Wednesday, 10 July 2013

300 (2006) - ★★½

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Michael Gordon (Screenplay), Frank Miller, Lynn Varley (Graphic Novel)
Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West, Rodrigo Santoro, Michael Fassbender

300 is such a man's movie. Full of violence, blood, guts, and... half naked men? Well anyway, I didn't care much for this movie. It had stunning cinematography and awesome battle scenes, but I found it all to be overly ridiculous and cheesy. Gerard Butler wasn't very impressive, I imagine Russell Crowe would have been better for the part (if he had killer abs). This isn't necessarily a bad movie, it's just that nothing in it excited me. The film plateaued the whole way through, leaving me emotionless and scratching my head. I can see that many people got caught up in the epic battle scenes and insanely cheesy speeches... it just didn't do that for me.

Anyone who did Ancient History in high school knows about the Spartan's, and I don't feel like giving a history lesson over a movie review. The story is that King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) is requested to kneel to Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and acknowledge him as the one true god/ruler of the world. Leonidas, being a Spartan and all, refuses. He takes 300 of his men and marches down to the beaches to fight the legions of soldiers and slaves at Xerxes behest. Meanwhile, Leonidas' wife, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), is having a silly quarrel with the high-councilors of Sparta back at home.

I will give credit where it is due. The cinematography was certainly different, but it blew me away. I thought I was going to hate the darker, sepia tones of the film. In the end, I think it worked brilliantly. Not to mention, there were some really beautiful scenes. My favorite came at the end, when Queen Gorgo is standing in a wheat field, receiving news about the end of the battle. While this was my favorite scene, it was almost a complete copy of a scene from Gladiator. It had the same lighting and shade, except Russell Crowe was walking through a wheat field to his deceased wife and son. It made me realize how much Gladiator is a far superior movie (even though that has several cheesy elements to it too).

This scene was a bit too similar to Gladiator, a film made just 6 years before it.
When the monster's came in to battle, I started to get disinterested. It just looked absolutely ridiculous to me. There was a Rhino that charged through, and a giant that looked like a huge orc (Urukai) from the Lord of the Rings. My least favorite was this weird giant fat monster that had swords for arms. WHAT THE HELL! Mind you, I wasn't that impressed anyway so it didn't do much damage to my opinion of the film.

Gerard Butler just couldn't control his accent throughout the film! For the most part he sounded Scottish, but sometimes he sounded Australian or American. This deviation was so off-putting. Why couldn't they just get someone like Khal-Drogo from Game of Thrones? They cast a bunch of English actors to play these Spartan warriors. I understand that you need talented actors to bring life to the characters, and a famous person to bring in revenue. I'll never understand why they couldn't just find people who looked and acted the part of these warriors. David Wenham, Michael Fassbender and Gerard Butler just didn't do it for me. The MVP of the film goes to Rodrigo Santoro, who played the strange yet likable Xerxes. His performance outshone the lot of them... plus I couldn't help but admire his style (weird I know!).

Xerxes sure knows how to make an entrance. STYLE!

You know what someone said to me? "300 is a great movie! There's like a million famous quotes in it!" Well I'll admit, the quotes were pretty cool. I think we all know "TONIGHT, WE DINE IN HELL!" and the most famous of all "THIS IS SPARTA!" It's those two lines that will make me remember the film. Everything else was utterly forgettable to me. I have nothing against people who found this to be a great film. Some even call it a classic. It was entertaining enough to watch all the way though, but I never once felt thrilled or excited. For that reason, it gets a mediocre 5/10.

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