300 (2006)

300 poster 2006 movie spartans
8.0 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, weak back-up story

Movie Info

Movie Name: 300

Studio:  Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures/Virtual Studios

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Comic Book

Release Date(s):  December 9, 2006 (Austin Butt-Numb-a-Thon)/March 9, 2007 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

300 king leonidas gerard butler spartans

Don’t f*@! with Sparta!

Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) is coming for Greece.  Against orders, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) leads an army of three hundred Spartan warriors against the Xerxes and his Persian Empire in the legendary Battle of Thermoplylae.  Meanwhile in Sparta, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headley) tries to rally support for the men the lawmakers to aid the warriors as Theron (Dominic West) works against her…the battle will be history.

Directed by Zack Snyder, 300 is a historic action-adventure Dark Horse Comics movie.  The film is an adaptation of 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 relatively low-budget and became a massive box office success.

300 xerxes rodrigo santoro

All hail Xerxes…king of the giants!

300 is a spot-on adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300 comic book.  Miller, whose 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…which when it was released was something new.

The story is relatively close to the story which in turn is passed down.  This ties in with the comic book visuals and the style of the film because it is supposed to be an epic telling of an epic fight.  While the basic idea is rather limited with fight after fight and a rather bland story back in Sparta, the idea is right and the movie gets that it is the making and telling of a legend like The Iliad or The Odyssey…it is supposed to be larger than life (though it would have been nice to have a “real world” contrast at the end of the film after the battle to illustrate it is a story).

300 immortals persian warriors

Yeah…we go out like chumps

Gerard Butler grunts and yells his way through the movie.  Butler is often bland, but he isn’t bland in this movie because once again it is a narrator trying to elevate him to glory.  Lena Headley’s actions back in Sparta could have been interesting especially with a nice foil in Dominic West, but the whole rally the troops on the political side storyline is rather flat which is unfortunate for both actors.

Of course what is largely remembered from 300 is the unique visuals that have been copied often since to varying effects.  Though it did follow Sin City and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, it remembered that budget was also a factor.  It not only was a cost cutting measure, but it showed how stylistically a film could be shot without the sets and locations.  The action in 300 is still solid, and the decision to make it like a music video will probably either pump up viewers or turn them off.

300 hunchback ephialtes andrew tiernan

Traitor for all time…

300 is divisive and sometimes I feel like an apologist for it and sometimes I am critical of it.  The movie definitely has a look, style, and plan…which it sticks to and that admirable.  Other movies that have tried to emulate 300 have never quite reached the success of 300 and faced more comparisons and criticisms.  300 came out at the right time and hit all the right notes.  300 received a prequel-sequel in 2014 called 300:  Rise of an Empire.

Related Links:

300:  Rise of an Empire (2014)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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