“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 2007 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Zack Snyder / Actors: Gerard Butler, Rodrigo Santoro, David Wenham, Michael Fassbender, Andrew Pleavin ... / DVD released 2007-11-26 at Warner Home Video „
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Zach Snyder (Director) shows in this masterpiece that innovation in film will bring great reward. This is not an everyday battle film starring Brad Pitt or Colin Farrell; this film completely delivers on the action side of things and if you love action/war films and you haven't seen it you are missing out. It really relies on CGI but in a purposeful way to create that effect of unrealistic but satisfying violence. Think sin city crossed with troy and you get an idea of what this film is doing. Gerard Butler once again delivers with a brilliant on screen performance and is able to capture the audience with his character King Leonidas who leads his 300 spartans to a battle involving hundreds and thousands of persians. The idea was to slow them down rather than defeat them, which as the story goes, they do and more. It is in my top ten films i've seen to date and would implore anyone who enjoys sword and sandals epics to immediately watch this. Snyder envisaged a film so different from the norm that people had to take notice. Some have taken a shot at the meaning of the film, coming to a conclusion that it could be pro Bush and taking other political connotations from the movie. However this is just people with too much time on their hands looking for controversial symbolism that just isn't there. Of course Snyder wants to say something with his films (issues directly linked to the film and within the film), but i think going political with 300 is bordering on the absurd!
Coming back to the subject of the film itself, Snyder practically invented his own genre with this and it worked. It is very graphic and possible not for the faint hearted, but if you can stomach it, it's a must see. The fight scenes use a lot of slow motion and camera technique and are simply electrifying, brilliant Directing.
300 is one of the most interesting and innovative films of the last ten years visually, adapted from a Frank Miller graphic novel and directed by Zach Snyder, the film is a retelling of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, it begins with a persian messenger visiting Sparta to approach King Leonidas (Butler) to submit to the Persian Empire.
Leonidas, a headstrong leader of a very macho race, takes offence at both the tone and content of the message delivered to him and kills the messenger, delivering a clear message to the Persians.
What follows is an epic battle, as the only 300 remaining Spartan Men who can fight take on the combined might of Persia's forces, including Mongols, Sub Saharan Warriors and Indian armies. Leonidas and his men fight for their rights and the survival of their group. Whilst the Spartans fight the ensuing hoards, Queen Gorgo (Headey) has a battle to stop the horrible Theron (West) from taking over Sparta with his dastardly politics and back stabbing.
The film follows the battles that take place on both fronts, will Sparta survive and will the fearless warriors defeat the limitless Persian armies.
Gerard Butler ... King Leonidas
Lena Headey ... Queen Gorgo
Dominic West ... Theron
David Wenham ... Dilios
Vincent Regan ... Captain
Michael Fassbender ... Stelios
Tom Wisdom ... Astinos
Andrew Pleavin ... Daxos
Andrew Tiernan ... Ephialtes
Rodrigo Santoro ... Xerxes
Tyler Neitzel ... Leonidas at 15 yrs
Stephen McHattie ... Loyalist
Greg Kramer ... Ephor #1
Alex Ivanovici ... Ephor #2
Kelly Craig ... Oracle Girl
For what it is the acting is good, Dominic West is decent as the horrible Theron, whilst Lena Headey is very strong and looks like a true stateswoman as the wife of Leonidas, where the film falls down in many respects for me, is in the totally one eyed portrayal of the Spartans, with a voiceover from Larry Grayson doing an impression of Quentin Crisp, the film is incredibly Camp, Gerard Butler tries his hardest to be a macho leader of men, he roars and he stabs without issue, whilst wearing a bit beard and a ripped body, but the speedo's and the homo-erotic clothing, really just makes the whole thing some kind of odd homo-erotic homage to a period of history, that isn't historically or visually accurate.
The films visuals:
In a monochrome, that recalls Sin City, and computer animated backgrounds, the film is visually stunning, but something about the backgrounds looks rubbish and slightly cheap too. It is an interesting looking film, the costumes are incredibly camp, the visuals range from stunning to laughable, whilst the cinematography is neither innovative or exciting, so much more could have been made of this, there is little use of metaphor or effect, the visuals are basic and primitive like the film, the story and the characters.
The Characters and Story:
Both are one dimensional, the Spartans are muscular and fearless, unwilling to take a backward step, macho and knowing, however there is nothing more than this, they roar and fight, but you don't care if they die or not, as they have nothing but fighting in their character. The story reminds me a lot of the old Seventies film, 'The Warriors' a gang of people who simply fight lots of other gangs, this is simply a retelling of that story based in ancient times, with the usual Frank Miller stylistics, dark atmosphere, masculine, slightly camp characters, and attractive women who are strong, plus ultraviolence. If you can accept your not going to get a whole lot of depth then this is a good film for you.
