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2007-06-18 12:36
What it’s about:

Based on Frank Miller’s comic about the famous battle of Thermopylae in ancient Greece, 300 tells the heroic tale of 300 Spartan warriors who held off an entire Persian invading force. The film picks up with King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his men heading to the famous mountain pass, and then gets going with some serious cgi enhanced battle sequences.

What we thought of it:

With all the hype it is receiving, and its sell out US box office success, you might expect 300 to be the next Gladiator, or Braveheart (if you have lower standards), but it is neither, despite borrowing a lot from both of those films.

Combining the recent Hollywood trends of comic to movie conversions, and jazzing up historical tales, 300 takes both to new levels. It is visually stunning, being filmed entirely on green screen with all scenery added later. The heavy digital treatment gives the whole film a very comic-like look, and many of the shots would make fantastic illustrations. While this is the new yardstick for mixing animation and live action, there are some instances where the heavily stylised scenes recall slick adverts, which detracts from the epic feel.

As beautiful as it is to look at, 300 is rather lacking in drama, and the script is downright pathetic. As King Leonidas, Gerard Butler cuts an imposing figure with his heroic beard and sculpted abs, but his constant lapses into a Scottish accent make all his half-baked speeches about Sparta and freedom come across like a soccer coach trying to motivate a losing team during halftime. An equally annoying narration spells out the obvious in an already oversimplified story, and simply serves to underline how insubstantial 300 actually is.

There is a slight political subplot with Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) and Theron (Dominic West), which feels like a needless add on, even though it is crucial to the story. This leads to perhaps the biggest flaw of 300 - the mindless repetitive violence.

It’s understandable that a film about a famous battle would contain fighting, but 300 takes this to a ludicrous Playstation-type level. The combat lasts for the majority of the film, packs in every modern action cliché (Matrix bullet time, Hong Kong style acrobatics, etc etc), and only lets up long enough for Leonidas to roar something inspirational before the next (and tougher) wave of attackers descend.

If script and acting don’t matter to you, and you love movies for their visual flare, then 300 will be right up your alley. If you expect more, then despite the work and talent that clearly went into it, it feels like nothing more than an overlong action sequence from a computer game, devoid of anything human whatsoever.

- Ivan Sadler
Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 comes across as a Playstation campaign, full of button-bashing CGI battles, and the odd bit of dialogue - just for a change.

