300 -- A bloody re-telling of a partially true story of Ancient Sparta

Jan 17, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:good back-drops visually

Cons:weak supporting cast, got really boring, should have been more exciting, "eh" story

The Bottom Line: Really this is an overblown and overly violent film that doesn't present a strong story or characters, and just became a plodding and boring movie.

Bringing graphic novels to the big screen got a lot easier with several innovations in the use of blue-screen technology. The film 300 does its best to take full advantage of that, presenting its actors in front of digitally altered and imaged backgrounds intended to accentuate what is taking place in the story. Frank Miller, who also wrote the novel for Sin City, teamed with Lynn Varley to create a story that did well to depict a story based on something that really did occur. Though edited for an increase of excitement, and written to held its hero stand out even more, this is the story of 300 men that stood up to defend Sparta many years ago. Led by main character of the film Leonidas (King of the Spartans), he must defend Spartas way of life against invaders from foreign lands.

Persian King Xerxes has amassed an army of followers and slaves both of his homeland and of nations he has defeated along the way, and plans to make the Spartan lands his next conquest. Placing himself as a God above men, many have fallen before him and pledged allegiance rather than facing death in battle. But now he has more than he can handle in the form of hero Leonidas, who will stop at nothing to protect his people, his family, and the 300 men that would follow him to the end of the Earth and back. Thus the movie sets itself up as those 301 men an additional group of men that join up against an army of almost 2 million Persians descending upon them. Insurmountable odds do not frighten Leonidas, and the story is set up to be an exciting series of battles pitting Sparta and its allies against the evil Persian empire.

Going into this movie, there is one thing that you can definitely expect, and that is a lot of bloody fighting determined to show the violent aspects of these battles. Director Zack Snyder even admitted in interviews that he choreographed some of the fighting scenes to be more exciting for film rather than still to realistic interpretations, and people looking for that in the film might not be disappointed. Even though I expected that from 300, I don't feel that I was really rewarded with anything of substance, but rather given a lot of flash that wasn't quite as good as it could have been. Gerard Butler does a decent job as the Spartan leader, and does hold the screen when he has to give his speeches, but the lack of strong supporting characters leaves him on his own to tell the story through his spears and swords.

There are some audience members who will probably love the action and fancy back-drops used to profile the fighting. It may even be enjoyable to some viewers that the fighting is what makes up a majority of this story. That however didn't suffice for me, as I found myself not being enthralled with the action, and at times extremely bored with the progression of the story. I didn't find the film to be anything special at all, and actually didn't think that the presentation was as impressive as some people had told me that it would be. No, I didn't really enjoy much of anything about the story, thinking that there were many scenes thrown in to try and excite the audience rather than further the story, and while I thought some of the back-drops looked nice, it didn't make the film a winner. I think that this is one of those films that is only good for a few moments of violent eye-candy for those wanting to see men fight in barely-there clothing, but as a film it really left too much to be desired. I think I would rather have watched a PBS documentary rather than this stretched story with a narrator that muddied the film, and a series of fight scenes that didn't pique my interest or excitement level.

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