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300 - The Movie Review

300 - The Movie
Samrat Sharma / fullhyd.com
EDITOR RATING
7.5
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suggestions
Can watch again
NA
Good for kids
NA
Good for dates
NA
Wait to rent it
NA
300 is an astonishing piece of work. Not just because of the visuals or the action, though, but because of Zack Snyder's unwavering respect for the elegant poetry in Frank Miller's graphic novel on which he bases his film.

There is a lot of pompousness in the way the story is told, and the testosterone-laden tale has its fair share of trouble, thematically as well as structurally, but the passion behind a story and a vision told in a certain hyper real language is very real, and very commendable. The bombast is frankly ridiculous, but the accompanying visual splendor more than makes up for it.

And let's face it, you are not going to watch 300 for its intense human drama, much like no one reads Playboy for the articles. This is magnificent action erotica – this is the popcorn flick of popcorn flicks – and there it delivers immensely. Snyder is on the same page as Miller in depicting the Battle of Thermopylae as a heady cocktail. Add 20% history to 80% ooh-this-looks-cool, sprinkle liberally with blood and add politics to taste.

The operatic theatricality of the tale make itself manifest from the beginning itself – when a Persian messenger arrives in Sparta demanding tributes for his God-King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), the Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) kicks him down a well (This. Is. SPARTAAA!!), and ensures war between his small nation and the biggest empire of the world.

When the holy priests side with Xerxes and proclaim it unholy to go to full-scale war, Leonidas and his personal bodyguard of 300 Spartans head to the pass at Thermopylae, where in a narrow entry in the mountains, the Persian numbers may yet be thwarted.

While Miller's tale is a stylized rendition of actual facts, Snyder takes it a step further by trying to flesh some things out in his version, especially the events in Sparta. While Leonidas leads his men to almost certain death, his wife and Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) tries to convince the council elders to send the entire Spartan army to back her husband up. While this is obviously done to provide some pacing and gravitas to the narrative, it just feels a bit disjointed and gives the film more weight to carry, slowing things down when things don't need slowing down.

At points the home track seems half-serious, and that is its undoing. The hyper-real thunder and glory of the battle sequences is the biggest strength in Snyder's quiver. There are so many stunning moments straight out of the graphic novel, that you sometimes gape in awe. The action is crucial to this film, and Snyder channels the beauty of the shots and always gets back to the brutal action that defines this treatment of the story.

But Snyder is not interested in simply regurgitating the comic book, and adds to the action sequences a fluid motion sensibility. No more of the crappy jump cuts, he shows the Spartans going through multiple opponents in one long shot, and it helps establish the visceral technique of these soldiers.

How Snyder deals with the whole hyper-real aspect of the story is also part of the film's shortcomings. While he is completely at home in the action sequences, pitting Spartan bravery against the grotesqueness of the massive Persian army, he keeps the mood similar in the slower moments. This makes the quiet dramatic moments, be they the ones at Sparta or the narration voiceover by Dilios (David Wenham), seem fairly ludicrous. What compounds the trouble is that Miller has a certain fractured noir style to his dialog, which works well with his art, but sounds silly when spoken out loud by a narrator.

But the stuff that works, works really well. The audacious art direction and cinematography are spot on for the film, and the action choreography is plain genius. Of the actors, Gerard Butler gives a performance that appeals to the comic book superhero fan in you immensely. The fury and vehemence of the character shine through as simply as the nobility and the sense of mischief. He gives a roaring performance, and matches the tone of the film with his hot-blooded jingoism.

Beneath the excessive, and sometimes gleeful, violence, there are also the political undercurrents. The good powers of the West against the corrupt nation to the East is a metaphor for the US-Iraq war, and there is no hiding that. The added sections in the film that were not present in the graphic novel justify the wilful act of war by talking about freedom and preserving their way of life, much like the invective that certain World leaders have been spewing.

What is interesting is that the film is unable to completely keep its tropes in check, as it could be argued that the sexually deviant, multi-nation coalition with superior numbers and technology attacking a small band of morally stiff and dedicated-to-the-cause men is actually the depiction of the invasion of Iraq, or the possible future one of Iran.

It is perhaps the intended modern relevance and the deliberately ambiguous subtext of the film that makes it work beyond just another action film. Even without looking at them, the kinetic energy of the film is enough to carry the popcorn munchers through, though.