Damir Stojakovic 2007/03/29 7:17 AM
300 I find your view of the movie 300 a little biased. Repetitive violence is what war is all about wether we like it or not. It was a time of tyrany and unfortunately in those days men were regarded for their physical strength and leadership. Imagine yourself going into battle knowing for certain that you will not be coming back to your family. The thought is "if im going down, im going down fighting. Whats the most daunting prospect you have had to face? How to spray doom onto the fly that is bugging you! It portrays men that have have been raised in a brutal way and that is the way that stopped a tyrant bent on self gain and destruction. The battle scenes are necessary to show the stratagies that were used from both sides and the understanding on both sides. There is no glory in war but the sacrifice made in the name of peace. The Spartans made a huge sacrifice and th movie portays this point exceptionally well. Remember it was war and people die. Give credit where credit is
Ivan 2007/03/29 8:33 AM
Damir, you are wrong The violence in 300 is so slick and stylised that it totally glosses over the brutality of war, and director Zack Snyder admitted that he abandoned the actual battle tactics used by the Spartans in favour of something that "looked cool". I would say that this film takes the "supreme sacrifice" made by these men, runs it through the whitebread Hollywood style processor, and reduces it to the level of a PS2 game. I wanted something a lot more hardcore, brutal, and dramatic than this.
Toy 2007/03/29 8:43 AM
This is Sparta! I agree with Damir. Ivan's problem is that he expected Gladiator and got something totally different. 300 was exactly what it was meant to be - a stylised/popcorn version of an ancient tale. Enjoy it for what it is! Its based on a graphic novel written by the man responsible for tons of Batman comics and Sin City! I think they nailed it. It was a graphic novel brought to life! Very cool.
Toy 2007/03/29 8:45 AM
PS2? It was way better than a PS2 game! Im thinking more 360/PS3.....
Ivan 2007/03/29 9:58 AM
This is Sparta? For a popcorn movie it failed to entertain, because for most part it was just the demo video for some new game. I don't want to watch games, I want to play them, so this got old really quickly. You might as well watch 2 hours of random moving shapes with a loud soundtrack.
Toy 2007/03/29 10:09 AM
Ivan The Critic Or Ivan The Forum Guy What is your problem Ivan? If you review movies I take it you consider yourself to be a "critic"? You have alot to learn... If you think you have to force your opinion on people you are mistaken my friend. Are you going to challenge every person that posts their opinion? Mweb makes enough money to employ real critics. Amateur
Toy 2007/03/29 10:14 AM
"Real"views If anyone wants to read an accurate review check out
Stu 2007/03/29 10:28 AM
Gladiator,Alexander,Sparta... A DVD movie in the background to keep the old folks enthralled with surround sound theatricals - my 2 year old son loses focus. 2 hours of the same thing, i.e. battling, reminds me of a porn movie screened at Sun City in 1990 - 2 hours of trying the same moves over and over and you wondering whether there is any point to it, I also did not finish watching it and left to find something more entertaining. Death to 300.
Monty 2007/03/29 10:35 AM
Can't have it both ways Toy, I'm confused by your agreement with Damir, in terms of your own actual comment. Surely the film can be defended either as a grittily realistic portray of the horrors of war or as a highly stylised take on the story of the battle of Thermopylae - but not both? And, if the movie's goal was merely to make the same old 'war is bad' point - which has already been brilliantly made in many exceptional films - then it is perfectly reasonable to expect there to be something more to it than a whole heap o' violence. But, if the violence is instead stylised (and, unless Ivan is just blatantly lying, Matrix- and Kung Fu-style action certainly qualifies), then his argument seems entirely valid. The review isn't criticising people who want to watch it just for the visual spectacle, but the fact that it looks cool doesn't mean that one can't also think it would be a better film for having a good script and more substance. And as for the fact that it's based on a graphical novel - I
Monty 2007/03/29 10:52 AM
Can't have it both ways cut off part: And as for the fact that it's based on a graphic novel - I think it betrays a woeful lack of understanding of this often progressive, insightful and challenging genre to imply that it consists of little more than pretty pictures.
Ivan 2007/03/29 10:54 AM
I are a pro critic and can write like forum monkey too! Toy - there is no law that stipulates that I am forbidden from defending my review of a film, or debating it with people who post comments. Since most of the comments go to lengths to point out how bad my review is, and how I am ignorant and have a bad attitude etc, I don't feel bad about pointing out the holes in people's arguments - A film review is nothing but the reviewer's opinion anyway, to give a reader some vague idea of whether they should spend money on the movie. If I didn't write what I honestly thought of the film, I would be a bad reviewer. Personally, I am a comics fan, I loved Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead, and I thought the trailer for 300 looked awesome, but the film itself was a massive dissapointment.
Toy 2007/03/29 11:06 AM
Pro critic You are very self indulgent. Read some reviews by "pro critics". You might learn something
Ivan 2007/03/29 11:23 AM
I are Sparta Sorry dude, but I haven't read the You and Heat reviews yet.... Exactly what should a "pro critic" say? "I agree with popular opinion and take the studio marketing as gospel truth! Please give me free stuff!" Thank god for free speech, or you might have sent the police round to my house to arrest me for my evil, leftist, self indulgent point of view, and the terrible fact that I am willing to defend it. BTW where did you see it? It only opens to the public on friday? I couldn't condone seeing a pirated copy...
MJ 2007/03/29 11:33 AM
300 - are those abs real?? Someone please settle an argument with my girlfriend for me please! We actually both enjoyed the movie - it was pretty much what we expected so no worries there. What I wasn't prepared for was her drooling over Spartan abs for 2 hours. Please tell me those where cgi'd in and that those dudes weren't all actually built like that?? She reckons they're all real. I say no way.
Ivan 2007/03/29 11:56 AM
Abs-olutley Apparently the shirtless actors went on an intensive gym program months before shooting started, so yes, those abs are real.
Toy 2007/03/29 12:13 PM
Hahaha I watched it last night at a Nu Metro cinema. I wouldnt know about You or Heat magazine... Like I said earlier - If you want a professional review check out
Ivan 2007/03/29 12:38 PM
A "real" review? I see that you reference a review which gave it a glowing review, agreeing with your opinion. Perhaps the next movie review I write will be something you agree with and you can upgrade me from amateur to reel reviewer. To many people, little things like script and characterisation do not matter, but those people are usually very stoned, or under age 8. Or from middle america.
Toy 2007/03/29 12:54 PM
Real views Thats your problem right there mr SADler. He identified the same problems but he didnt get stuck on it. He appreciated it for what it is. My problem with you is that you believe that your word is "the gospel truth". Its like you wrote your "review" (more like-I'm so clever and i are a art movie guy opinion) and now you wait for someone to disagree with you...
Gambit 2007/03/29 1:26 PM
Waiting to see I’ve been waiting for this movie since I’ve seen the preview and I’ll go watch it and formulate my own opinion on 300. Whether I end up agreeing with Ivan or not I’ll see. Ivan, I admit there are a few issues that you raise in your review which I did disagree with. If PS2 games looked anything like 300 does I would have bought a PS3. The reference to Braveheart as a lower standard was unnecessary. I enjoyed Braveheart thoroughly and have it in my DVD collection, but fact is you’re a movie reviewer and it’s your job to give your own personal opinion. Toy it’s very distasteful and disrespectful to post up links to other websites reviews because you didn’t like the reviewer’s opinion. Your comments should be removed. If you disagree with the reviewer that is your prerogative and if you like the reviews on the website you like quoting so much why don’t you just get your reviews from them?
Willow 2007/03/29 1:40 PM
wdf Why see the movie. Its more fun watching you lot go at it - and it will prolly drag on longer as well...
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