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