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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > 300

MOVIE REVIEWS

300 (2007)

Starring Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Domenic West, Vincent Regan, Tom Wisdom, Michael Fassbender, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan and Rodrigo Santoro.

Written by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon.

Directed by Zack Snyder.

Distributed by Warner Borthers.  116 minutes.  Rated R.

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300

300 is a film which spews testosterone onto the screen.  It is all about the glories of war, bravery and bravado.  Arrows fill the skies and spears rip the flesh.  Pulsating armies of thousands rush into melees with cries of glory and slashing swords.  Body parts are regularly shorn off, including the most decapitations I've seen in a movie since Tim Burton's retelling of Sleepy Hollow.  There is even a love story and a little gratuitous nudity to keep the guys in the audience happy between the scenes of carnage.

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of this type of storytelling, but I have to admit, while I would never watch 300 a second time, they do pull it off with great style.

300 is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller, in which he re-imagined the ancient war of the Spartans and the Persians.  His work has made the screen before, both in good incarnations (Sin City) and bad (Elektra.)

300 is one of the good ones.

Despite its (supposed) historical story, 300 feels more like a fantasy than any sort of reality.  (The actual war may be true, but you can be pretty sure it did not happen like this...) 

The plot, what little is there, is about Leonidas, the King of Sparta (Gerard Butler) refusing to capitulate to the wizard-king of Persia.  When the village elders refuse to call for an all-out war, King Leonidas picks a group of 300 of his finest warriors to face the tens of thousands of Persian soldiers.

There is some hugger-mugger about the queen (Lena Headey), a devious politician (Dominic West of The Wire perhaps the only recognizable face in the film) and a Gollum-like traitor.  None of it really matters, though.  300 is about a small army of people effortlessly mowing down a large army, including mystical, mythological creatures.  One long scene has a near-constant spray of blood and limbs in the air as our brave heroes make their stand.  The enemy army, being good sports, attack them one at a time, so they can each be killed before the next one comes.

You've seen this kind of thing before, in films like The Lord of the Rings, Gladiator and countless others, but 300 has a visual style which makes the story if not fresh at least intriguing. 

The character development is rather shallow, but that's alright, with thousands on-screen and most characters set to die at any moment, perhaps it's okay that you don't gain any great attachments to most of these people. 

The dialogue is more than occasionally awkward.  ("Are they thirsty?  Perhaps we should give them a DRINK!"  "Eat well your breakfast and lunch, because tonight we dine in HELL!")  That works somehow, this is a movie about calls to arms, not about human interactions.  Even the narrator acknowledges that the Spartan men are unwilling to show any feeling, because that would be a sign of weakness.

Yet, I gotta say it, it all works.  It will stoke the fanboy in you into a lather. 

Dave Strohler

Copyright 2007 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: August 5, 2007.

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Copyright 2007   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: August 5, 2007.