Cinema - Ready To Rumble

Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: April 23, 2007 | Publication: | Author: Administrator
Publication/Article Link:

300, the latest adaptation of a Frank Miller graphic novel, opens on such a dramatic, overwhelming note, most of your senses are shattered in the first ten minutes. But that’s OK, says UP Front, because the epic knob is turned to 11 for the entire film anyway…

Most everyone learned in school about the epic story of the Spartan sacrifice, of which 300 is an imagining - it’s such a basic plot, there’s really no way to mess it up. Consequently, Zack Snyder (Dawn of The Dead, 2004) gave himself a little creative license to spice it up. With a whole tin of paprika.

In this telling of the battle of Thermopylae, Gerard Butler plays the Greek King Leonidas, who in 480BC led 300 Spartan warriors in a doomed battle. The Spartans are approached by a Persian messenger, warning them that an army so big it “drinks rivers dry and shakes the earth with its march” is on the way. The only way they can save themselves is by giving in to King Xerxes’ (Rodrigo Santoro) empire.

But, by this point in the film, we’ve learned that the Spartans are ruthless lunatics, perpetually blood drunk, so the answer would be ‘No’, then. None too respectfully, the Spartans march to war with only a handful of soldiers (the titular 300), no match for the mega-Persian horde. Or, so you might think. A few sub-characters are introduced and, once the fighting begins, the film cuts back and forth between the battle frontline and the Spartan Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) back home, fighting off corrupt politicians. From here on in, anything goes…

The movie was summed up when a severed head flies across the screen for around 30 seconds. Other than that, it’s all sound effects and a lot of corny dialogue that feels like it’s getting in the way of the fight sequences.

The movie is in a league of its own - there’s orcs, mutants, magicians, elephants, an enormous rhino, amputated lesbians, hunchbacks, transvestite kings (making them queens), and, my favourite, an obese man with swords for arms. You can actually feel the confusion on your face for the entire film but, after about the fourth or fifth slow-motion blood-ballet sequence, you learn to relax and enjoy this nutty piece of eye candy. And that’s one thing that it really has going for it, the visuals.

Turn your brain off, and revel in this big-screen video game in all its gory glory.