300 (2007, Blu-ray Disc)
Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, 300 takes over the screen like an invading horde. With all the gushing blood of a horror movie and the scope of a classic epic, the second film from Zack Snyder (who helmed the 2004 remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD) is an impressive visual spectacle. Gerard Butler (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) plays Leonidas, the king of ancient Sparta. The city is famous for its warrior philosophy, and Leonidas won’t kneel to the demands of Persia's King Xerxes (LOST's Rodrigo Santoro). Instead, Leonidas leads his 300-strong army against Xerxes's army of millions. Meanwhile, his wife (Lena Headley, THE BROTHERS GRIMM) campaigns in Sparta for the city to send reinforcements as she butts heads with the treacherous Theron (Dominic West, THE WIRE). With its gore and scale, 300 marks director Snyder as a possible successor to Peter Jackson's throne. Jackson also got his start in horror with BAD TASTE and DEAD ALIVE, and the two men share a penchant for ambitious battle scenes. The huge fights in 300 rival Jackson's efforts in the LORD OF THE RINGS films. David Wenham, who starred in two of the Tolkien-based films, plays Dilios, one of the Spartan soldiers. Though the cast doesn't boast any A-list stars, the actors ably fill their larger-than-life roles. In a film filled with men, Headley stands out as Queen Gorgo. She matches her warrior husband in strength, while showing love toward Leonidas and their son. Though there are scenes that demonstrate the humanity of the characters, 300 is undeniably about bravery and blood, and it succeeds because of the stylish depictions of both.
MOVIE IN FULL HD
Like Sin City before it, 300 brings Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's graphic novel vividly to life. Gerard Butler (Beowulf and Grendel, The Phantom of the Opera) radiates pure power and charisma as Leonidas, the Grecian king who leads 300 of his fellow Spartans (including David Wenham of The Lord of the Rings, Michael Fassbender, and Andrew Pleavin) into a battle against the overwhelming force of Persian invaders. Their only hope is to neutralize the numerical advantage by confronting the Persians, led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), at the narrow strait of Thermopylae. More engaging than Troy, the tepid and somewhat similar epic of ancient Greece, 300 is also comparable to Sin City in that the actors were shot on green screen, then added to digitally created backgrounds. The effort pays off in a strikingly stylized look and huge, sweeping battle scenes. However, it's not as to-the-letter faithful to Miller's source material as Sin City was. The plot is the same, and many of the book's images are represented just about perfectly. But some extra material has been added, including new villains (who would be considered "bosses" if this were a video game, and it often feels like one) and a political subplot involving new characters and a significantly expanded role for the Queen of Sparta (Lena Headey). While this subplot by director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) and his fellow co-writers does break up the violence, most fans would probably dismiss it as filler if it didn't involve the sexy Headey. Other viewers, of course, will be turned off by the waves of spurting blood, flying body parts, and surging testosterone. (The six-pack abs are also relentless, and the movie has more and less nudity--more female, less male--than the graphic novel.) Still, as a representation of Miller's work and as an ancient-themed action flick with a modern edge, 300 delivers.
Amazing Heroic True Story !!!!
"300" captures the hyper-stylized look and peculiar sensibility of Graphic Novels on film., that has eluded many a talented director.
Along with British Graphic Novelist Alan Moore ("From Hell", "V for Vendetta"), Frank Miller is regarded as one of the masters of the genre. His Gothic, camp-free revamp of DC Comics' mainstay "Batman", "The Dark Knight Returns", provided the brooding template for Tim Burton's "Batman" (1989). And, in 2005, Miller found a kindred pulp spirit in Robert Rodriguez, who partnered with him to co-direct "Sin City", a smashing adaptation of Miller's noir-esque triptych, shot almost entirely on green screen to render the graphic novel's shadowy, chiaroscuro visuals with exacting fidelity.
Now director Zach Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead") takes a similar digital approach to Miller's "300", albeit on a much grander and technically more ambitious scale, to transport the viewer to the ancient, corpse-strewn 'Battle of Thermopylae', circa 480 BC, when 300 Spartan Warriors fought thousands of invading Persian soldiers. A True Tale of Bravery from Greek History.
Miller's quasi-mythic retelling of the Spartans bravely facing their "beautiful death" against the Persians is a bold and wildly imaginative example of the graphic novel at its creative height.
