March 24, 2007

300 - $8

300 is the cinematic version of Frank Miller's graphic novel by the same name. It is the retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C where 300 Spartans held the Persian Army of thousands for three days which, it is said, gave Greece enough time to raise their own army, inspired an eventual victory over the Persians and the founding of the world's first democracy. This is the epic battle of all epic battles.

300 is a legendary tale told in the exaggerated way only a graphic novelist could get away with. The Spartans are depicted as nearly flawless warriors and the Persians as inhuman abominations. Battle scenes dominate the story line with severed limbs aplenty, yet somehow the exaggerated comic-book-style depiction of these battles made it easier to watch for me than the realistically graphic battles I've seen in other epic war movies.

The dialogue of 300 even feels like a comic book and was part of the entertainment value for me. King Leonidas is regularly inspiring his soldiers with such wisdom as; "Give them nothing! But take from them everything!" and "Spartans! Enjoy your breakfast, for tonight we dine in Hell!" In any other movie I would attributed this kind of dialogue to poor writing but in 300 it worked with the rest of the over the top and unreal aspects of the movie.

This movie does not overwhelm you with historical facts or deep life lessons. What 300 does is entertain its audience from start to finish. If you go to see 300 and expect anything more than this you will be disappointed. This is a movie of excess and simplicity but it is certainly not boring.

300 is full of impressive computer generated scenery and slow motion action sequences and if battle scenes and graphic novel story telling are up your alley then it is not to be missed.

This movie is worth seeing despite its faults. I put 300 on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $8.


Coutts said...

not to be contentious, but how is over the top violence and killing more entertaining than over the top bigotry, racism, etc ...?(referring to Borat). in other words how is it entertaining to watch the comic book version of manslaughter and not entertaining to watch the comic version of verbal abuse? sticks and stones vs. names. in either case we hurt others. are these legit modes of entertainment because they are fictional? do we need to get this stuff out of our system thru fiction (thereby calling these forms of entertainment helpful) or do these forms of entertainment only perpetuate our level of comfort with what is actually in reality quite horrible?

not to be contentious or anything. i just suspect that if i were to see borat and 300 i might hate 300 for the same reason you hated Borat, and concievable I might be okay with Borat for the same reason you were okay with 300. maybe we'd both be wrong. maybe we'd both be right. i don't know.

i probably shouldn't comment on movies i haven't seen so its is possible I'm out of line or missing something?

Tony Tanti said...

Good points coutts, I wondered if this would come up and I did think of it while I was enjoying 300; why do I feel entertained by a movie full of violence and not by one full of racial jokes? Maybe I'm just more desensitized to violence. Maybe I shouldn't have liked either or should have been fine with Borat, I'm not sure.

I don't think anyone is going to dress up like a Spartan and throw spears at people. Certainly not as many as imitate Borat. And I was a lot more disgusted by the other movie adaptation of a Frank Miller story - Sin City.

Also, I guess for me I do see making racism funny as worse than glorifying violence. Both are real parts of human history though so whether either is "helpful" I'm not sure.

Mainly though, right or wrong, 300 entertained me and Borat did not. I review whether a movie is worth paying to see on this site and that's the simple reality for me, 300 was enjoyable and I couldn't wait for Borat to end.

Sheamus the... said...

to avoid the philosifying going on over at this post I am just going to say...the queen was the biggest fault of the movie. There you go I said it. And if Borat had a queen she would probably be the biggest fault. But instead it was nude wrestling with his manager...HA. I did laugh though. But seriously though. The queens story was not even in the comic book and the adding of her character slowed and dragged the story on with a plot that no one cared about and a ultimately a plot that didnt even matter.

Jeff Coutts said...

Eight dollars!!! For mindless entertainment? I don't care how much fun it was, that seems high.

I have not seen this movie. So I'll keep most of my comments to myself. I can't handle glorified violence though so I am choosing to stay away from this movie. No matter how "stylized" it is. I just have a hard time believing it deserves that high of a rating, and your review gives me no reason to think otherwise.

Tony Tanti said...

jeff, that`s some well feigned outrage for a guy who hasn`t seen this movie.

I will readily admit that I can tend to be more easily entertained than you by simpler movies but 300 is no Alexander or Troy. Not in my opinion at least.

It was well made and fun to watch and from the perspective of a movie based on a comic book it was even well directed I would say.

I stand by my rating.

Jeff coutts said...

the outrage comes from every single person I talked for 3 weeks saying, "Have you seen 300!? No! It's sooooo awesome!"

Tony Tanti said...

Yeah, the hype`s a bit much. That might be part of my reason for detesting Borat ironically.

300 is good entertainment though and as I said, right or wrong, I can handle the violence in it more than violence in some other movies, and far more than the humour in Borat.

Jeff Coutts said...

I guess I'm just the other way around. And I felt Borat at least had some reason for doing what it was doing. 300 just seems like its needlesly feeding the public's love for epic battles. It's like Braveheart without any substance.

I'm okay with people liking this movie, at least I'm trying to be. But I still don't feel your reveiw justified an $8 rating.

Tony Tanti said...

I almost gave it a $9 rating. I was in the mood to be mindlessly entertained I guess and this one was worth the money in my opinion. It wouldn't be for everyone though.

You make a valid point about a movie's purpose, I never thought much about Borat's purpose while I was hating it and admitedely 300 has very little purpose except to entertain. My reviews are about whether movies are worth seeing, I'm not pretending to a be a film critic, that perspective would bring a lower rating for 300 I'm sure.