300 (Film Review)

Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: March 24, 2007 | Publication: Avalon5.com | Author: Editor
Publication/Article Link:http://www.avalon5.com/index.php/films/300-film-review/

IíVE JUST COME BACK from seeing ď300Ē at the cinema and Iím not really sure what all the hype was about to be honest. For those that donít know, 300 tells the story of the 300 Spartans who are alleged to have held a mountain pass at Thermopylae (also known as the Battle Of Thermopylae in 480 BC) against an advancing army of tens of thousands of Persians. On the one side, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) leads the Spartans and (for a while) some not-so-great-at-fighting Acadians. On the other side, a veritable horde of mad things, beasts, immortals and archers led by the God-King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro).

Long story short.. the 300 hold out for 3 days until they are betrayed, and die a valiant death defending freedom, honour and oh all that other crap too. God Iím getting bored even writing this

This movie is not meant to be a historical epic, accurately told; itís more of a spectacle with exaggerations everywhere and lots of Ďpoetic licenseí in effect. Shot almost exclusively in CGI-mode against a blue screen, Zack Snyder (Director) brings the graphic novel of Frank Millar (of Sin City fame) and Lynn Varleyís graphic novel vividly to life, the only problem is the whole affair is pretty much plot free, simplistic, more style than substance and visceral to the max.

The battle scenes are handled very effectively though, and as long as you can suspend your disbelief for a bit - which letís face it is the reason most of us go the cinema in the first place - you wonít be too let down by the shallow story and the weak characters. As a spectacle itís brash, effects laden, fast and satisfying. As a film - itís certainly entertaining and probably worth your few [insert appropriate currency here] but donít go in expecting anything more than sheer popcorn entertainment.

Then again, if you like nipples, youíre in for a visual feastÖ

Oh yeah - then there is the music. Holy crap the music is hard as nails in this flick. It opens with the usual haunting middle eastern Gladiator-esque tones, and then every time a battle kicks off it drops hard and fast into some metal madness, and Iím not sure if it was just the configuration in the cinema where I saw this or not, but the sound was cranked all the way up; loud as hell.

The lads all looked ripped, and Iím talking RIPPED here! Six packs to beat the band, muscles gleaming in the sunÖ mostly all CGI Iíd hazard to suggest, but well done nonetheless. The female parts in this sword and sandals foray are mostly limited to Lena Headey (as the Spartan Queen) who is pretty wooden all round - but it has to be said has some of the greatest nipples Iíve ever seen ) - assuming of course they werenít also a CGI effect!?! Actually come to think of it the only other female role is that of an Oracle, who basically does a quick dance and shows of some stunning nipple as well. HmmÖ Iím sensing a pattern here

There is probably something here for everyone I suppose. The guys will enjoy the blood and guts battles and combat, and of course the nipples. The fanboys and comic-geeks will love the graphic novel references and cinematography / setups. The ladies will probably love the six packs and leather jerkinsÖ actually the gay community will appreciate the same things too! Kids will love the entire spectacle and just relish the slow motion combat and effects. I guess the only ones who wonít enjoy this film are the Iranians.

You see they are protesting that this film is an assault on their culture, as they did with Alexander - apparently itís something to do with portraying them as being Ďeasy to beatí in a fight, but really - thereís nothing to get so worked up about. Itís a film. Itís a harmless diversion for a couple of hours.

Of course no summer flick is complete without its one-liners and memorable quotes, and in this department ď300″ doesnít disappoint. In one exchange with a Persian emissary the Spartans are threatened with the sheer scale of the opposition; ďOur archers will blot out the sunĒ the emissary boasts, ďThen we will fight in the shadeĒ the Spartan warrior responds. Itís all very tongue in cheek as well at parts and then of course there are the obligatory rousing shouts every now and then like ďEat a hearty breakfast lads, for tonight we dine in hell!ď. All good fun one way or another.

As for the actual technical process of bringing this to the screen, itís pretty impressive what Zack Snyder has managed to do. The style and delivery of the scenes has graphic novel written all over it, a testament to the source material from Frank Millar and Lynn Varley; and some set pieces are literally ripped straight from the pages of the graphic novel itself - great stuff for the comic book geeks to drool over I guess.

Still - itís taking in huge box office receipts in the USA for some reason. I donít think it will do as well here in Europe though. There arenít quite as many fanboys and geeks over here and cinema audiences also demand more from their films across Europe I think. I guess Iíll have to wait and see how the film performs. For now though Iíll apply my usual standard of evaluation to it: Would I buy this film to add to my DVD collection?

I suppose the answer is not immediately upon release, but maybe when itís down in the bargain basement Iíll be tempted. Iím glad I saw it and I did enjoy my popcorn fuelled two hours in the cinema, but I wouldnít be rushing back to see it again in a hurry; not even for those nipples!