History Channel Presents: Last Stand Of The 300 (DVD, 2007) Reviews
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History Channel Presents: Last Stand Of The 300 (DVD, 2007)

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“History Channel Presents: Last Stand Of The 300” Spartans Making The Greatest Stand In History.

Feb 4, 2010 (Updated Feb 5, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great narrating, very detailed information, never confusing, even action scenes.

Cons:Nothing I can think of.

The Bottom Line: I have seen my share of History Channel documentaries throughout the years; this is by far the best I have seen to date.

I have always been very intrigued in this era of time, especially when it comes to Greece and Sparta.  I have also done my share of research.  If you have ever seen the movie “300”, or one like it, then you already have some knowledge of the history of King Leonidas and the last stand of 300 Spartans.  However, this History Channel special tells a much deeper story.  It tells of the events leading up to the Battle of Thermopylae, a more in-depth look at the battle itself, battles that occurred outside of the 300 men, and even a much deeper look at the Persian army and their leader Xerxes.  When I first started to watch this I didn’t expect too much.  I figured that I would be just listening to a lot of different historians talking for over an hour.  I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised that I was wrong.  Of course there are a lot of different people explaining the story behind these 300 Spartans but, there is much more to it than that.  They use a lot of diagrams that help map out the different areas they are explaining.  They also use maps to help show different routes taken by the different armies that help show a different view of the battles and even actors that play out different scenes.  The biggest surprise is that they actually had some actors that portrayed people like King Leonidas and Xerxes.  Some of these scenes are pretty good action scenes (quite a few of them) while others just are used to help tell the story.  Of course, the action scenes are not like you would see if watching a high budget Hollywood film but never the less, they help tell the story behind what they are showing.  I was impressed at the detail used when it comes to the armor, weapons, and scenery used.  All of this is what really helped me stay glued to what I was watching from start to finish.

Of course this focuses mainly around the battle of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans making their last stand but, it is everything else it explains before the battle, during the battle, and around the battle that makes it so interesting.  If you are not familiar with this “Last Stand Of The 300” then this may give you an appreciation as to what they did.  300 men took on over a million Persians to protect their homeland to the death.  This is probably the greatest use of military strategy ever used considering these 300 Spartans were actually winning this battle at Thermopylae.  How they did this was brilliant.  Not to give away too much, in case you don’t know the story, Thermopylae, which is also known as “The Hot Gate”, is a narrow mountain pass that is the Persians only way into Greece.  They could have tried a different route if they wanted to but, they would have had to march around the Black See adding over two years before Xerxes could even start the invasion.  So, as long as these 300 Spartans can defend this narrow pass the Persian numbers account for nothing.  This, of course, was perfect for the Spartans and their much superior fighting skills.  As long as they could keep the Persians in front of them, and not get surrounded, they had the advantage no matter how many troops were sent against them.  Since the Spartans were much more advanced in close quarter fighting, and had much better armor and weaponry, the Persians could not break this line of defense.  This battle lasted for 3 full days as wave after wave of Persians tried unsuccessfully to break this line of defense.  I will not go into detail as to how the battle ended, that is something you need to see for yourself.

To give an example of the detail this gives you, there was another battle taking place during the battle of Thermopylae.  This was a naval battle at Artemisium which was just as important as the battle of the 300.  If the Athenian general lost the naval battle, the 300 Spartan men would be surrounded by both the front and rear and would have easily been aniulated.  In order for one battle to succeed, the other needs to be successful.  The Athenian politician and general Themistocles led this naval battle. It is also said that he is the one that planned both battles at Thermopylae and Artemisium.  Still, that is an example as to the detail that this documentary goes into.  It will explain in detail both battles and much more.

The documentary goes into detail about the first Persian invasion at the Battle of Marathon, Xerxes himself, and much more about the Spartans and Athenians. You will also learn of the troubles that the Greece cities had with each other and what made Xerxes invade in the first place.  It was not just because he wanted more land, and a ruthless ruler, there were personal issues involved as well.  I was very impressed at the information that this had in the time span it was delivered.  It goes into great detail but, never in a confusing way.  It doesn’t jump around a lot and stays in order as the events that are taking place.  As it explains these events, it manages to give a lot of insight of the people it surrounds.  You should have no trouble following along with this documentary even if you don’t have any previous knowledge of the events and people that it is based on.

Final Thought:
If you are someone that is interested in this kind of history, or even just watched and liked the movie 300, I highly recommend that you check this out.  Even if that era of time peeks your interest, this will help add to that interest even more.  I had my share of knowledge in the history behind the “Battle of Thermopylae” before I watched this but, I quickly learned that I only knew a portion as to what really happened.  I also learned a lot as to why this battle had to take place and the others around it.  This is not something that you will put in over and over to watch again but, it is well worth the price to watch it at least once.  It is a great history lesson for a very good price.  This History Channel documentary runs for right around 1hr long and I give it 5 stars all the way.

Thank you for reading.

This is my “Movie” entry into the “Around Epinions In 80 Days Write-Off

Also an entry into the "Good Movie Write-Off"

"Be prepared to die, our arrows will block out the sun".  Reply "Then we shall have our battle in the shade"

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