Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: March 22, 2007 | Publication: The Mid Devon Star | Author: Miles Fielder
This adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel about the bloodthirsty battle in 480BC between the Spartans and the Persians makes heavy use of computer-generated imagery to effectively animate the pages and panels of Miller's already cinematically-styled comic.
You'd be forgiven for thinking 300 is little more than a violent video game projected on to a big screen, but the experience of Zack Snyder's super-stylised, adrenalin rush of a film is more akin to watching an over-the-top slice of opera in which acrobatics, arterial sprays and decapitations take the place of arias.
Miller's take on the battle of Thermopylae - during which 300 elite Spartan warriors repelled the massive assault of the invading Persian Empire, thus saving Greece and western democracy from extinction - is myth-making as opposed to historically accurate.
Snyder follows suit by having his cast, led by Scot Gerard Butler, who plays the Spartan king Leonides, act against blue screen and then animate the backgrounds to create a beautifully rendered hyper-real world.
Much has been made of the film's allegedly dodgy politics: is the battle a thinly-veiled allegory for America's war on terror, with Leonides representing an idealised George Bush?
Interestingly, it's possible to read the film the other way around, with the mighty Persian army led by the megalomaniacal god-king Xerxes - who sports a pronounced American accent - representing the American war machine commanded by a hawkish White House.
advertisementIn fact, neither Snyder's film nor Miller's book are very much concerned with politics. What both do is stage a wantonly narcissistic, fantastic and wholly amoral adventure that revels in the blood and glory of combat. Make of that what you will, but there's no denying the sheer visceral pleasure of 300.