Remaking History?... (Blog)

Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: February 16, 2007 | Publication: Blogspot - Walls and Bridges | Author: Joel Meadows
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Frank Millerís Sin City was a surprise hit at the box office, so itís not a huge shock that more of his work has made it onto the big screen. 300 isnít out until the end of March over here but I went to a press screening at the Odeon West End in Leicester Square with Dave Baillie on Thursday night. 300 is directed by Zach Snyder, previously responsible for the remake of Dawn of The Dead back in 2004, and the cast includes B-list actor Gerard Butler, David Wenham (Faramir in Peter Jacksonís Lord of The Rings) and Lena Headey, who was in Terry Gilliamís patchy Brothers Grimm. 300 tells the story (or myth) of the 300 Spartan soldiers with their king, who held off a Persian invasion of their country in the dim and distant past. Visually, 300 is magnificent: Snyder, with the help of cinematographer Larry Fong and editor William Foy, has realised Frank Millerís vision on screen in a manner that is grand, sweeping and dramatic, assisted by some impressive visual effects. Gerard Butler as King Leonidas of the put-upon Spartans is also magnificent and cuts an imposing figure on screen. But David Wenham, who plays the narrator of the film, one-eyed soldier Dilios, unfortunately has the sort of voice in this film that begins to grate very quickly. And Persian king Xerxes, played by Rodrigo Santoro, is camp rather than menacing as the villain of the piece, with his twinkling eyes and effeminate gait. Also, 300 could have done with some scenes that give the audience a little time to think: the action is frenetic and almost non-stop from the opening reel to the conclusion. But when it works, it really packs a punch: the fight scenes are visceral and beautifully shot and it doesnít suffer from the fast cutting of many action films, giving the audience the chance to take in the full horror of what is unravelling before their eyes. Snyder is a good director, and given time, he may become a great one. So 300 is, like Sin City, a good adaptation of Frank Millerís work which captures the spirit of the creatorís intentions while incorporating enough material to make it work for the cinema. So, despite the shortcomings I mentioned before, 300 is an honourable stab (if youíll pardon the pun) and itíll be interesting to see the mainstream audienceís reaction to this filmÖ