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Special Edition DVD (front)

An fantasy-action film directed by Zack Snyder and based on Frank Miller's graphic novel.

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Bronze, Brawn, and Blood!

  • Dec 22, 2008
Rating:
+3
WARNING: This film contains brutal, graphic, stylized action/violence, sexuality/partial nudity, and fascist ideologies.

Based upon Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name, 300 is the bloody story of King Leonidas who lead three hundred of his bravest Spartan warriors into battle against overwhelming odds. The film is an impressive exercise in the use of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and was made on a relatively small budget. Technically the film is an extraordinary achievement but artistically it's somewhat lacking. This is due in part to the story itself, which oversimplifies a massively complex historical period and is also due to the inaccuracies presented as though they were obvious to every viewer. I don't think that your average "action film audience" member is familiar with ancient military or political histories, nor do I think that all viewers will understand the social implications that this film makes. Frank Miller himself has pointed out the liberties he's taken with history and makes no excuses, saying, "I've never been accused of realism and I never deserve to be."
Gerard Butler as King Leonidas

It would be silly of me to accuse the film or the graphic novel of being an unrealistic or inappropriate portrait of the battle of Thermopylae, so I won't focus on the many deviations from reality. Rather, my reason for having mixed feelings about the film comes from the fact that it is so clearly a pro-war film. There's much emphasis on the necessity of war and the glory of dying in battle, which considering current events seems like a strange and potentially dangerous statement to be making, especially when the events the differences between the Persian invasion and the Iraq war are so obvious. If a comparison is to be made there are certain things that must be taken into account. There are many differences between the last stand at Thermopylae (480 B.C.) and the U.S./Iraq Conflict.
(1.) First of all, there have been phenomenal technological advances in which we have the advantage. If Greece is to be viewed as an allegory for the U.S., one must also consider the fact that we are technologically better equipped than the opposing forces in modern Iraq. In ancient Greece, though they were making revolutionary technological progress, the Persians would have had the advantage mainly because their empire was so vast that they had control over some of the most creative and innovative minds.
(2.) We outnumber the Iraqi insurgents whereas Leonidas and the Greeks were in the minority back then. While the Persians were creating an empire by conquering one nation after another and amassing an enormous army, the threat that we face is significantly smaller in number. In fact they are the underdogs, which if the theory is correct could mean that one day religious and political terrorists will be looked upon with the same sense of romanticism as piracy in the Caribbean and slavery in the Southern United States. This is something that is truly frightening.
(3.) Though Leonidas and the Spartans are given much of the praise for the ultimate defeat of the Persians, it was in actuality the Greek navy who was responsible for their victory (the battle of Thermopylae was in essence a sideshow, the real decisive battles were the battles of Salamis and Plataea). This is in direct contrast with today where the government is either praised or blamed for the accomplishments and foibles in Iraq. Today the soldier is often forgotten or vilified while politicians bask in the spotlight.


The story is very straight forward as it follows he-man King Leonidas, who foresees Persia's imminent invasion of Greece and tells of his attempt to stop it. King Leonidas, like all male Spartans, was sent to the agoge (a brutal school where young boys are trained to become soldiers or die trying), where at the age of seven he began military training of the highest caliber. Upon his return he is crowned king and he becomes a popular yet controversial leader. Years later, when Persian messengers come to offer Leonidas to align himself with the "God-King", Xerxes, Leonidas slaughters the messengers and essentially brings the wrath of the Persian Empire upon his people (this is a dramatic departure from the historical truth). The Spartan political world is greatly dependent on religious ritualism, so Leonidas goes to the fabled city of Delphi to see the Oracle (a prophet and priestess). There it becomes apparent that the Oracle is being manipulated by other priests and that they are in league with Xerxes. He is told that he is forbidden to go to war and Leonidas realizes that if Greece is to survive in its present form then he must take the western world's fate into his own hands. He gathers three hundred of his greatest soldiers and they march to Thermopylae (translates to the Hot Gates), an enclosed area off the shoreline and the most readily accessible access to Greece. When the Persians arrive they battle it out with the Spartans (in reality there were also hundreds of other Greeks present, not just the three hundred Spartans), hacking off limbs, shattering bones and basically committing one savage act of violence after another. At first the Spartans hold their ground but the sheer number of their opponents (historical documents vary; some say that the Persian army that fought at Thermopylae was only six thousand strong while other say that there was an astounding million) proves to be their downfall. However their deaths inspire Greece to go to war where Persia is finally defeated at Plataea.


