I could probably give a good indication of whether you would enjoy “300” by simply estimating statistics.
30 percent of the film is outlandish action sequences. 90 percent of the art direction is super stylized. 40 percent of the photography is
slow-motion. 50 percent of the narration is unnecessary. 99 percent of the actors are seen topless at least once. And finally, 70 percent of
the dialog is delivered by yelling.
For all I know that may sound like a great movie to you. If it is, more power to you. For me, “300” is a fairly by the numbers epic battle story
jazzed up by incredible visuals.
“300” is a very good looking film. Despite incredible gore and some hideous creatures “300” always looks good. The visual style is
obviously inspired by Frank Miller’s graphic novel for which it is based, but it works better than just a carbon copy.
Zack Snyder’s direction does a surprisingly good job of looking great, without being distracting to the viewer. It’s a pretty safe bet,
however, that it was distracting to Snyder.
Under the visuals and battle sequences there really isn’t much to be said about “300.” Character development and plot have little
presence in the movie. King Leonidas is pretty much the same character at the end as he is in the beginning. The same can be said for the
One reason for this is the use of narration. We get far too much of the narrator telling us how characters feel. We should be letting the
actors do that for themselves. As a result we feel very little for these characters. There are times when the narrator is simply describing
what is on screen. Why?
But damn it, the action sequences are good. Snyder shifts between normal, fast, and slow motion with seemingly reckless abandon, but it
works. The film never tries to be subtle and these pumped up sequences have some thrilling moments.
The battles are so much better than the inter cut story of the Queen in Sparta and the relatively dull opening scenes that they might as well
have been cut or trimmed significantly.
The story is based on the truly cinematic Battle of Thermopylae and that does lend to a pretty good dramatic climax, but it is too little too late.
“300” is a great visual feast of blood and guts, but it is lacking in every other aspect.
* * 1/2
(out of four)
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Zack Snyder & Michael Gordon and Kurt
Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West,
David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro
Cinematography by: Larry Fong
Music by: Tyler Bates
Released: March 9, 2007; 117 Minutes