Saturday, March 10, 2007


300 is based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. The film brings Miller's acclaimed graphic novel to life by combining live action with virtual backgrounds that capture his distinct vision of this ancient historic tale.

For me, this movie was a really good time. The story, while relatively simple, played out in such a way that the intrigue and politics were not left out, but layered between intense scenes as a form of pallet cleanser. Now don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the intense scenes in all of their violent, graphic and over-the-top glory, I'm merely saying that the deeper story was included in such a way as to remain interesting while acting as a break in the action, as well. I don't normally mention the editing of a film, but I would really be surprised if this one could have been edited any better.

I'm used to seeing Gerard Butler in supporting roles, of which his turns in "Timeline" and "Reign of Fire" are two of my favorites, but I thought he was excellently cast as King Leonidas and stood up to the task brilliantly. The other performance that I think I should mention is that of the character Dilios who proves to be instrumental in defining the future of Sparta and is portrayed with quiet intensity by David Wenham who is probably best known for his performance as Faramir in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The political intrigue story is kept afloat very nicely by Leonidas' Queen, played by Lena Headey, and one of the council members, Theron, played by Dominic West. West was most recently a detective in "Hanibal Rising" and, if I'm not mistaken, Lena Headey is playing Sarah Connor in the series, "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," when ever it debuts.

Lastly, I must mention the visuals; the true star of the film. The fact that the movie was filmed completely in 'green screen' (as was "Sin City" - also by Frank Miller - but with a different quality of stylized results) may be well known, but the final product is now becoming the bigger topic of conversation. I thought the movie had beautiful, chilling and staggering visuals with an overall ethereal look and while the images were exaggerated to match the mythology of the story, they were also color muted so as to tone down the gore but not remove it entirely. I'm really looking forward to seeing this in high definition.

I guess I've rambled on long enough and the final word on this movie is much the same as all the others: If it sounds like something you might like, go see it and have fun.

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