Let’s get one thing straight. If you’re going for any sort of plot, subtlety or even historical accuracy, then you will be sorely disappointed. 300 is not that sort of movie. What you do get is a hearty dose of badassity. You will come out of the theater inspired, ready to throw on your awesome red cape and loin-cloth and kick some Persian ass.
You’ll also feel like hitting the gym since compared to these guys, chances are, you’ve been slacking on the sit-ups. It’s time to break out the Bow-Flex.
Based on the graphic novel by Sin City scribe Frank Miller, 300 is the story of the Spartan King Leonidas and 299 of his friends. Just to give you a good idea of exactly how badass the Spartans were, they dump weak babies off cliffs, shove the rest out the door at age 7 and tell them not to come back until they’ve become men. In the trailer, a boy who couldn’t be more than 15 fights a freakin’ wolf at least twice his size. The result is an incredibly disciplined, loyal and skilled army which can take on anything…and I sure mean anything. The Persians throw everything at them. There were times during the fights when I seriously questioned my sanity as I couldn’t believe what they had found to shove into their army. I’m not going to spoil anything for you but basically, 300 stood against a million. Awesomeness ensues.
The fight sequences are amazing as it seems that everything is always in slow motion and if there was ever anything that justifies slow motion, it’s spears ripping through Persian soldiers. There plenty of blood, gore and moments where you just think “Ouch…that had to have hurt.” However, I was honestly hoping for even more. I’m going to take a guess and say that there will be deleted scenes on the DVD featuring even more fights that probably had to be cut due to time and rating restrictions.
One thing the film is not short on is long, grandiose speeches about glory, honor and brotherhood. Each word is inspiring, especially to us men, in the way that a coach inspires his team before the big game. You have to wonder, though, if they spoke like this on a regular basis. I snickered several times imagining Leonidas saying everyday phrases in his yelling voice.
“I HAVE…TO GO…TO THE BATHROOOOOM!”
“HONEY! DID YOU…PICK UP…MY RED CAPE…FROM…THE DRYCLEANER?!!!”
“DO YOU…THINK…WE…CAN…GET… …PANNNCAAAAAKES??!”
While sometimes too dramatic for it’s own good, the script isn’t half bad and the actors give good, honest performances. Gerard Butler does a great job defending Spartan ideals and convinces you of the glory there is to be had on the battlefield. His voice is a perfect blend of anger and heroism. Dominic Moore is such a sleeze-ball bastard that you want to jump into the screen and stab him in the face yourself and Lena Headey is possibly the only queen in the history of historical action film that isn’t annoying. Besides being MILF-alicious, Queen Gorgo just gets it. Instead of being the typical whiny queen, begging her husband not to go out there and to listen to authority, she acts more like a Spartan soldier and in fact, insists that he go to war. That dude that plays Xerxes is HUGE (I was just waiting for him to yoga FLAME!) and really fruity looking. Not surprising since all the women of the Persian empire seem to be disfigured, fat and/or fugly.
The combination of slow-motion shots and heavy metal or choral music make 300 a beautiful film experience. The colors are vivid and saturated while the fires and the sun burn brightly to produce some very dramatic silhouettes. Even though nearly every scene of the movie is shot on a green screen, it all blends together very nicely, unlike, I don’t know…that Sky Captain movie, which looked ridiculous. The imagery of 300 is astonishing.
300 is a lesson in bloodlust and a non-stop “Holy crap! Did you see that!?” movie. Impossible odds, glorious speeches and stabbing people in the face…that’s just a recipe for awesome.
Verdict: 8.5 out of 10