I wish Snyder was able to do a better job at the pacing and the quieter moments, especially the Sparta interludes, but you have to give him marks for trying. With 300, he has tried to make a film that is more than just a great romp, and while he may not have succeeded entirely, it is still a great romp. This is a boisterous and ferocious telling of a legend, of men so brave that they challenged the mightiest empire, and decided that even in death, they will inspire others to defend their cause.
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300 - THE MOVIE SNAPSHOT
300 - The Movie (english) reviews
USER RATING
8.0
127 USERS
RATE
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro, Giovani Cimmino
  • Music
    Tyler Bates
  • Director
    Zack Snyder
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
300 - THE MOVIE USER REVIEWS
1 - 14 OF 14 COMMENTS
POSITIVE  |  NEGATIVE |  NEWEST  |  OLDEST  |  MOST HELPFUL  |  LEAST HELPFUL
USER RATING
8.0
127 USERS
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
8.0
8.0
10.0
10.0
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait to rent it - NA
007 on 10th May 2007, 6:04pm | Permalink
to all you detractors put there, in Leonidas' words...

"waste of money? too much violence? visually phantasmagoric suprasplendiforous hell-raising barn-storming eye-wrentching yappity yap...? THIS IS THREE HUNDRED! and this is how it's meant to be."

so shut up and watch Munna instead of passing your useless judgement on a Frank Miller masterpiece and a brilliant movie reproduction of said masterpiece.
finally, Venkat Kishore Ryakala, good luck for your GRE. hope you go to the USA, get stuck there, never come back and watch crappy downloaded WMVs of camera printed Telugu films.
RATING
8
Zeus on 25th Apr 2007, 4:29pm | Permalink
A great start, average storyline and pathetic end. Not worth the time and money spent.
RATING
2
Rakesh P on 2nd Apr 2007, 9:47pm | Permalink
nowhere movie. bad direction and story
RATING
2
Sandeep on 2nd Apr 2007, 9:38pm | Permalink
waste of time and money...hopeless direction...!!
RATING
2
Prithvi Raj on 28th Mar 2007, 5:11pm | Permalink
Great movie to watch and you will not find this violence in any of the bollywood or tollywood movies....It was a treat to watch....
RATING
10
Rahul on 25th Mar 2007, 7:32pm | Permalink
Summer came early this year! This movie is better in content, delivery, visuals, and yes - storyline since any Fantasy type of movie since LOTR. It would be insulting to watch it in any other format than IMAX.
RATING
8
Pratap on 22nd Mar 2007, 2:09pm | Permalink
Useless... Highly violent and psychic... not an exact depiction of the battle of thermopylae and the decisions. Its definitely not another LOTR or Gladiator.
RATING
2
Satish P on 20th Mar 2007, 10:24pm | Permalink
Worth watching once
RATING
6
Sid C on 20th Mar 2007, 1:55pm | Permalink
Total waste of time
RATING
2
Ramesh Chandra on 20th Mar 2007, 1:23pm | Permalink
excellant movie!!!
RATING
10
Ravi Varma on 19th Mar 2007, 7:21am | Permalink
Venkat Kishore Ryakala y dont u try to become a reviewer for full hyd or at lease post a review for every english movie unless of course u copied it from some where.

the movie is just paise vasoool.
RATING
4
Venkat Kishore Ryakala on 17th Mar 2007, 5:37pm | Permalink
ok, hype and visually phantasmagoric suprasplendiforous hell-raising barn-storming eye-wrentching six-hitting (world cup fever) socket ripping gravel burning nitro-fuelled power violence aside, whats this film really offering? I'd rather spend my time at home translating kafka into bhojpuri and then selling it on E-bay whilst polishing my monocle for advancing reasearch on research, rather than pander to the delusional oft-moronic always-sophomoric whims of the post-pubescent flocks of human material which flocks to the theatres in throves, hankering for blood, violence and both..no siree...the reviewer did notice structural deficiencies before abasing himslef to the high priest of hubris and it is to disillusion all ye acolytes of avarice that I take this stand!

peace out,
ryakala@gmail.com
RATING
2
Sunshine Girl on 17th Mar 2007, 3:18pm | Permalink
The testosterone-laden tale worked well for some females like moi as well. The magnificent visuals, gleeful violence, complete with the grand war scenes! I liked.
RATING
8
Uday on 17th Mar 2007, 1:52pm | Permalink
Very good movie review is not writen correctly it is topclass movie
RATING
10
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