After suffering through Frank Miller's gratuitously violent "Sin City," I was a little hesitant about going to see "300," a modern retelling of the battle of Thermopylae. I watched film with my friend on 123Movies new site.
However "300" is a exhilarating and violent roller coaster ride of a movie that appeal to fist-pumping bloodlust. This film is so macho it could almost serve as a recruiting video for the Marine Corps.
The movie follows the brave Spartan King Leonidas as he marches his elite unit of Spratans to stave off an invasion from a huge Persian army. Gerard Butler bellows and roars his way through a performance than dominates the screen, even as he veers close to hamminess. One of the problems with "300" is that Leonidas and his queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), are about the only two fully formed characters in the movie. The rest of his Spartan comrades are great abs and torsos and not much else. We don't learn much about them, and the Spartans are indistinguishable. But that's missing the point, this is a movie based on a comic book so it appeals to the visual senses. And it is visually arresting. Teenage boys will love the battle scenes, which are accompanied by hard-driving rock music, and the Persian army, which includes masked soldiers, monsters and elephants, is extremely colorful. Even if Director Zack Snyder and writers, Kurt Johnstad and Michael Gordon, veer sharply away from reality, the Persian army is fun to look at.
However, I can see why this movie raised the ire of Iran, which is in modern-day Persia. The Persians are portrayed as androgynous deviants, while the Spartans are portrayed as chest-beating, wife-loving he-men. (Scholars argue that Spartans, like many ancient Greeks, often had sexual relations with boys.)
"Sin City" was an orgy of excessive violence, and while "300" is one of the most blood-soaked movie you will ever see, it is actually a great spectacle. Snyder borrows heavily from "The Matrix" to turn armed combat into a beautifully, violent ballet. Snyder employs the same stop motion, slow motion and fast frame cuts as the Warchowski brothers used in "The Matrix."
Snyder's Spartan look truly magnificent as, with rippling abs and pecs, they slash, pirouette and hack their way through legions of Persian foot soldiers. Arms and legs go flying but by making the carnage appear in slow motion, Snyder turns something horrible into something strangely graceful.
Is "300" a pro-war movie? Maybe, it does lionizes the nobility of sacrifice and dying in battle, but it also portrays warfare are bloody, dirty and violent. There is so much blood sprayed around in this movie that you almost feel like you have towel down after you leave the theater.
"300" is one of the most uniquely visual movies I have seen in a long time. The entire movie was shot on a green screen, with the background digitally added. This enables Zack Snyder to give the movie an otherworldly quality. "300" is shot in various shades of brown and red that make everything look like the events are taking place in a dream.
Some European soccer teams use action movies like "Black Hawk Down" to get them fired up for games. I am sure that "300" will soon be added to their selection of pre-match movies.