Review : 300
Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: February 28, 2007 | Publication: Film School Rejects | Author: Loukas Tsouknidas
Release Date: March 9, 2007
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad and Michael Gordon, Frank Miller (graphic novel)
Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West
Studio: Warner Brothers
Final Grade: A
While Alan Mooreís comic tales are deliberately unfilmable Ė which has been proven by the directors who tried Ė Frank Millerís epics like 300 always seemed to have a cinematic feel to them. Robert Rodriguez did it with Sin City, perfectly transferring Millerís aesthetics from paper to the screen. Iím really glad to say that Zach Snyder continued the legacy with success. Despite itís natural flaws, 300 is the eye candy of the year.
Itís the worldwide known story of Leonidas (Gerard Butler), King of Sparta, and his no-guts-no-glory suicide defense against one of the largest armies the ancient world witnessed, the Persians of King-God Xerxes. Told by a soldier who survived as a messenger for the people back home, this is a timeless war epic, not a cliche but the story that gave birth to every heroic battle cliche from then on. Itís not historically accurate, more like a tall tale based on the mythology that arouse from the facts.
Snyder followed thoroughly Frank Miller and Lynn Varleyís steps, keeping the atmosphere, pallete, and most visuals from the graphic novel in tact. Whatever he added, never feels foreign and his respect for Millerís work is always there. Sometimes you can see the panels come alive. CGI is of course top notch although itís still a bit unreal. That is what makes it difficult for people who arenít familiar with comic book aesthetics to relate to this kind of visual delight.
Acting is good, although Gerard Butlerís Leonidas and Dominic Westís Theron both have a lisp. I wonder if itís from all the broken teeth one gets during basic training or ďagogeĒ. Plus, shouting when not in battle could be perceived as overreacting. Details, details, details. They all do great work and Rodrigo Santoro seems right as the queer Xerxes, a man stripped out of everything masculine after leading a hedonistic and lush lifestyle as his. Two thumbs up for Lena Heady, the extra attractive, personality driven Queen Gorgo.
Art direction is right on spot as expected and music connects the epic past with the presentís worshiping of it. Metal was a great choice since ancient myths are frequently praised in that genreís concept albums.
I should speak no more cause Iím a Greek dude and a sucker for wartime heroics and male predominant sexist comic book culture.
Iíll just say that Snyder recently got connected with the dead-end task of filming Alan Mooreís Watchmen. If he blows it, the momentum he gained from this one with the fan crowd could be long gone in a flash. Good luck to him.
About the Author:
Loukas Tsouknidas is a contributing Critic for Film School Rejects. He is also a film critic for www.in2life.gr and an independent writer and cartoonist searching for interesting gigs. He is currently involved in the creation of an independent magazine publication hoping someday he can make a living out of his wordplay. He firmly believes that Back to the Future is the greatest trilogy in the history of film and a younger Steven Seagal would be better than Keanu Reeves at The Matrix.