300 (2007)

300 poster 2006 movie spartans
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 10/10

Original and unique visuals

Too many Sparta speeches and heavy on the fast-forward slow-motion scenes

Movie Info

Movie Name: 300

Studio: Legendary Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): March 9, 2007

MPAA Rating: R

300-fight

Damn it! If we’d quit moving in fast-forward and slow-motion this fight would be easier!

King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) leads an army of three hundred Spartan warriors against the Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his Persian Empire in the legendary Battle of Thermoplylae.  Meanwhile in Sparta, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headley) tries to rally the lawmakers to aid the warriors as Theron (Dominic West) works against her.

Directed by Zack Snyder, 300 adapts Frank Miller Frank Miller’s 1998 comic book series which tells the legend of the 300 Spartan warriors that stood up again the invading Persian Empire.  The story has been told for years and previously was adapted as The 300 Spartans in 1962.  The movie was released to much fanfare due to its style of shooting and also due to is low budget, became a massive success at the box office.

300 is a spot-on adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300 comic book.  Miller, who’s Dark Knight Returns series was a quintessential graphic novel of the 1980s, really ramps up the violence of the tale…there will be blood…lots of blood.   Zack Snyder does many images almost panel for panel and the result is an almost like watching a living comic book.

300-hunchback

At least I get some action

I find myself being a 300 apologist.  Many of the critics ripped this movie of being nothing but being a long music video.  Yes, the fast forward/slow motion stuff does get a bit old at points, but I think it has a purpose.  The story is being told as an epic, much like The Odyssey or The Iliad, and the images are what the warriors hearing the story are imagining.  Xerxes is a giant in their mind, so in the story, he’s a giant.  Ephialtes (Andrew Tiernan) the hunchback is inhumanly deformed because this is how the warriors see the traitor.  Everything that the warriors fought was idealized…Bigger & badder than anything humanly possible…That is the point of the story and the legend of the 300 Spartans.

300-xerxes-leonidus-gerard-butler

So Leonidus…come here often?

This idea of the glamorized battle vision by men raised as warriors does work, but it does have some faults.  If they had gone to the final scene of the movie, and it had a more natural look, it would have been better.  This would have bolstered the idea that you are watching a mythological idolization of the events.  The Queen Gorgo and Theron parts also seem a bit unnecessary in this idea (and they seem a bit forced in plot wise also).  It felt like another way for a “This is Sparta” speech to be shoved down the throat of the viewer and there were quite enough of them that the Queen didn’t need to give one also…and yes, as mentioned, the fast forward/slow could have been toned down.

300 was a visual revolution.  A movie almost entirely on a film stage but with an epic sprawling feel.  Other movies like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow had attempted his before, but 300 succeeded (financially also) and the experience if not divisive is entirely unique.  300 received a prequel-sequel in 2014 called 300:  Rise of an Empire.

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Related Links:

300:  Rise of an Empire (2014)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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