Co-written by Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, and Michael B. Gordon, the movie is narrated by the Spartan Warrior/storyteller Dilios (David Wenham), who introduces us to the legendary Spartan Ruler, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler). Per the Spartan Code of Honor, Leonidas has trained to be a fearless warrior since childhood. Renowned throughout the ancient world for their extraordinary valor and loyalty, the Spartans have long repulsed would-be conquerors, but they have never faced as intimidating or ruthless an army as the Persian hordes, commanded by the giant Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro).
Despite the looming threat by the Persians, the Spartan Council refuses to give Leonidas permission to lead the Spartan Army into battle. Undaunted, he nonetheless bids farewell to his devoted wife, Gorgo (Lena Headey), and young son to face the Persians head-on, backed by an all-volunteer army of 300 Spartan Warriors. With his trusted advisors Dilios and the Captain (Vincent Regan) at his side, Leonidas prepares to unleash hell against the Persians at the Hot Gates of Thermopylae — a treacherous, seaside pass on the Aegean Sea, where they're prepared to fight to the death in defense of Sparta.
This film is so intensly stylized; presented in such unrelenting Graphic Noel noir., history never seemed so enthralling !!
SEE THIS !!!! It has the guaranteed inability to fail you !!!! Wildly entertaining while revealing such a Heroic True Story !!!!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Ah, to be male in Ancient Greece...
"300" is a testosterone-driven fantasy in which all men are fearless warriors, driven by the need for battle and bloodshed. War is depicted as gloriously as any geek loner-type could hope for, with every soldier being the epitome of strength, courage, and physical brute force. Emotional bonding, sensitivity, and compassion don't even come into play; these men were trained to be ruthless killing machines, all in the name of preserving the glory of Sparta. This would no doubt be a ridiculous film if the story were presented in a straightforward, mainstream way. But straightforward and mainstream, "300" is not; this is pure, hard-driving escapism, from the frenetic battle sequences to the elaborate special effects to the over the top performances. In this sense, it's absolutely brilliant.
And it gets even better. Every shot, every setting, and every event is accentuated by a look so stylized that it's practically a living duplicate of Frank Miller's original graphic novel. This was achieved through computer-generated imagery, which was responsible for creating most of the film's locations. Bluescreen technology--also utilized for another incredible Miller adaptation, 2005's "Sin City"--made for a majority of the sets, leaving very little for the actors to actually work with. I can only imagine the effort that went into post-production, the endless hours of crafting landscapes, characters, and special effects all with the click of a mouse. The work paid off; the end product is an effectively heightened reinterpretation of reality, a kind of living illustration that transcends any sense of time or place. It's the perfect look for war story of this caliber, something so grandiose and overplayed that you can't get enough.
The film is narrated by Dilios (David Wenham), a Spartan soldier with a hard-edged masculinity that shines through despite a deceptively soft voice. He recalls Leonidas, Sparta, and the Battle of Thermopylae with eloquence; when considering the heavy-handedness of war, this is no small task. Yet he always gives a perfect delivery, and that only strengthens the appeal of "300." This is in a world all its own, a world dominated by battle cries, sword fights, and bare-chested men that are ripped like bodybuilders. It's all thanks to Frank Miller, whose creative vision has allowed for a truly unique theatrical experience. If he creates another graphic novel, I can't wait for it to be adapted for the big screen.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
ONE EXTREME BATTLE TO THE END
Features Actors:Gerald Buttler, Rodrigo Santoro
Running Time:116 Min.
In mid-September of 480 BC, a force of 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), along with 700 Thespians volunteers, defended Greece against a massive horde of marauders from Persia at the epic Battle of Thermopylae. Though badly outnumbered by adversaries whose strength was said to be in the hundreds of thousands, the Greeks made one of the most famous last stands in the annals of military engagements.
Leonidas' ingenious strategy was to station his soldiers at the narrowest point in the road of the treacherous terrain through which the Persians would have to pass. As a consequence of this clever tactic, his small, but determined army managed to hold the thundering herd at bay for three days, exacting a heavy toll on rival King Xerxes' (Rodrigo Santoro) troops in the process. Although the ill-fated Spartans fought to the death, they were nonetheless credited with saving the day, because they created a delay which enabled Athens to prevail ultimately against the savage invaders. Perhaps more significantly, historians generally agree that had Greece fallen, the course of Western Civilization would have been irreversibly altered, since it was considered to be the gateway to a Persian conquest of all of Europe.
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