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Category: 300 News
Article Date: November 20, 2006 | Publication: JoBlo.com | Author: Jenny Karakaya
Source: http://www.joblo.com/index.php?id=13640

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Attention all comic book fans!! The legendary Frank Miller is at it once again. Having established a career in comics in the late 70's, he gained tremendous fame for writing the prominent, dark crime comic Daredevil, infused life into Elektra, and then moved onto the highly acclaimed and redefined Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. Miller's stardom continued to catapult with his Sin City series and its successful film adaptations co-directed with Robert Rodriguez. Maybe you've heard of it? Hehehe.

This time around Miller is collaborating with Zack Snyder to captivate and exhilarate audiences with his exceedingly epic graphic novel series 300 which depicts and glorifies the ancient Spartan war fought in defense of their democracy. Snyder who made his directorial debut in 2004's horror film, DAWN OF THE DEAD, helps to resuscitate the story of a bloody and barbaric battle led by Spartan leader, King Leonidas, played by the hunky Gerard Butler. The film is scheduled for release on March 9, 2007.

Last week, Warner Brothers gave press members the opportunity for a sneak peak at its upcoming larger than life film 300, followed by a Q&A with Frank Miller, Zack Snyder and star Gerard Butler. We were shown five different mouthwatering scenes throughout the night. Live action and virtual backgrounds were combined to capture and animate this historic tale of the Battle of Thermopylae. I for one, was completely blown away by the special and visual effects, and chilling bloodshed battle scenes accompanied by some powerful music. If you haven't seen the film's online teaser trailer yet, click HERE.

WHAT I SAW...

The first scene takes us to the beginning of the film which opens with a voiceover explaining how a Spartan boy is prepared and trained for combat. A young Leonidas is born, inspected for any imperfections and then painfully trained for battle. He is thrown into harsh habitats to grow tough skin and learn how to survive on his own. During this time, a young Leonidas is forced into growth with some severe beatings and then faced with the challenge of spearing a vicious circling wolf. The scene finally ends with King Leonidas killing the messenger sent by the Persian King Xerxes asking the Spartans to surrender their city. At this point, King Leonidas' presence, power and audaciousness become amplified thus making him irresistible and captivating!!!

In the next scene, we observe a bewildering battle scene in which the Spartans kick some major Persian butt!! The Persians try to move in on the impossible Spartan barrier formed by their shields to protect themselves from the enemy. However, the Spartans are relentless and not easily defeated. At first we have nothing but chaos: chopping, stabbing, slicing and blood squirting in every direction. This is a spectacular battle scene in which Snyder eventually incorporates a powerful slow mo fight sequence that enraptures the viewer. The bloodshed is exaggerated as you see the animation unfold and come to life!

The following scene takes us to an intimate moment between King Leonidas and Queen Gorgo. She helps ease his mind and uncover the real reason why she has been physically neglected. A strong Spartan woman knows what she wants and knows how to get it. Needless to say we are led to a passionate lovemaking scene, nudity and fulfillment on and off screen. Off screen because you can't help but notice the surreal muscular body on King Leonidas. Wow, talk about six pack abs and this is before gyms and health food stores existed!! I'm afraid to say that every man may feel slightly inferior after seeing these Spartan bodies of steel. This scene sure wet my appetite!

In the scene to follow, King Leonidas meets with King Xerxes. The visual effects never cease to amaze me as they become more and more impressive with magnified sizes, extravagant costumes (or lack of) and the use of sharp colors. King Xerxes appears to be a flamboyant freak who walked right out of an s & m club with one mission. He threatens to destroy all of Sparta unless King Leonidas surrenders. Being a proud, passionate and noble warrior, King Leonidas refuses to give up the freedom of his people and swears that he will prove that "even a good King will bleed".

The final sneak peek scene takes us to the big battle between the the Spartans and King Xerxes's army, the Immortals. The Spartans are uncompromising and are prepared to sacrifice their lives against this hideous, monstrous looking army. The battle becomes very ferocious especially when a gigantic beast like warrior is set loose on the Spartans. Just as my blood starts pumping and adrenaline peaking, the lights come back on the sneak peek to an end. Everyone is left speechless, in awe and hungry for much more.

MY REACTION...

If Warner Brothers intentions were to wet our appetite, they succeeded in doing so. I have no doubt that fanboys will be thrilled with the outcome of this extremely graphic film. This ancient battle of the Spartans is illuminated and visualized ever so magnificently by Snyder with its slow and gory battle sequences that leave very little to the imagination. 300 is certainly on testosterone overdrive and the cause is noble. It almost makes you wonder, what happened to the benevolent and honorable men who once fought these wars with as much passion as they had for their women?

Immediately following the preview scenes came the Q&A with Miller, Snyder and Butler. All three men were extremely pleasant and informative. Check out what they had to say.

THE Q&A

Was there any other film that you looked to when directing this film?

* Snyder said that there were no other films he looked to because this was a different battle. He stated that Xerxes' army had a different methodology in fighting than the Spartans and when they came together you could see the contrast. Xerxes army had a technological seniority. Also, the Spartans had no other jobs than fighting. This is all they did back then.

How many of the sets and locations were real and how many virtual?

* Snyder said that if you can catch it, you can build it. Most of Sparta was real but anything any distance away was built.

Having written this graphic novel, do you think that writer's should have an influence on the movies?

* Miller said that he would recommend for anyone who has a book turning into a movie, to make sure to own it.

The score is very different with different genres of music. Was that a conscious effort?

* Snyder said that it is was a conscious effort to support the visuals and have every move match with the music.

* Miller said that this is a scary modern movie and unlike our father's 300. He loves the movie for the music aspect of it.

Was there any importance of Mythology in directing or writing this script?

* Miller said that sure, of course it did and that he grew up with it.

* Snyder agreed and said that it did have an importance in the cultural aspect of it.

How tricky were the blue screens with the fight sequences?

* Butler said that it made the fighting scenes easier because they were in a more controlled environment and in a studio. So it wasn't more the fighting scenes but more of the dramatic scenes that were challenging because often they were fighting and yelling at armies and people that weren't there. He would turn to talk to his own army but no one was there. Being surrounded by blue screens and pretending to be in Thermopylae was tough and he said that he had to use a lot of his imagination.

* Snyder said that it was easier using the blue screens because the set was in the computer and if it was a fake set, they would have to shoot it anyway. The computer can be manipulated to change whatever you like rather than having to shoot and re-shoot.

What made you choose to write 300?

* Miller said that he had seen the film 300 Spartans when he was a young boy and when he discovered that the good guys would die, that changed his view on everything. He wanted to tell the story.

What made you decide to go from Phantom of the Opera to this, Gerard?

* Butler said that as an actor, it's good to do different things. When he had the opportunity to sing for Phantom he took it because he had never done that. With the script for 300, he thought it was exceptional and he knew it would be a special film. So he felt the need to be involved with this film. He said he brought himself into a mental impression of a Leonidas to bring that passion, physicality and dedication to the film.

Where do you see comic book films going from here?

* Snyder said that if you have graphic material like in this case, it will make it better to watch and if you are true to it, that's what will make great.

* Miller said it all gets down to the content and what's in it that matters. If you are true to what's happening in it, then you have something special.

* Butler said that he felt this was an incredible story turned into a masterpiece by Zack and not your typical action film. So if this film does well, it will encourage other studios to take a gamble on great stories and content such as this.

What will you be working on next Zack?

* Snyder said it may be the Watchmen.

 


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