Another reason for the film's controversy is that the story appears to be a celebration of fascism. The Greeks are viewed as being muscular, heroic, Herculean figures of honor and duty, but the Persian army (which consist of Asian, African and Middle-eastern warriors) is portrayed as being sadistic, dominating, sexually perverse and dishonest. There's a great deal of racial and cultural stereotyping which will undoubtedly offend some viewers. There's also a strong homophobic atmosphere (much like the works of Nietzsche). The muscular Spartans refer to the intellectual Athenians as being "philosophers and boy-lovers", which may be true in some sense. In ancient Greece, homosexuality was common and it didn't have the social stigma that it carried after the rise of Judeo-Christian values.
300 (2-disc Special Edition DVD)
It's also unfortunate that the filmmakers have attempted to make ancient Spartan society a parable for the United States. If this is what we are to become, what our modern society is born of, if these are the values that we embrace then the future is indeed bleak.
Yet with all of these things in mind I can still recommend 300. For one it's a fascinating reflection of our current moral attitudes and our disturbing fascination with violence. It's also a reminder of the perils of extremist viewpoints and social hypocrisy. The film is really only enjoyable if viewed as mindless pulp entertainment, but it's thoroughly depressing when viewed as an allegory.

Savage Leonidas
Bronze, Brawn, and Blood! Bronze, Brawn, and Blood! Bronze, Brawn, and Blood! Bronze, Brawn, and Blood! Bronze, Brawn, and Blood!

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May 27, 2010
Excellent review man, been a while since I have watched this.
May 28, 2010
Thanks.
 
September 19, 2009
I looked at this movie as a great adaptation of Miller's graphic novel and not as a history lesson--no one says "Godspeed" during this period. It channels male testosterone nicely and is a lot of fun to watch. I need to review this myself. Nice review. I thought I'd check out some of your older ignored reviews to get my Orlok "review fix" LOL!
September 21, 2009
Thanks. My main problem with this film was that they portrayed the Spartans as these great heroes and the Athenians as homosexual intellectuals, and then they went so far as to stereotypically portray all non-Europeans as monstrous barbarians. Certainly, from the standpoint of creating an epic visual effects film on a low budhet, this is a stunning achievement. And it certainly has some eye-popping action, but little else to offer. And since when does the Spartan King Leonidas have a Scottish accent and the Persian King Xerxes sound Hispanic? Give me a break, I could have pulled off better accents and I can only do German, Russian, and English accents.
May 27, 2010
I decided to put this in the community featured page.
May 27, 2010
Groovy.
 
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More 300 (2007 film) reviews
review by . November 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** 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; …
Quick Tip by . November 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
300 is based off Frank Miller’s graphic novel about an ancient battle where the King of Sparta led his army against the advancing Persians.  Hugely outnumbered, the Greeks held back the enemy in one of the most famous last stands of history.   King Leonidas(Gerard Butler), leads 300 of his best Spartan warriors into battle and begins what was truly a fight to behold.  His men fight to the death as one with their shields, swords and spears.  They are one as Leonidas …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
300 Spartans Delivers the Goods
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 …
review by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
 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 …
review by . July 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
1 of the BEST!!
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?  …
review by . December 17, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Madness?... THIS IS SPARTA!!
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.    …
review by . August 28, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Cinematography was great but not too big of a fan of the plot
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This...is...BORING! I just never got into 300 as much as my friends, though I appreciate the effort they gave it.
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Wiki

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 ...
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Details

Cast: Rodrigo Santoro, Dominic West, Tom Rack, Stephen McHattie, Gerard Butler, Peter Mensah, David Wenham, John Dunn-Hill, Vincent Regan, Lena Headey, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, Giovani Antonio Cimmino, Greg Kramer, Alex Ivanovici, Kelly Craig, Eli Snyder, Tyler Neitzel, Tim Connolly, Marie-Julie Rivest, Sébastian St Germain, Arthur Holden, Michael Sinelnikoff, Dennis St. John, Neil Napier, Dylan Scott Smith, Maurizio Terrazzano, Robert Paradis, Kwasi Songui, Alexandra Beaton, Frédéric Smith, Loucas Minchillo, Nicholas Minchillo, David J. Francis, James Bradford, Andrew Shaver, Robin Wilcock, Kent McQuaid, Marcel Jeannin, Jere Gillis, Jeremy Thibodeau, Tyrone Benskin, Robert Maillet, Patrick Sabongui, Leon Laderach, David Lapommeray, Vervi Mauricio, Charles Papasoff, Isabelle Champeau, Veronique-Natale Szalankiewicz, Maeva Nadon, David Thibodeau, David Schaap, Jean-Michel Pare, Stuart Myiow, Andréanne Ross, Sara Giacalone, Ariadne Bourbonniere, Isabelle Fournel, Sandrine Mérette-Attiow, Elisabeth Etienne, Danielle Hubbard, Ruan Vibegaard, Geneviéve Guilbault, Bonnie Mak, Amélie Sorel, Caroline Aspirot, Gina Gagnon, Tania Trudell, Stephanie Aubry, Mercedes Leggett, Stéphania Gambarova, Chanelle Lamothe, Sabrina-Jasmine Guilbault, Manny Cortez Tuazon, Cindy, Atif Siddiqi, Camille Rizkallah, Trudi Hanley, Neon Cobran, Gary A. Hecker
Director: Zack Snyder
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, War
Release Date: March 9, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Michael Gordon, Zack Snyder
DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
Runtime: 116 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Legendary Pictures
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