic. Similar to Sin City, the graphic novel could have been used as the storyboard for this film. It looks like a live action comic book. Those interested in digital cinematography will find the film very interesting on a number of fronts. Of particular over use is slow motion. Everything is done in slow-mo: Battle scenes, walking scenes, sex scenes, death scenes. Aside from being a stylish effect, this was a necessary thing to do. If the film had been played back at full speed, it probably would have been less than an hour long!
I kid, I kid. But the point is, the visuals of the film far outweigh the story elements. Taking a page from Braveheart, the film wants to be about the age old struggle between tyranny and those who crave freedom. While it is mildly effective in this regard, it gets bogged down with lame dialog that tries to be far more ironic and clever than it really is. If I took a drink every time one of the characters yelled SPARTAAA! I would have been drunk by the middle of the film.
Not only is the film simple with poor dialog, it is the definition of excess on every front. Gratuitous violence, slow motion sex to enhance the jiggle factor, and lots and lots of naked men. Yes, ladies, Gerard Butler stands naked on a balcony for . some reason. I guess it is an ancient Spartan tradition to let it all hang out commando style on a balcony. And if the men arent naked in the film, they are merely wearing capes and codpieces. And without much of a story to bookend the gratuitousness and borderline silliness, this film just begins to feel tacky.
As well, the film loses a lot of the histrical basis when it brings out weird monsters. We see a jabba the hut style blob with blades for arms, a giant creature who resembles Chunk from the Goonies and rampaging, monstrous rhinos and elephants. Certainly a bit of creative license is in order for a film like this, but we're supposed to be inspired by the bravery of these "real" men who fought for their freedom. It loses it a little when the bad guys use monsters to do their bidding.
The battle scenes are really the best part of the film, and thankfully, they are abundant. Filled with lots of gore and cgi violence, these scenes were amazingly well done. Decapitations, limb removal, stabbing, slicing, and goring are the hallmark of this film and will inspire many filmmakers in the future. But the scenes are not without fault. Once again, falling into excess, the sounds of stabbing are greatly exaggerated. Obviously many watermelons were sliced and diced to achieve these effects. As well, the blood that went flying all over looked particularly fake for some reason, especially since not a drop ever seemed to land on the clothing or skin of the Spartans. That said, the film is worth seeing for those fanboys who want to see lots and lots of crazy action.
While I know Im being over critical about the film, I didnt entirely dislike it. Like most films, the merits of it have to be weighed on what the filmmakers set out to do. And from watching the film, they set out to make a violent, gratuitous film about love, bravery and freedom. They were successful on a few of these fronts, but ultimately, the film fails to drive home any real point and remains a piece of fluff and pointless excess.
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
*** out of **** It isn't historically accurate or relevant, and it's decidedly silly; but there's just something about Zack Snyder's big-screen adaptation of the Frank Miller comic book "300" that appeals to me right off the bat. It's the kind of movie that bothers just as many as it entertains; a critically divisive action movie that just barely passes as art in its genre. Quite a few readers will probably find it laughably shallow, but there's a charm to Snyder's style; … more
Ive been contemplating weather to make this a review of a quick tip, looking at the type of Movie 300 is I think a Quick tip would be better. Now onto the micro review. As we all know 300 is a stylistic retelling of the the famous Spartan battle of Thermopylae were 300 Spartans held back half a Million Persian troops. Like I said the day I finished watching the DVD, "I don't care if its historically inaccurate, 300 is one … more
Based on the comic book by Frank Miller, the movie 300 is an epic Tale of 300 Spartans and numerous other Greeks battle against Xerxes and his mega army of Persia. The battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC, shows the strength, honor and sheer fighting power that once was the Spartan men. The story being told Through the ages and in many different ways is truly made historic by Frank Miller's story telling. While not a fan of comic books, or movies that look like comic books … more
300 is quite the confused movie. There are times when its unoriginality is glaring, like in a scene stolen to a tee straight from the finale of Gladiator, juxtaposing the death of our hero King Leonidas with images of his young son and wife running in a dark field of grain. Then there are times when it tries so hard to be unique it’s ludicrous, such as a scene in a Persian army camp where totally inexplicable things are going on including, but not limited to, a near-orgy, a squirming … more
What Pompted You to write a Review? This is one of the best movies I have seen in my life. Not only are the graphics excelent but the whole story line was good. I like how it has some real life events of how the Spartans were. How was the Plot, Acting, Direction? The plot made sense and I don't think it could have been better and that is probaly due to the excelent acting and directing. Were You ENTERTAINED? … more
The 300 Spartans is based on the battle of Thermopylae between the Persian empire and Greece. Mainly Athens and 300 Spartan Hoplites against the entire Persian empire. The Persians were lead by Xerxes the Great who Persians believed to be a man god. The Greek City States were lead by King Leonidas of Sparta. Although a mere man, King Leonidas was a warrior in every sense of the word! Xerxes the Great was continuing a war with Greece that had been initiated by his father, Darius the Great. … more
This is perhaps the film that really made Zack Snyder well known. It's what put him in the minds of many movie goers. And it put him in my mind too, but not for the exact same reasons. When I saw 300 for the first time, my first thought was that it was a very stylistic looking film that was filled with a lot of cool, flashy special effects, beautiful choreographed battle sequences. In short, it was a film that looked good. But being someone who also enjoys getting some … more
Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, 300 takes over the screen like an invading horde. With all the gushing blood of a horror movie and the scope of a classic epic, the second film from Zack Snyder (who helmed the 2004 remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD) is an impressive visual spectacle. Gerard Butler (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) plays Leonidas, the king of ancient Sparta. The city is famous for its warrior philosophy, and Leonidas won't kneel to the demands of Persia's King Xerxes (LOST's Rodrigo Santoro). Instead, Leonidas leads his 300-strong army against Xerxes's army of millions. Meanwhile, his wife (Lena Headey, THE BROTHERS GRIMM) campaigns in Sparta for the city to send reinforcements as she butts heads with the treacherous Theron (Dominic West, THE WIRE).
300 is a 2007 American action film adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller, a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. The film was directed by Zack Snyder, while Miller served as executive producer and consultant. It was filmed mostly with a super-imposition chroma key technique, to help replicate the imagery of the original comic book.
King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) leads 300 Spartans into battle against Persian "God-King" Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his army of more than one million soldiers. As the battle rages, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) attempts to rally support in Sparta for her husband. The story is framed by a voice-over ...