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As a history buff I had to finally see 300 and once I did I had mixed feelings. The movie was quite well made visually, and about 90% of it was computer generated. The story, acting, and music was very questionable with most of the 300 (count em) Spartans going about pretty much undressed in all sorts of weather to show off their muscles. This was counter to reality as the Spartans wore body armor and helmets and other clothing in addition to the red cloaks. The actors in 300 looked like a bunch of body builders from Pumping Iron.
I had intentionally missed 300 at the theater when I read it was based on a comic book by Frank Miller who had also written the atrocious Sin City - I guess he probably drew it, too, but really, the storyline of 300 could be checked in any grade school history book and found wanting. My eternal question for these moviemakers is if they are going to rewrite history, why don't they just make up their own fictional story instead of claiming they are showing something that really did happen?
This treatment is basically a super hero story akin to a Marvel or DC comic character like Spiderman or Superman. A few of the Persians look like the incredible Hulk, the Thing, or other monstrous comic book characters also, and the traitor, Ephialtes, is a pretty close rip off of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings movies. Even the voice sounds similar.
Director Zack Synder said the movie was a frame by frame adaptation of the comic book, like Sin City. No wonder it only appeals to fantasy fans or people who couldn't care less about history. For most of the scenes the actors mug in front of a blue or green screen and the GCI artists paint in the scene around them. Ho hum. In keeping with the fairy tale presentation, many of the Persians have animal characteristics and deformed bodies like the guy with blades or crab legs for hands.
The Persians also are depicted as androgynous with a lot of mixed boy-girl body parts and chains and body piercings. Probably not historical, especially since they had conquered most of the known world in the preceding century and probably not through sex and seduction. Persian King Xerxes had enough make up to rival Tammy Faye Bakker with the same raccoon-looking mascara around his eyes - Ewwww.
The action is similarly bogus as a handful of three dollar bills as Leonidas, the Spartan King, correctly states the Spartans fight in a phalanx; a dense formation of closely packed men with shields and long spears, yet every fighting scene shows a single individual doing spear fu or sword fu with multiple opponents with gouts of blood flying everywhere and the guy jiving around like he's dancing on Swingin Time. Tsk tsk. Fighters spring like panthers instead of normal motion and nearly all the action scenes are slo mo. Leonidas never speaks unless he bellows and none of the characters have depth. The good are all good. The bad are all bad. This paint by numbers approach works with children's literature, where the books are made of boards but a story for general release should be beefed up a bit to make it something adults will believe, too.
The Warner Bros DVD is presented in 2.35:1 theatrical format, in color, and the film lasts 117 minutes. The cover has a picture of Gerard Butler (Leonidas) with his bare torso and pecs a flexing. There is a commentary from director Zack Snyder and a couple others. I guess I'm not against fantasy for its own sake - I like the Ray Harryhausen versions of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts but I have to draw the line when they try to fantasize a true happening like the Battle of Thermopylae. Not recommended except for people who disregard history.
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