Movie: 300 (R)
Released: March 9th, 2007
Runtime: 1 hr. 57 min.
Ticket Price: $5.00 Early Matinee
Refreshments: Swedish Fish
Starring: Starring Gerard Butler, Lena Headey and Dominic West
Director: Zach Snyder
Rating: Worth a Matinee –
Synopsis: The king of Sparta leads 300 of his best warriors into battle with the overwhelmingly large Persian Army. They will most definitely be killed, but their willingness to fight for freedom against huge odds gets all of Greece to stand up against the enemy.
Review: 300, while visually appealing, in the end leaves you with a, “is that all there is,” feeling upon leaving the theater. The movie is based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City), which was inspired by the 1962 movie, The 300 Spartans. That movie was based on the historical Battle of Thermopylae. Ultimately, something got lost in translation.
King Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler (The Phantom of the Opera), leads 300 of his best soldiers into battle against the encroaching Persian army and King Xerxes I who sees himself as a god and is intent on conquering the world. Leonidas was raised to be a great warrior, where death on the battlefield was of the highest honor one could achieve. He leaves his wife Queen Gorgo, played by Lena Headey (The Cave), and young son at home where she must deal with the politics of the situation.
The battle scenes are well choreographed and computer enhanced, as is the whole film. The blood splatter in the movie title logo is a signal of what you are about to watch. Plenty of virtual blood splatter, beheadings and piles of dead bodies to behold. This may be the one thing the ads for the movie got right. The way the movie was filmed and created may do for film making what The Matrix did for creating future films, but that is really all you have here. A bunch of great battle sequences with little emotional connection to the audience.
That was the major problem with the film. It tells the story of a great leader fighting for freedom. This is the type of story that should be able to get you fully behind it, get you emotionally attached to the characters and maybe even give you the occasional case of goose bumps, as you realize the significance of the events taking place. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen. I found myself sitting there in the theater wishing I were watching a movie about the real Battle of Thermopylae and the real people involved, instead of this comicization of the story. It may have made a great graphic novel and have been beautifully transferred page by page onto the big screen, but that is all there is.
The soundtrack of 300 is more about being loud than anything else. Many times throughout the movie, the music will swell as a speech is being given, all to try and enhance the drama and emotion of the scene. They mostly fall flat. While on the subject of music, when the electric guitar laden musical backdrop tries to punctuate a scene, it feels out of place. Even in a comic or graphic novel type adaptation, such as this.
Do to the spectacular visual effects; the movie 300 gets a Worth a Matinee rating. It should be scene on the big screen, if at all. The visuals will not be as impressive on the average home TV system. Since visual stimulation is what this movie is all about that would be a truly disappointing experience. Lastly, it looks like The 300 Spartans might deserve a spot in the old Netflix queue.