This is Sparta... (blog)

Category: 300 Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: April 28, 2007 | Publication: blogspot.com | Author: Kee Lin
Publication/Article Link:http://pencilmanlives.blogspot.com/2007/04/this-is-sparta.html

During my absense from blogging, I did write one article which is the review of 300. I watched it on the opening week but never finish the review. That was quite a while ago but since I haven't post a review in a while, what the hell, here it is...

I saw 300 and IT. WAS. EXCELLENT.

For the uninformed, 300 is a movie adaption based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same title. This is the story of how 300 soldiers of Sparta defended their city from the massive Persian army so huge, they "shook the earth with their march and drink the river dry".

Knowing the actual history of this battle, I realised, when I read the graphic novel, that the story presented is highly inaccurate and excessively glorified but what the hell... it was one hell of a read.

My initial impression, based on the trailer, is that they will followed the other movie adaption of another of Miller's successful graphic novel, where scripts and scene was followed virtually unaltered from that of the printed version. While that will still be interesting to watch, I am glad director Zack Snyder did what he did, adding to the story, shooting some original scenes, and all the while keeping some very memorable scenes from the graphic novel, which is plenty. And their attempt to replicate the lighting and colour mood as originally presented is also commendable.

I could not believe that the role of King Leonidas, based on Miller's interpretation can be carried out so effectively but Gerard Butler pulled it off briliantly. He was brought up to be hard but yet it shows that deep down inside, he has a soft spot for those that he love. But it was his toughness that fanboys like us love, and his sense of sarcasm as only Miller can script it. One of my favourite line was his reply to a band of Greek who expressed their disappointment in his number of soldiers. And of course, all of us remember how he treated the Persian messenger in the beginning of the film.

The director has chosen to expand the story beyond what was first published. Good decision as the original content was probably not long enough for a proper movie. The rape of Leonidas's queen and the subsequent punishment she carried out on the traitor during the council meeting was not in the original story. But Miller's style was so closely followed in the scripting that even one who has read the GN wonders, if the scene were original, or were from the book but merely forgotten.

The battle scenes were awesome as viewers see how superior the Spartans, fighting skill is to the Persian. Purists however, may question... where is their formation? History as well as the movie have stated that the strength of the Spartan army lies in their formation. Formation which was used only in the beginnning of the first battle before every Spartan seems to break away and fights-maims-kills-slaughters as individual instead of as one single fighting unit. A friend also mentioned that in real battle, soldiers never thrust as deep as the handle will become slippery from all the bloodshed and it would be impossible to withdraw the spear.

Well... I was right about the formation as Dick was about the thrust but truth is nobody give a damn. We were all too busy feasting our eyes on the images of Spartans giving hell to the Persians. Have I mention I love the lighting used in the film? Apart from that, Leonidas gave the most powerful battle cry I have heard in a movie.

"GIVE THEM NOTHING! BUT TAKE FROM THEM... EVERYTHING!!!

It was not in the book but it still feels like Miller could have written that. But I must add that it only works because Synder managed to create the right mood for it. Can you imagine if Aragorn shouted that in LOTR: ROTK? And for the record, his battle cry, as scripted by Tolkien is excellent too, albeit a tad too poetic. My favourite battle cry, or rather 'final pep talk' is still that uttered by General Maximus played by Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

Before a Spartan knock my light out for getting out of topic, my verdict is... hey, I already said it.

IT. WAS. EXCELLENT.