Leonidas: Spartans' what is your profession?
Armies: Aroo, Aroo, Aroo
This to me sums up one of the weaknesses of the film, it has interesting fight scenes, but the script is laughable at best, it is dreadful, misogynistic, filled with historic inaccuracies. The ideal behind the Spartans crusade is that they are fighting for their city as they are free and the Persians are slaves, however, from my own reading the Spartans weren't averse to Slavery and encouraged it. When you see an army approaching you know its computer generated rather than real actors, you know the backdrops are computer generated and when the fighting ends, you can literally imagine the 'actors' on their plain green backgrounds shouting and flexing their muscles. This is off-putting and takes away from the film.
For me this is the films problem, as much as it is muscle headed tosh and visually confusing, the story doesn't stretch beyond the fights any more than 'The Warrior's' does, therefore you are literally waiting for the next set piece rather than enjoying the sum of the films parts.
I always imagined the Ancient Greeks to be quite enlightened, but these guys go into battle loutish, pumped up like steroid brained body builders, without humour, personality or anything to distinguish them from each other. The story is a basic journey to an insurmountable finale, the characters offer little redemption and the film is meat headed without offering one laugh or outlet for all the testosterone.
The film is macho, but after Brokeback Mountain is the most latent film about closet homosexuality I have ever seen, which would be appropriate as this was a key part of spartan culture, however because it doesn't accept this and takes itself way to seriously it comes across as a parody and you can't take it seriously without wondering about the true story subtext.
Visually, it is a camp classic, muscle bound men in make up chiselled to the nines fighting in their pants, it just adds to the confused make up of the story, how do you take a bearded man in his pants seriously as he rushes forward and shouts 'Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... For tonight, we dine in hell!', it's hard to take this seriously in any sense.
I would recommend watching the film because it is visually different, the first time I watched it I enjoyed the battles, the second time I watched it, I found it laughably bad, the battles don't hold the same appeal, the acting is rubbish and the script and story show that Frank Miller possibly peaked with Sin City.
Worth watching but definitely not worth buying, it's a novelty film. We bought a copy for £3.99, the showing on Five tonight has reminded me again what a turkey this appalling film really is. It is currently available on Amazon for £4.26
This is a weird film, i've read some books about the Spartans and the battle with Persia and this story doesn't appear to be historically accurate, the portrayal of the Spartans is one sided and one dimensional while the story itself does appear to move around in history, as some of the fighters seem more suited to an episode of He Man, Masters of the Universe (Battle Rhinos) than an historic battle.
I have actually lost count how many times I have seen this film. I first saw it on Sky Movies, and only started watching it because nothing else was on. Within 5 minutes I was hooked. The film was produced by Zack Snyder (who is also the co writer) and was released in the UK in 2007.
** The Plot **
The film is set in 480 BC and is about the battle of Thermopylae. The Persians are under the reign of King Xerxes, and the cities of Sparta and Athens are being threatened by him, as he has already destroyed and taken over many other Greek cities. King Leonidas, King of Sparta, has to sacrifice himself in order to save his people, he gathers 300 warriors to fight the war, but only one can win. Spartans prepare for glory?
** The Cast **
Gerard Butler plays King Leonidas
Lena Heady plays Queen Gorgo
Dominic West plays Theron
David Wenham plays Dilios
Rodrigo Santoro plays King Xerxes
For a full list of cast you can visit www.imdb.com.
** My Opinion **
This is in no means my kind of film at all, when I watched it that first time I didn't even know what it was I was about to see, that said I found the film extremely interesting and a little bit educational.
Obviously it is a film so there is quite a lot of things to magnify events such as graphic gory scenes, but I think this also gives the film an enormous amount of drama, which is compelling to watch.
I think this film made Gerard Butler, he's absolutely fantastic. Butler plays King Leonidas, the good guy, however when it comes to fighting he turns calculated hes a true leader and is prepared to die for his people. Butler plays this role very well and his mixtures of emotions throughout the film is realistic and engaging.
None of the actors are extremely known well, not to me anyways, yet they all gave amazing performances and their acting was flawless.
The music was dramatic and complemented the scenes and characters, I like the way that music can help the viewer to empathise with individuals and situations and it certainly did this in this film and also helped to create the dramatic atmosphere.
I would initially say that I think men would find the film the most appealing, due to the nature and violence within in it, but I am more of a romcom kind of girl and I loved this film. I haven't a huge interest in history yet I do find a few things interesting. I do like fighting films such as return of the dragon and kickboxer yet this film is on a completely different level in terms of gore and the fighting is all spears and swords. For some reason I really enjoyed this film, above all it was extremely entertaining. Im not going to recommend it for any individuals in specific as I think it may surprise you. My final thought would be don't knock it before you try it!