...and a Movie: 300

Category: 300 News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: March 26, 2007 | Publication: College Publisher Network | Author: Mike Williams
Publication/Article Link:The Beacon

In the short time since its opening on March 9, 300 has developed quite a media buzz for itself; and after pulling in over $70 million during its opening weekend alone, it would appear that the buzz is paying off.

Luckily for moviegoers, 300 is one movie that lives up to the hype. Adapted from Sin City creator Frank Miller's graphic novel, this epic tells the story of the legendary battle of Thermopylae, where a small band of Spartan warriors bravely held their own against the massive invading forces of the Persian Empire.

Of 300's virtual army of heroes, Sparta's brave king Leonidas, played by Gerald Butler (Dracula 2000, Reign of Fire), stands head and shoulders above all others. After receiving a message from his trusted oracles, warning him not to march the full force of his army against the invading Persian forces, King Leonidas is faced with the decision between defying his gods and his council by leading an attack on his enemies, or obeying the oracles and sitting idly by as his people and his kingdom fall to the mighty Xerxes, "God King" of the Persian Empire. Unable to choose between the two rather unpleasant options before him, Leonidas creates his own option.

Deciding that he can't surrender his people into bondage, Leonidas leads a small force of 300 hardened soldiers to defend the mountain pass that the Persian army must travel through in order to reach the city of Sparta, while his queen, played by Lena Headey (The Cave, The Brothers Grimm), attempts to convince the council to allow the rest of the army to march, reinforcing the king against the invaders.

Once in position, the 300 Spartans await the oncoming battle with the seemingly unstoppable forces of Xerxes, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands and was comprised of warriors from all of the lands conquered by the "God King." The battle that ensues is known for bravery and sacrifice made by the 300 Spartans, and has become famous as one of the greatest "last stands" ever made. Unfortunately, those who paid attention during history class will know how the battle ends.

In addition to delivering a great story, 300 explodes onto the screen, delivering one of the most visually stunning films in years. Under the direction of Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) the film was shot almost entirely in Montreal, heavily utilizing blue and green screen technology to create the stylish, stunningly realistic Greek kingdom and the sweeping, carnage-ridden battle fields featured throughout the film.

Other than the elaborate, computer generated sets on which the three hundred Spartans do battle, the combatants on both sides are quite impressive themselves, especially those on the side of the invading Persians. Consisting of wave after wave of fearsome warriors, the Persian forces range from infantry to explosive-throwing wizards to the menacing, iron-faced Immortals. Even more impressive than the appearance of their soldiers are the "beasts" they bring with them, including elephants and rhinoceros armored for battle, along with some interesting monsters such as the gigantic, blue-skinned, razor fanged "Uber-Immortal" (played by former WWE wrestler Robert "Kurgan" Maillet), or the "God King's" saw-armed executioner. Most impressive of all is Xerxes himself, portrayed as a gravel-voiced, hairless, 8 ft. tall giant, adorned with gold, seated on a thrown carried on the backs of his slaves.

From beginning to end, Frank Miller's 300 is an all out cinematic tour de force, combining elements of epic storytelling, stunning visuals and heart-pounding action. However, though it may come from the pages of a comic book, it is certainly not a film for children. From the instant that the Persian army sets foot onto Spartan soil, the violence begins as the heads start to roll and the blood starts to spray.

Other than the violence, the film also earns its R rating through several scenes of nudity. On the upside, though they may be vicious killers on the battlefield, the Spartan army has incredibly clean mouths, as there is virtually no bad language.

Nevertheless, the film's combination of sex and violence make 300 one for the big kids. So, if you're in the mood for a visually stunning, adrenaline driven epic full of powerful acting and breathtaking battle scenes, go out and see 300. If you're not into that sort of thing…go out and see it anyway, even if it's just to see what all the hype is about.

Grade: A+