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300 - The Domineering, Roaring Saga of Ancient Sparta

Category: 300 Reviews
Article Date: September 19, 2007 | Publication: | Author: Raj Machhan

Posted by: stagewomanjen

Guess which is the most common word in the opening statement of a typical Hollywood flick review? The answer is "Pedestrian". The majority of the movies thrive on sex, violence, one-man acts, forced comedy, super heroes, and of course fiction of the comic book type. It is not possible even for the likes of Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola, Sam Mendes, Ridley Scott, and Martin Scorsese to come up with path-breaking stuff such as Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, American Beauty, Gladiator, The Godfather, Casino, Apocalypse Now, and Scent of a Woman every time they set the camera rolling.

Very much against expectations, 300 is one such that belongs to the pantheon of these all time greats. A vivid, bloodthirsty adaptation of the novel by Frank Miller, 300 is anything but ordinary. The movie borders on genius and finally establishes director Zach Snyder as a director whose work demands to be watched.

Woven around the Battle of Thermopylae, the movie gives you a slice of history that has largely gone unnoticed despite its manifestation of all that is best in human character। It highlights the elements -- valor, patriotism, leadership, ambition, sacrifice, love, betrayal, and loyaltythat shape up the human character. 300 portrays the defiance of 300 Spartan soldiers, who successfully hold the line against innumerable Persian hordes marauding the countryside in ancient Greece.

Though history does not provide the exact numbers, literary estimates say that the invincible army of the Persians was so large that their thick and fast arrows, shot in tandem,could crowd the sky and block the sun (depicted in a scene of the movie).

300 focuses on the Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), who leads his small cadre of troops -- each one honed into a razor-sharp warrior trained to kill ?into a battle they are unlikely to survive. Leonidas fights to uphold the democratic ideals of Greece and plans to block the legions of Persian god king?Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) in a narrow passage, which is his only chance of beating back the large army. The Spartan soldiers are drawn from the best among the sons of Greece, trained as they are to face the rigors of the battlefield right from the age of seven. The movie has a strong narrative, delivered in a powerful voice that is vibrant, and trained to express human emotions in simple words. Each sentence and dialog tugs at your heartstrings. 300 impresses with its superb story line, a tight script, and excellent screenplay. It is choreographed with a finesse that surely makes it a frontrunner for the Awards. Sample these dialogs:

Leonidas addressing his army, just before the final battle:

Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty...... For tonight, we dine in hell!

Remember this day, men, for it will be yours for all time।

Freedom is not free, it requires great sacrafice। The price is paid in blood.

Butler is effective in bringing the blood-soaked, aggressive, heroic tale of King Leonidas to life. Though his queen, played by Lena Headey appears only in a handful of scenes, she leaves an impression that most actresses take an entire film to display.

The casting is superb, comprising actors with passable acting skills but flat board stomachs and rippling sinews that are truly representative of the Spartan times. Snyder captures the majestic size and scope, the exotic, and carnal physicality of the times with elan.

300, however, takes glorification of bloodshed and violent conflicts to the extreme. The movie has one scene too many; of human heads lopped off with razor-sharp swords, and deadly spears piercing human bodies with the ease of a kitchen knife slicing through a melon. Snyder, however, doesnt lose his focus of the main storyline throughout the movie. Despite the violent excesses, 300 stops just short of what you may term as sadistic.

Verdict: For those, who love to explore History, this is a must-see movie. I rate it second only to Gladiator in terms of its visualization and impact on the audiences.


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