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Category: 300 Reviews
Article Date: February 9, 2007 | Publication: MarvWolfman.com - Today's Views | Author: Marv Wolfman
Source: http://marvwolfman.com/todaysviews.html

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1200

That's 300 multiplied by the number of arms and legs that are cut off during the movie and that's just on the Spartan's side. If you throw in the Persians, I'd say it's closer to 32 million severed limbs. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I saw an early screening of 300 last night and thought it was just okay. To be fair, it's a lot better than okay. It's well acted. It looks good. And it's stylistically unique. But when you get down to it, it's a not a helluva lot richer than the swords and sandals pics they used to do in Italian with Steve Reeves back in the 1960s. But with tons more production value and style. It even has its requisite number of shirtless men all with muscles popping out of the whazoo; there are more six-packs on display here than in a beer can factory. For comic fans, it does bring Frank Miller's graphic novel to the screen, but it doesn't do a lot more than that and having already read the original, and liking it a lot, I wanted more.

The blood spurts with abandon, but because it's intentionally animated and designed blood rather than great gushing gobs of the red stuff, it is almost lyrical in its spurt patterns. And because of that despite the overwhelming amount of maiming, the violence actually isn't all that violent. In a weird way it is almost pretty. It doesn't repel as violence should, it rivets and makes us want more.

Which may be one of the problems I have with it. I felt I was watching video game animatics when I wanted to see a strong film. In video games - which I do love playing and am currently enjoying the very violent Gears of War - we go from one big action scene to the next and the animatics serve to lead us to the next big battle. In 300, the story unfolds the same way. Here's the Greeks fighting Persians. Now the Greeks are fighting masked Persians. Now the Greeks are fighting mastadons. Now the Greeks are fighting Rhinos. Now the Greeks are fighting the giant monsters, now the Greeks are fighting the one-eyed, one-toed giant purple people eaters. There is character in the movie, and when there is you want it to go on longer because there's some real substance, but character seems to exist solely to propel us to an even bigger and more incredibly done action scene the next time.

If the movie were bad or even poor I wouldn't bother talking about it at all. But it's a really wonderfully produced film, well acted, incredible to look at and fascinating in its scope. It is, as I said earlier, visually unique in the good way. And because of the action and some bare breasts, it should score big with the young male crowd, but I wanted to see something richer and deeper, something with more character that moving past the visuals would take it one step beyond those old Steve Reeves Hercules movies. That I didn't see.

Would I recommend seeing it? Yes. And you should see it in the theaters since it should be experienced on the large screen. You've never seen anything quite like it before. And, as I say it is well done. But while what's on the surface is incredible to look at, there's not much beneath.

 


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