3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Visual Style with Great Action,
This review is from: 300 (2 Disc Special Edition)  [DVD] (DVD)
I wanted to look at 300 from a historical perspective. The story itself is based on the Frank Miller graphic novel of the same name and it stays more true to that than history of course. In fact, it is a very dedicated adaptation of Frank Miller's work. After watching 300, in what seemed like a ten minute movie but was almost two full hours, I have to say that I almost prefer this sort of historical fantasy to the historical fiction of Braveheart or Gladiator. Zack Snyder (the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake) directs and he, like Miller, is entirely willing to elevate the legendary Greek underdogs who inspired a great people to unite against an unstoppable enemy, to exaggerated mythology. It is a film that doesn't pretend to do anything other than entertain it's audience. I know a Greek guy who, in an snide imitation of the Pope's rumored reaction to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, says that 300 "is as it was." Keep that in mind while watching and you will see that 300 is quintessentially about bravado.
300, if you don't know already, is about the Battle of Thermopylae, which to be brief basically is a battle that occurs as King Xerxes I's massive Persian army converges toward a small force of Spartans led by King Leonidas. The Spartans block the only road into Sparta. The battle is perhaps the most famous last stand in history.
300 really is an astounding production. Considering a budget of $60 million, the film looks amazing even though teetering on over-stylized. Not to suggest that $60 million is a low budget, but consider for a second the cost of Spiderman 3 ($258 million).
This movie is constant primal action and it never stops until almost everyone is dead. It could've easily followed the formula from other similar movies, and it does at times, but for some reason it's fantasy approach and inclusion of giants, monsters, and super-sized animals puts the movie in such a unique frame that it almost gets away with all of the cliches. It gives you everything you want in a blood soaked action epic. All things considered, the acting isn't bad either. Gerard Butler, who plays Leonidas, is actually very good in his role, while at the same time he carries a presence worthy of his character and all of his men who inevitably die beside him.
This is a unique film with a visual style that will make it unforgettable. The action scenes are intentionally like the comic, so the bloodshed depicted in 300 shouldn't really disturb the audience but it is still pervasive. Because the film is fantasy, Snyder is justified in liberally interpreting how powerful the Spartans were. They are basically super-human at times. The shots often slow down to give the audience the ability to comprehend everything that is happening, reminiscent of the iconic and memorable shots from the Matrix. Mostly though, this is to show how quickly a Spartan can cut a limb off of a Persian before doing it again and again. Personally, I have no complaints.