Graphic battle's a triumph
Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 22, 2007 | Publication: Newham Recorder | Author: editors
THE TWO may have been in existence for roughly the same amount of time, but 100 years on, the motion picture has at last caught up with the infinite visual possibilities of the comic strip.
At least, that's how it feels after watching 300 (15) - Dawn of the Dead director Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel.
Miller's is a name that will be familiar to fans of Sin City - a cinema hit two years ago - but comics fans have been savouring his work for the best part of three decades.
He cut his teeth writing and drawing superheroes Daredevil and Batman before creating his own characters. But 300 marked a departure as it was "based on true events" (as film folk would put it).
It is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which the Spartan king Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 of his finest warriors fought to the death to stem an invasion by Xerxes and his million-man Persian army.
Facing insurmountable odds, their courage and sacrifice inspired the other Greek states to unite against the Persians, effectively drawing a line in the sand for western democracy as we know it.
What does need to be said about this film is that it is astonishingly violent. Which is fine in the context of the battle scenes, provided you can stomach a beheading or two.
Here and elsewhere, the use of live actors against computer-generated backgrounds has enabled Snyder to bring the look and feel of Miller's book to vibrant life.
Effects-laden as 300 is, it only rarely feels like you're watching a cartoon. Instead, here is a film with an atmosphere all of its own, with fine performances from all the lead actors, and a script honed to a cutting edge during the seven years it was in the works.