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Review: 300

Category: 300 Reviews
Article Date: March 9, 2007 | Publication: Dose.CA | Author: Ben Carrozza
Source: http://www.dose.ca/movies/story.html?id=638a770a-c76b-423e-bb35-a0af5c9e9536

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Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham

Rating: 3 battles for eternal glory out of 5

Kinda like: A special effects circle jerk

The Deal: In 480 BC, a small group of approximately 1,000 Greek soldiers repelled the massive invading Persian army of King Xerxes ó an army of between 800,000 and five million troops ó at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece.

You donít need to know this fact going into director Zack Snyderís Thermopylae epic 300 ó based on writer/artist Frank Millerís graphic novel ó we just think that, for this reason alone, they should make a movie about the battle every year.

The film focuses on the complement of 300 Spartan warriors led by King Leonidas (Butler), who were part of the Greek force. Spartans were a hard people, bred from infancy to be soldiers and, as such, were arguably the greatest warriors in history.

Like the Spartans, 300 has certain undeniable and unstoppable strengths: leads Gerard Butler and Lena Headey are solid as Leonidas and Gorgo, the iconic and honorable King and Queen of Sparta. Their relationship and character development is limited but the screen time devoted to it is owned by the actors. Their story is one of the few human scraps in the film.

Also, the special effects alone, which dominate every aspect of the film, are worth the price of admission. Frank Millerís distinct artistic vision is recreated almost panel-for-panel onscreen and the effect ó as with Robert Rodriguezís adaptation of Millerís Sin City ó is breathtaking. The world of 300 is stark, filled with darkness and dwindling light, and tons of slow-motion fight sequences.

Sadly, like the Spartan city state, some of the filmís strengths become its shortcomings and, ultimately, prove to be its downfall. Sparta didnít conquer much more than Greece and soon fell out of power, thanks to its heavy reliance on a slave class that eventually revolted. Snyderís heavy reliance on special effects soon leaves the characters out to dry and the viewer cold.

Itís certainly more than enough fun for a Friday night, but 300 falls short of the sort of lasting glory that would earn it a place on your DVD shelf, let alone a place in the history books.

 


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