300 Review

Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 10, 2007 | Publication: comiXtreme | Author: Liam Creswick
Publication/Article Link:http://www.comixtreme.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33394

Quick Rating: Excellent
Title: 300
Rating: R

King Leonidas and his Spartan warriors fight great odds in this highly stylized film.

Directors: Zack Snyder
Writers: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Michael Gordon
Based on a Graphic Novel by: Frank Miller, Lynn Varley
Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Rodrigo Santoro
Studio: Warner Brothers

300 is the first great, epic, popcorn movie of the year. It is brimming with comic book style, intense excessive violence and chest thumping manliness. It also sports an excellent theme and message.

When Leonidas, King of Sparta, is told to submit his land, water, and will to the Persian ruler Xerxes, Leonidas tells him to go take a flying leap, thus instigating the wrath of Persiaís immense fighting force. With laws, politics, and traditions insisting that he not go to war, King Leonidas takes his 300 best Spartan warriors to a narrow mountain pass anyway. He intends to protect Sparta, no matter the price.

Through heavy use of CGI, director Zack Snyder employs an incredible style that looks like it was plucked straight from Frank Millerís graphic novel. The cinematography brings out the best things this film has to offer. Each scene has bright, representational colour themes. Brown/Sepia for the battles, gray for the City of Sparta, and light gold for Xerxes, among others. Excellent camera angles put the audience shoulder to shoulder with the Spartans, showing everything that goes down as frankly and plainly as possible. Instead of the flashy camera movement used in many other action movies, 300 leaves the camera at the best vantage point and lets the amazing fight choreography and CGI effects do the work, something I wish more action flicks would do.

Just like no one reads Playboy for the articles, you donít go into 300 for a deep plot. But as it turns out, you will leave the movie with more than an urge to pick a fight. There is a great message about the importance of pride, honour, and standing up for your ideals, fellow man, and country. I usually groan when a movieís protagonist rambles on about keeping his honour, but I genuinely rooted for King Leonidas to stand his ground and not take anyoneís crap.

There is a secondary storyline about Queen Gorgo, Leonidasí wife, dealing with politicians back in Sparta. This is not particularly interesting, but has a purpose in the end. It also serves to pace the story, as two full hours of Spartanís wailing on Persians may have been too much for even the most indulgent action movie fan.

Gerard Butler commands the role of King Leonidas as well as our hero commands his warriors. He is angry, aggressive, and passionate, but never brutish or dumb. What makes Rodrigo Santoro work so well as the villain is his voice. His delivery is smooth and composed, yet forceful, and he doesnít slip into the usual menacing or cocky bad guy routine. This is reminiscent of Philip Seymour Hoffmanís role in Mission Impossible III (expect this movie doesnít suck). Most of the actors do a good job with their characterís fervent, engrossing monologues, but a few of the shorter lines feel somewhat cheesy and canned. The latter could be attributed to the close adaptation of the comic book, where the lines donít sound as natural when spoken instead of read.

It is all about style in 300. The fight choreography is spectacular, though would not have looked nearly as good without the cool, CGI-aided style. The story is fairly straightforward, but it shares a (non-cheesy) message about honor and pride. A must see on the big screen for sure.