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In Theatres: 
Mar 09, 2007
Running Time: 
117 Minutes

Warner Bros. originally pushed Zack Snyder to direct this film with a PG-13 rating as the goal. Snyder refused and ultimately the studio agreed to make an R-rated movie.

SYNOPSIS: Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, this is a dramatic and somewhat fantasized telling of one of the greatest battles in history. 300 Spartan soldiers, lead by their king Leonidas, united with a handful of other warriors and held off the vast armies of the Persian emperor Xerxes I by defending the narrow mountain pass of Thermopylae.

In the places that that this movie has strength it entirely kicks ass. The visual elements such as cinematography and digital effects are so stunning just thinking about them makes my nuts hurt. Hard. From beginning to end you’re bombarded with nothing less than a buffet of masterwork stylistic sensory doom. Beyond the eyegasms it delivers, this celebration of ass-kickery is filled with strong acting and topped off with enough plot to satisfy all but the harshest of critics.

Basically, what you see in the trailers is exactly what you get. The film’s graphic novel origins become fairly evident as it progresses. Focus switches between Leonidas at war and his wife Gorgo in Sparta much like the chapters of a book. For the most part, the initial ¾ of each “chapter” builds from a lull to a conflict and the remaining time is spent in recovery of said conflict before the torch is handed off to the alternate narrative. Following Gorgo’s plight outside of the battlefield works well to balance out the film and helps safeguard it against general comparisons to a lengthy music video or cut-scene from a video game.

When I went to see this there were people who felt that it borrowed from films like Braveheart and Gladiator a bit. I guess I could see that if by “borrowed” you mean there are battles and people yelling. I mean, come on. If you create a epic period war movie you’re going to cover things like honor, screaming at an army, love and/or doing the humpty dance, legs flying off, and at least one guy on fire for good measure. It’s like some kind of law. 300 runs with these core requirements at a great pace and in a way that didn’t strike me as belonging specifically to a previous film, at least not more so than it belonged the genera.

300 does take itself quite seriously. This occasionally wears your suspension of disbelief a little thin but is ultimately only a minor issue and is fairly easily overlooked. Beyond that I really don’t have any complaints. I just wonder if it can stand the test of time. I know I’ll be buying the DVD when it comes out. The only question is whether I’ll be doing it for the movie as a whole or simply for the visual splendor of the battles.

Review by Baron Aloha