300 (2007)

With the sequel to 300 having just come to the big screen I decided to catch the original when it was on tv recently. But can I handle all the manliness and shouting for 117 minutes?

The King of Sparta Leonidas (Gerard Butler) refuses to submit to God-King Xerxes causing problems between the Persians and the Spartans. Denied by the Ephors to take his army to war Leonidas takes 300 of his men to fight against Xerxes army of thousands.

The opening part of the film describes how Spartans take new-born baby boys and throw away the ones who are weak, disabled or just not worthy. Then the ones who are deemed strong are made to fend for themselves in the wild when they are ten and if they come back they are good enough to be Spartans. Baby killing in your opening minutes? I must admit that didn’t really make me warm to our heroes.

But the thing with 300 is that everything is very, very silly and over the top. And overly macho in a homo-erotic way. It’s also very enjoyable. You can enjoy the story even while you question the plausibility of everything on-screen. Take their battle suits for example. I know the Spartans are probably so bad-ass they don’t need things like clothes but  is a jock-strap and a cape really the best amour for battle (just look at The Incredibles to show why capes are not a good idea to fight in).

The green screen did bothered me, becuase it was so obvious that the backgrounds looked so fake, although I guess the overall look did create a comic book feel to it. And while sometimes director Zack Synder sways towards style over substance, the style can be pretty impressive at times.

I’m not sure why Gerard Butler made the acting choice TO SHOUT. EVERY. OTHER. LINE. But I have to say he brings a strong presence to the role, you could see why these men would follow him into a hopeless situation. The rest of his men fade into one another, although it was amusing to spot a pre-fame Michael Fassbender among the soldiers.

Female characters are scarce in this film but at least they are well presented by Lena Headey as Leondias’ wife Queen Gorgo who shows that Spartan women are every bit as strong as their men-and you really don’t want want to see her angry.

I don’t know if the sequel can possibly live up to this gory, unintentionally hilarious fantasy/action movie but it’s easy to see why people are such fans of the original.

Rating – 3/5 a fun mindless way to spend a couple of hours, so go ahead and submit to Sparta

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “300 (2007)

  1. A total guys movie. Yet, it’s still fun for anybody else who appreciates a fine helping of blood, gore, sex, violent and half-naked dudes. Good review Lauren.

  2. Mindless is the perfect description. It’s a ridiculous film with a ridiculous performance from Butler. It’s great!

    • It’s one of those films in which all the ridciulous things going on actually makes the movie worth watching. You just have to go along along for the ride.

  3. Do you think you will see the sequel?

  4. I rather enjoyed it, but, I’m a guy so…. You’re definitely right about the mindless part. The story is very simple and straightforward but I thought the calls for liberty, reason, freedom etc. was suitably inspiring. The sequel is much more plot driven and hinging on other elements, even on the battle of the 300, to drive the story forward.

    • Although it does fit into the typical “guy” movie I think it’s a film that everyone can enjoy if they like their films to have lots of blood and guts and men killing each other in slow motion. It also does have a good story and I always like to root for the underdog. I think I’ll wait for the sequel to be on tv that way I won’t compare it too much to the original if I leave it a while. Sequels always look a bit rubbish if you’ve just watched the original (unless it’s Aliens or Terminator or something that disproves the rule).

  5. Yep. This is THE definition of a man movie. Hahaha. Personally, I find it a bit too silly for my taste, but I will admit that some of the stuff in it is fairly memorable and fun. And I certainly don’t mind all the shirtlessness. 😉 Good review!

    • Thanks. It’s very silly and hard for the audience to take seriously at all. But I did like how serious all the actors were with the material. I wouldn’t be able to keep a stright face with everyone wearing next to nothing-and I wouldn’t know where to look.

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