300 (2007)

Posted in Reviews by - March 30, 2012
300 (2007)

This movie is an adaptation of Frank Miller’s comic book 300 and is a fictional retelling of the historical Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC), in which King Leonidas of Sparta attempted to prevent the Persian King Xerxes and his 150,000 strong army from conquering Greece.

Despite having just 300 elite fighting Spartans, as well as another 10,000 men at his disposal, King Leonidas’ plan was to counteract the Persian’s superior numbers by engaging them at the narrow coastal passage of Thermopylae, thus buying enough time for the rest of Greece to prepare a hurried defence.

Director Zack Snyder then brings to life this absorbing tale of bravery and heroic courage in such a visually stunning style as to make 300 far and away the best Greek heroic movie ever made.

The cinematography was beautiful, while the camera angles and use of strategic slow motion effects ensured we see every intricate detail of the carefully choreographed fight scenes which make up half the entire movie.

The characters, too, were equally engaging from King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his wife Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), to the God-King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) all the way down to the pitiable traitor Ephialtes (Andrew Tiernan).

Of course countless liberties are taken with the plot and events as portrayed in 300, which includes a 9 foot tall effeminate Xerxes, giant elephants, as well as an assortment of fictional creatures and human mutants such as a guy with blades for arms.

But first and foremost, 300 is a gritty,  fantasy movie which masterfully captures the intensity of the battle, while creatively illustrating the astonishment many Greeks may have felt when confronted by the wonders of Xerxes’ vast hordes. 300 is also told in the same vein as the ancient poets who glorified death and war, and, as such, is one of the most mind blowing cinematic experiences you are ever likely to enjoy.

VERDICT

Cult classic which spectacularly glorifies the violence of war

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This post was written by James
Hi, My name is James Atticus and I have had a keen passion for movies ever since being blown away while watching 'A Trip to the Moon' back in 1902. Hardly surprisingly, I am a big sci-fi and horror fan, although my love of film extends throughout all the genres. One of my favourite quotes about cinema was told to me by Alfred Hitchcock, who said: "For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake." To which I replied, "Don't mind if I do!"

15 Comments

  • Sen

    it all, especially in the herktbreaaing and dramatic last scene. He wasLeonidas in every sense of the word a true lion.Once again what he put himself through in the roleis a testament to how special he is. The fight scenes were incredible, Zach Snyder certainly had great foresight and they deserved all the success that followed.I have to say Gerard’s physique and thighs certainlygot my blood going, a real greek delight if ever there was one.Love Rose

    • Nasrul

      I agree with you 100%. Gerard Butler gives it his all with much gusto. The film is very pretty to look at. However, it was a trite story courtesy of Frank Miller. I expected Star Wars or, at the very least The Matrix. Unfortunately releasing the film in a dead month, gives certain people that fulfillment. It was a good movie, not a great one.

      • Szymon

        The one thing that bothers me with this is that Miller DID not do his homework, and INTENTIONALLY left important parts out:from the fact that Spartans weren’t really fans of freedom at all, to the fact that they were mostly homosexual and treated their women horribly, to the fact that for no reason he decides to make the Persian king a scary-looking black dude covered in piercings when in reality he was neither.

        • Roza

          I spent a little while in Greece seneig all the famous sights I could get to. Thermopylae was There’s a little dirt hill (grave mound where the Spartans are buried?) with a plaque on top which reads: Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,that here, obedient to their laws, we lie. My favorite verbal exchange? (loose translation)Persian: “we will darken the skies with our arrows”.Greek: “Great – then we’ll fight in the shade”.My second favorite, and the one everyone knows:King Xerxes offers to spare the Greeks if they would give up their weapons.King Leonidas responds: Come and get them .Across from the dirt hill, is a large statue of King Leonidas called the Leonidas Monument. It has an inscription which reads simply Come and Get Them .Took pictures of it all, but they’re all color slides.I’ve got the Frank Miller 300 comic series they didn’t really do the real story justice (and the art sucks), but it’s not to bad, considering that anyone would find it difficult to condense the real story into just 5 small comics.

