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300 Movie Review

Category: 300 Reviews
Article Date: November 19, 2006 | Publication: MoviesOnline | Author: The Dude

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10 out of 10 Stars

If you've seen the trailer, you know that the movie looks full of obscenely ridiculous action sequences that would kick unholy amounts of arse. The movie is a two hour, R-rated version of that trailer. It inspires many an exagerrated obscene comment, but it's completely deserving in doing so. 300 is adapted from the graphic novel by Frank Miller.

It tells the story of the 300 Spartan warriors led by their bad ass King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), as they stand up against the tens of thousands of Persians awaiting to conquer and absorb Sparta into the empire. The Persians are lead by Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), who figures himself a god among men. And the movie is about their battle. Sure, there's a fair amount of political intrigue amongst the Queen (Lena Headey, who is quite yummy) and a traitor among the Sparta elite (Dominic West), but really the movie is about the battle, which is a technically accomplished series of fight scenes like I have yet to see before. Seriously. You'll want to compare them to scenes from Lord of the Rings or Gladiator, but you'd be wrong. Oh my, you will be wrong. One example would be the long, unbroken shot of Leonidas fighting in the first battle, the one that doesn't cut and keeps speeding up and slowing down, was quite invigorating, and a stand out among many great epic battle sequences.

Jaw dropping, and I might even be so inclined to say awe inspiring, battle sequences. The visuals themselves, even when not involving bloodshed or carnage, are a sight to behold. Much like the previous Miller adaptation Sin City, 300 was made with generous help from all digital environments. I don't know how faithful the film is to the graphic novel, but I can say that it looks damn fine, like the novel had come to life. Although what I viewed tonight was a workprint, most of the effects and digital rendering had been completed, and it never looked obnoxiously fake at all. It's a beautiful looking movie. The actors do well for their roles, with Gerard Butler as a very convincing badass leader, even though he doesn't need to keep shouting everything as if it were a grand statement. But you know what? It doesn't matter because I'd follow him into battle any day.

Mainly because I know that he could pretty much single-handedly take care of everyone for me, but he'd know I have his back. Zach Snyder, he of Dawn of the Dead ('04) fame, directs 300 with a sure hand, telling a rock solid tale of honor and valor and mostly about kicking ass. Looking back upon the film, I'm starting to pick up on some themes that are a little freaky if you stop to think about them. (Spartans discard imperfect babies, so as to keep their army full of the strongest. This leads one to realize that the Spartans are kind of creating their own master race. And when you think of creating a master race, Nazis also come to mind. And yet, we the viewer are supposed to identify and support these Nazis. These superior soldiers who, by the way, all kind of look like He-Man action figures, and made me feel inadequate about myself.)

There is a lot one can take away from this film. But purely on a knee-jerk visceral level, it's going to be very hard to top this movie. It's an adrenaline shot to your standard epic film. It packs a lot of testosterone into a two hour gap, but when compared to the bloated epics of late (Troy, Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven), it's quite refreshing. I don't know if I can keep lavishing praise on this film. I know this much, I can't wait to see it again. It's nice to see a movie that's not afraid to do new things while at the same time telling a solid story. A story of fighting. A lot of fighting. A hell of a lot of fighting, but done so well, and in such a damn good looking movie. It's a movie that makes you excited about movies again. Hell, it reduced me to obscene fan-boy gushing like I lost my virginity or solved the world's economic crises, full of hyperbole and nonsensical ramblings. That's what this movie does!!! 300 is one hell of a film.


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