Sunday, January 20, 2008

300 (2006)


Before, during and after watching this movie I realize this movie was made with just one purpose - to entertain. No social messages, no character study. Just plain fun. Well, maybe not so plain, but sure as hell lots of fun.

I have not read the book; hence I am not in a position to judge how true the movie stays to the book - in look or in feel. Watching the movie in itself is such a wonderfully visceral and testosterone–fueled experience that it stands for itself apart from the book.

In essence, Snyder has taken the elemental attraction from what was Blade’s Blood-Bath or Matrix’ Security Shoot-out and made an entire movie out of it. Over-done? Heck no. Exhausting? You Bet, Yeah!

The movie depicts the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C of 300 Spartans that held the Persian Army of thousands for three days (giving Greece enough time to raise their own army for defense) before falling, but told in Frank Miller's heavily-exaggerated and violently Politically Incorrect style. Gerard Butler plays the bearded, screaming Spartan King.

The exaggerations of Spartans into Herculean warriors and of Persians (and their army) into grotesque mutant abominations are as much a part of fictionalized and stylized story-telling as are the fantastic beauty-enhanced visuals. From the expansive use of Slow-motion (most of the movie was shot at high-speeds between 50-150fps vs a norm of 24fps) and painting the movie in shades of only three colors (Black to White, Yellow to Brown, Red) to the extensively choreographed battle moves and formations – this movie does not have a single frame that does not look like an art-still. And as a story-teller, Snyder (or Miller?) spins his tales large but roots it firmly within the world realized in the movie with a dramatic voice-over by David Wenham (much like his Faramir of the LOTR trilogy). And the movie has some amazing dialogs - as dramatic and exaggerated as everything else within the movie. (Xerxes: Cruel Leonidas demanded that you stand. I require only that you kneel.)

Zack Snyder has set a new bench-mark for stylized visuals with this movie – something that tends to be set too often now-a-days. But upping the ante can only bring better things to us as viewers. 300 is exactly what it set out to be. Looking for historical facts, trying to tie it down to current events or expecting deeper meaning within this fun-fest is being fool-hardy.

My rating --> 4 of 5

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