Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West.
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad & Michael Gordon
Zack Snyder is a director with a lot of potential. This was his second film after the Dawn Of The Dead remake but since this he has moved on to direct Watchmen and Sucker Punch, both with great visual effects that wow audiences, and he is working on the Christopher Nolan produced Superman reboot Man Of Steel as we speak. 300 was his first effort with the comic book visuals. It has been done before with a previous Frank Miller comic book adaptation in Sin City, but here we have it on a different scale entirely. Here we witness epic battles as if they were a moving comic book.
300 is about the war at Thermopylae in 480 B.C., which was fought between the Spartans and the Persians. The Persian army has begun to take over Greece and requests that King Leonidas of the Spartan's (Butler) joins in his new empire. Leonidas however realises that this would mean slavery for his women and children and this he can't accept, so he declares war on the Persian Empire which consists of one hundred thousand warriors. Due to Leonidas' disrespect, the King of Persia marches to take Sparta but Leonidas recruits 300 Spartan men, plus 700 Thespian soldiers, and blockades them in a narrow valley which will mean numbers mean nothing. For three days the Spartans hold off the barbaric attacks from the Persians, whilst back in his homeland his wife comes under attack by other Spartans who aim to take over Leonidas' thrown. It is a fairly simple plot as all it really sets up is a lot of battle sequences, and I tell you now this is the plus side about this movie.
The film does have a story but it doesn't ever go off on tangents nor have many sub-plots. There is little character development or back story and very minimal realistic dialogue. (Some of the dialogue is good it just sounds very preachy). The film isn't about the lack of key elements I have described above; it is all about the epic battle scenes and the togetherness of the Spartan army that will fight till the death.
It does simply consist of battle after battle. The short talky scenes in the middle are a little dull and you only ever want to see the fight scenes, and when they happen you are not disappointed. We see slow motion shots of decapitations, spears landing in chests, blood splattering over the floor in a comic book fashion. It is such a different take on a battle film. The colours are stunning, the reds and yellows really bring a different visual film. It is worth a watch for the visuals alone. You shouldn't be put off by the content of the film. The epic battle films are not my favourite genre, but if you put up with that for the sake of the brilliant visuals of this film you may change your mind.
The acting is also top notch. All actors take on their roles brilliantly and I actually believed that they were in fact Spartan warriors and not the actual actor. Butler is lost in the role and we actually see the Spartan he is betraying. That may be because he is hiding being a bushy beard and a rippling six pack though. The only time he becomes recognisable is when he shouts his epic line, 'this is Sparta', which we have all come to know him for since the release of this film. All the other actors are also great in their roles and we also get a very good Michael Fassbender in a side role. Little did he know back then what brilliance awaited him.
The film is a good watch. You will be confused and lost by much of it, like when the Persian leader is fully pierced, or at the Quasimodo look a like's cameo, but you will be completely enthralled by the battles. I know little about the history of this moment, but as far as I'm concerned I have seen what I wanted to know. The visuals are breath taking, the direction and acting brilliant, the camera work ace. See it for those reasons and you can forget about the lack of anything else it really has.
3.5 / 5
Next film to review: APOCALYPTO