        • Lolwa

          I was a Classical Greek History Geek.. Millers translation of Molon Labe as “Come and get it” is probably as valid as “Come and take them”, but still jarring. Maybe if Milius was the director…

    • Muhammad

      I enjoyed both the Graphic Novel and the film, but was struck by the film considerably more. Most notably the elitist King Leonidas downplaying the value of 6 THOUSAND farmers and menfolk that came to assist them, the bullying and persecution of Ephialtes, a disabled man that merely wished to serve his King and country.Since Miller himself was involved with the film’s artistic look and feel, it goes without saying that several of the original Comics iconic scenes are kept beautifully intact. Zack Snyder ( fresh’ from his brilliant re-imagining of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead), does another excellent job at the directorial helm of purveying the story with great clarity and conviction.The downside is that the original tale (yes, it’s a tale) is largely bunkum.Herodotus -sometimes generously referred to as the Father of Time, and sometimes more cynically as the Father of Tabloid Journalism- takes many elements from Greek Tragedy to the Nth degree, bestowing upon characters the golden virtues that sensationally set them apart from the common fold: love, loss, honour, glory, sacrifice and ultimately, martyrdom.There have been some bold statements casting aspersions on the lifestyles of Ancient Hellenes, but the truth is a lot more complicated. The Ancient Greeks celebrated beauty regardless of the sexes, their history of casual bisexuality is well-documented and irrefutable. The Greeks were a lot more comfortable with their sexuality than several repressive sections of modern day societies. Even so far as the widespread publication of books regarding the safe practice of being tender’ with younger males (thankfully, we have better standards on some morale issues these days but the facts remain uncontested).I found the film, like the review here of it, skewered and potentially dangerous to anyone considering those comments as verbatim of the whole story. To consider a single conflict of the Greco-Perisan wars -as in the tale of 300, on par, or even greater than two WORLD wars; wars that affected the entire globe, is preposterous balderdash and spiele unfounded by any so-called historian’.Both Countries have contributed greatly to our modern culture and long may they continue to do so. Had the Persians conquered Greece, it remains pure speculation as to whether or not they would have destroyed its wonderful contributions to the world stage.

    • Ahmed

      I am from Messinia, a state’ in Greece about 100 km from Sparta. I am proud of my history and what happened in my part of the woods. The battle of Thermopylae is one of the most important battles ever ever and the Spartans that fought had balls bigger than most people’s brains.

  • Leon

    300 is emotionally charged enough to tug at your heartstrings, while the action was very gory and MIND-BLOWING. This movie was a real winner, just like those noble Spartans.

    • Noverya

      I think quite a few parts were true to life and pulled from historical accounts of the battle.

      • Tako

        Some discussion of the punctilio of 300 of whether George Bush is Leonidas or Xerxes? That isn’t the right question to begin with. The question is, how come we’re celebrating the values of an ancient warrior state as if they were our own? You’d think the 2,000 years that have passed since the Battle of Thermopylae (not to mention the Enlightenment) would have created some distance.

    • Brayan

      I spent a little while in Greece seeing all the famous sights I could get to. Thermopylae was right up the list. There’s a little dirt hill (grave mound where the Spartans are buried?) with a plaque on top which reads: Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie. My favorite verbal exchange? (loose translation)Persian: “we will darken the skies with our arrows”.Greek: “Great – then we’ll fight in the shade”.My second favorite, and the one everyone knows:King Xerxes offers to spare the Greeks if they would give up their weapons.King Leonidas responds: Come and get them .Across from the dirt hill, is a large statue of King Leonidas called the Leonidas Monument. It has an inscription which reads simply Come and Get Them .Took pictures of it all, but they’re all color slides. I’ve got the Frank Miller 300 comic series, they didn’t really do the real story justice (and the art sucks), but it’s not to bad, considering that anyone would find it difficult to condense the real story into just 5 small comics. Will definitely see this movie, thanks for the tip!

  • Martane

    I loved Gladiator and Clash of the Titans but 300 was way too violent for my taste. All the white guys are portrayed as pro-democratic, heroic idealists with homosexual tendencies, whilst everyone else were evil and cowardly. Unfortunately, this movie was disturbing and unpleasant.

    • jakindas

      Well the couple of things you mention there, like Spartans being homosexual or treating their women horribly do not really stand, especially the second. Think of a siege like that of Troy What do you expect 50000 to do with no women around for say 10 years? anyway im off topic here, the fact that Spartans treated their women horribly is entirely wrong( read a few books and do your homework and you’ll see) they actually had them quite high on their scale of respect, as high women went those days.

  • Asude

    I wasn’t sure I would like this movie, but I loved the artistic qutilay. As far acting, I felt that Butler always used the same voice, not that it mattered, as he was so good to look at. The trouble is, before I saw the movie, I saw a parody on Youtube and it was all in chipmunk voices. I’ll never forget Leonidas shouting, Spartans, tonignt we dine in Hell! in a chipmunk voice. Hehe

  • Ici

    When Dark Knight Returns first appeared, I became a hard-core Miller fan. But then I began detecting a disturbing thread in his works, culminating in what will surely be an epoch in bad-taste fiction-making: Batman versus Al-Qaeda. That said, I didn’t have a strong objection to 300 when I read it as a comicbook years ago, but this movie it’s just utterly repulsive.And yes, Zack Snyder feigning surprise and claiming it’s all just entertainment and laughing at the people booing at the Berlin Film Festival, that’s just juvenile.

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