Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: 300 (Film)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Edwardo Jackson
"This is madness!"
"This! Is! SPAAAARTA!" [Black dude gets kicked down a well.]
And so begins 300 (Warner Bros.), a cinematic adaptation of Frank Miller's
dramatization of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. King of
male-dominated, warrior culture Sparta Leonidas (Gerard Butler) defies the
oracles and town leaders to lead his 300 fittest soldiers against a
million-plus invading horde of Persians heading their way to enslave
them. Instead of avoiding a senseless slaughter of his people by
kneeling before the equally arrogant Persian leader Xerxes (Rodrigo
Santoro), Leonidas plunges the Spartan army headlong into battle,
ready to die free than to live as a slave.
This much we know is true: 300 has more style than a P. Diddy garage
sale. Brimming with nudity, fluidity, and gleefully excessive violent
stupidity, 300 is all sizzle and no steak, a one page outline
masquerading as a two hour movie (trust, that's a compliment).
All style with an almost boyish glee to the proceedings, Snyder &
Miller's 300 is a man's movie about the culture of being men, war,
pride, and all that other manly man stuff. Did I mention this movie's
about war? Some of the rhetoric is so war-thirsty, it's surprising the
movie wasn't followed by "I'm George W. Bush, and I approved this
message." Seriously, can you tell the difference between this line and
a Bush stump speech: "Freedom isn't free at all. It comes with the cost
of blood." The script consists of a bunch of elevated language all
saying the same things ("respect and honor," "Spartans are real men,"
etc.) while marking time until the next hyper-stylized battle
sequence. Not that viewers came to this movie expecting Billy
Shakes(peare) but a plot would've been nice.
I could bore you with character but, let's be real, there are no three
dimensional ones to speak of. So let's talk some more about this
"style" thing, shall we? From the trailers, you know there's going to
be luscious (some might say reckless) use of slow motion, which lends
the action sequences an impressive, balletic look and feel to them (if
not doubling the runtime of this story-thin movie). Mix in lush, CGI
and blue-screen added landscapes, a rock-addled soundtrack (that tries
to inject gravitas where there is none), and a cartoonish amount of
bloodshed and you have a certifiable date-killer movie. Even each of
the Spartans' 12-pack, quarry-hard abs look painted on (or Snyder
hired the best nutritionists and physical trainers in cinema history).
There's a lot of primal screaming and posing, sword and sandal, style
and...mo' style. If that's all you want, then this here is a movie. If
you happen to want something more-It's not madness. It's Sparta.