Those Spectacular Spartans

Category: 300 News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: February 15, 2007 | Publication: (Blog) | Author: Richard Horgan
Publication/Article Link:

The lobby in Santa Monica was buzzing last Friday after the first of several 300 press junket screenings, with journalists loudly repeating some of their favorite Gerard Butler entreaties. Now comes news that the 1700 folks in the audience at last night’s Berlin Film Festival world premiere went gaga for Zack Snyder’s film, spontaneously applauding throughout and giving it a hearty standing ovation as credits rolled.

It’s just the beginning. 300 is going to reverberate far and wide when it opens in theaters next month, driven no doubt by a large number of repeat-viewer ticket admissions. If I was as foolhardy and courageous as Butler’s valiant King Leonidas, I might try to make 300 bold predictions. But since I hail from Canada, not Sparta, I’ll limit my battle cries to a more realistic number.

Boffo Butler: One of the ways we can gage the appeal of a particular actor here at FilmStew is through the amount of reader correspondence we receive in response to an article. And I can safely say that an earlier Butler interview piece “The Sunny Side of Scotland”, originally published on March 6th, 2005, generated more mail than almost any other item I can remember. Will Butler’s rabid female following take to the extremely violent, slow-motion carnage of 300? Not entirely. But he is front and center throughout, has never looked this buff before, and is a shining beacon of rugged masculinity at a time when those kinds of Valentine’s valedictorians are few and far between onscreen. This is going to catapult the actor into a whole new stratosphere of stardom, kind of like what Casino Royale did last fall for Daniel Craig.

The Wages of Sin: Snyder and co. have just thrown a huge wrench into the Sin City franchise, by raising the business of adapting a Frank Miller graphic novel to a whole new green screen level. All of a sudden, Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 flick doesn’t feel quite so magisterial, and his 2008 sequel may have to go back to the black and white drawing board to truly shine in the post-300 halo.

Surrogate Multiplex Parents: 300 is “Rated R for graphic battle sequences throughout…” Meaning that technically, for those movie houses that enforce it, no blood-thirsty male under the age of 18 will be allowed in without the presence of an adult guardian. I guarantee you there will be familial bonds magically popping up all over America, with the resultant brood looking more like a bunch of Spartans than actual blood relatives.

A History of Violence: Though there may be a slight op-ed outcry about the level of violence in 300 (like there was for Sin City), it is in fact one of the most contextually correct depictions of such in recent memory. And it will come to be, gradually, firmly appreciated as such. Not a single gunshot is fired; not a single autopsy is conducted. In other words, on some levels, it’s less egregious than this week’s episodes of CSI. This is the way these guys fought. Or, as Butler put it in a more recent interview with FilmStew: “This is what we were born and bred to do… We were being attacked and now we are going to make it as bloody and as much fun as possible. Because this is what we [the characters] live for.”

The Canton Chronicles: Producer Marc Canton will finally have a film to stack up alongside Forrest Gump, the digitally enhanced masterwork of his ex-wife Wendy Finerman. Seriously, nothing in the cannon of Canton has come close to the masterful sheen of this film, and should do as much for his Hollywood power list profile as it is bound to do for Snyder’s (that’s him, above, with wife and executive producer Deborah).