“This is blasphemy… this is madness…”
“Madness? THIS IS SPARTA!!!!!!”
Easily one of the most highly anticipated movies this year is 300, based on the Frank Miller graphic novel of the same name. This is the same guy that brought us Sin City, a gloriously artistic look at a city, well, dipped in sin. They went with the same shooting style for 300, with all the scenes taking place against a blue screen, letting the computers fill in the backgrounds after the fact. It is highly stylized and a little full of itself. There are a lot of dull browns and grays (kind of like The Number 23). There’s crimson blood flying all over the place as heads fall and limbs get removed from their bodies. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
300 is a thoroughly enjoyable movie if you go into it with the right frame of mind. If you’re expecting exceptional character development (or any at all, really), you will be disappointed with 300. If you’re looking for an intricately designed plot with several unique twists and turns, 300 is not the movie for you. And if you have a weak stomach and cringe every time someone gets decapitated, you might want to steer clear of 300 as there is no shortage of brutality or over-the-top violence. Myself, I thought 300 was great.
It is truly a sensual experience, not just in the sexual sense (yes, there are boobies is a love scene), but in that the movie is a big feast for the senses. The bass-filled music and sound effects storm your ears with great fervor, getting your heart racing as they enter battle after battle. The visuals are simply stunning, with slow-motion action sequences that easily outdo The Matrix. If they installed smell-o-vision, it’d probably overwhelm your nose with the scent of rotting flesh and dusty battlegrounds too. Yes, this movie serves up “a hearty dose of badassity”, as Ed Lau put it.
In a nutshell, the movie tells us about the Battle of Thermopylae wherein 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas (played by Gerard Butler), essentially head into a suicidal mission to fend off an invading Persian Army. The Persian Army is said to number over a million, including a group of elite ninja-like warriors (what’s up with those masks) known as the Immortals (pictured above). “The thousand nations of the Persian Empire descend upon” Sparta, but the defiant King Leonidas basically flips them the bird in return, killing off wave after wave of Persian (and apparently Mongolian, Indian, and Egyptian) soldiers, as well as several exotic beasts that the Persians unleash.
There’s no real strategy to their battle plan other than the fact that they’re funneling this giant army into a very narrow passage-way. In this tight space, their numbers “mean nothing.” I would have liked to see the fights a little more planned and a little more logical — Greeks are known for their logic, after all — but just watching the 300 Spartan warriors stab and slash their way through the Immortals was… incredible. The action sequences were literally head and shoulders above Ghost Rider.
There’s a lot of testosterone in this movie, but women should enjoy it too. Leo Chiang said:
I think women and men watch the movie for different reasons. We watch it for the action and the women watch it for the men wearing nothing but undies and capes.
No, it’s not the movie of the year. No, Gerard Butler will not be up for an Oscar. Yes, it’s over dramatic and involves a lot of “roaring.” But if you’re in the mood for some great visuals and crazy fighting (and lots of gore), then 300 certainly serves it up. With this caveat in mind, I (and Leonidas below) rate 300…
FOUR STARS OUT OF FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
UPDATE: 300 just broke the $100 million mark in box office receipts.