The might of Sparta

Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: April 4, 2007 | Publication: The Kilkenny Advertiser | Author: Deirdre O’Reilly
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Based on the graphic novel by ‘Sin City’ creator Frank Miller, ‘300’ tells the story of the legendary battle of Thermopylae, when a small army of 300 Spartans took on the might of the Persian king Xerxes and his vast and invincible army.

Using state of the art technology Zack Snyder brings to the screen a unique and visually impressive version of the legendary battle which was first screened in 1962. Unsurprisingly Snyder’s film is vastly different and more advanced than the earlier version.

Using the same digital imaging as ‘Sin City’ the actors are shot against blue screens with the surrounding scenes generated through CGI. Although the script and acting are not as polished as other epic films such as ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Ben Hur’ the sheer impact of the film and its computer generated effects on the big screen are spectacular. No doubt it will soon hit the shelves as a video game.

The action begins with the story of a young Spartan who, using his spear, fights off the vicious attack of a hungry wolf. The brave young warrior is subsequently declared King. Years later when he receives a visit from one of King Xerxes’s advisors telling him that they are planning to extend their empire and that they should surrender now or face death, King Leonidas’ natural extinct is to refuse and then kill him and his group of aides. However, his Council are unwilling to commit an army before the end of their religious festival and due to the advice from the Delphi oracle decide not to go to war.

Scottish actor Gerrard Butler is excellent as King Leonidas, who despite the orders from the higher council and predictions from the oracle that Sparta will fall, believes it is his destiny and has no choice but to lead a small army of men into battle and certain death. The battle scenes that follow detail the savagery and gruesome price that war imposes on man. Unsurprisingly 300 is extremely graphic and gory, with heads and arms flying in all directions for much of the film.

Even though it is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted 300 is by far one of the best spectacles to hit our screens in a long time and will more than likely win a couple of the major awards next year.