Published on October 29th, 2007 | by Chris0
"Tonight we dine in hell!"
Either 300 is a total piece of hyper-stylistic, cheeseball, violence-celebrating, FX-laden garbage...
...or its pure friggin genius. I'm still trying to figure it out.
300 tells the story of King Leonidas of the Greek city-state of Sparta, whose citizens were bred and taught to be the warrior elite. Faced with imminent destruction by the king of Persia, Xerxes, he takes a band of 300 men, against the will and laws, to face them.
On the one hand, 300 is just over the top. Everywhere. I'm sure most of that has to do with the fact that its based and patterned after Frank Miller's graphic novel (aka thick comic book) on the subject, which I've not laid eyes on. In that respect director Zack Snyder has excelled. Stylistically 300 is pure eye-candy. From the heavily color keyed look, down to the strange lighting, bullet-time scenarios, freeze frames and what have you. But that also gives it the appearance of lacking any real depth. The entire picture is driven by the FX and the style.
But then I got to thinking, about 3/4 of the way through the picture. You know, this is almost genius. Compare the story as its being shown to us to other grand epics of the Greek tradition, such as "The Odyssey." With its long and glorious tales of battle, the grandiose praising of so-and-so cutting the heads off of 10,000 enemy soldiers single-handedly in the face of the (here, literally) larger than life fearsome enemy king.... This film really lends itself to an interpretation like that. I have to say I went from watching it with a jaded eye to looking at in that respect, and actually changed my mind.
The effects are, as they are paying homage to Miller's work, typically comicky. I wouldn't say realistic, as well, they just aren't. But it sure is violent. The spraying blood patterned after ink spots, the flying severed limbs. The over-deformed traitorous hunchback, the imposing figure of the Persian king Xerxes, and the mythically scary nature of his multitude hordes.... How can you not think of some ancient Greek sitting around a fire telling this story in just such an exaggerated and glorifying manner to a group of eager young ears.
Unfortunately, the performances had to also fit this 'comic book' nature. Gerard Butler's King Leonidas is just pure intensity when it comes to the battle, but lacking in other aspects when required. Lena Headey is just, well, adequate in the role of the Queen. Everyone else is just along for the ride I think. Rodrigo Santoro (yeah, LOST's Paulo..snicker, took me minute to place him) as King Xerxes reminds me of Ra from the Stargate Movie... but its all good!
I can't claim that 300 is in anyway an introspective look into the lives of the ancient Greeks, or a deep journey into the psyche of the soldier faced with imminent destruction...
... but I will say that once I figured out the "angle", 300 really wasn't that bad. Not as bad as I was expecting anyway. Not one for the kiddies, that's for sure.
300 (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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300: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Original Release Date:
- Gerard Butler
- Lena Headey
- Dominic West
- David Wenham
- Vincent Regan
- The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation. Retelling the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, it depicts the titanic clash in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his ma
Summary: Either 300 is a total piece of hyper-stylistic, cheeseball, violence-celebrating, FX-laden garbage... ...or its pure friggin genius. I'm still trying to figure it out.