Go Tell The Spartans, Passerby...

Saturday, March 24, 2007
...that this movie sucked.

As you know, 300 is one of those movies that I've been dying to see for about eight months now. Well folks, last night I finally got to see it. What's my verdict, you ask? Unfortunately, I have to report that I was severely disappointed (sorry, Shea and Adam, I know you loved it).

Don't get me wrong. 300 is visually a great film. And no, not just because of all the half naked men. Great slow motion battle scenes, lots of CGI (which, surprisingly I was OK with...) However, the acting was terrible. The only performance I even remotely enjoyed was that of Dominic West, who played Theron. A small role but deliciously manipulative and cunning. Plus, he seemed to really enjoy playing such a bastard. Two hours of cheesy dialogue and the occasional attempt at humour which just didn't work. Perhaps a better actor than Gerard Butler could have pulled it off... Xerxes was portrayed as an effeminate, overly pierced joke. Supposedly intimidating, I found the movie's version of him quite laughable. Not having read the graphic novel, perhaps this is the way Frank Miller had portrayed him. Regardless, I think it does a bit of a disservice to Persian history.

I'm sure we all know the story so this won't be a spoiler for anyone but I had a problem with Leonidas's death scene. Not the way he died, or the corny lines Butler had to speak as he collapsed but rather the shot of him lying on the ground dead. It was quite reminiscent of the traditional pose of Jesus on the cross. When you combine this with the theme of sacrifice of the few for the many, it has some serious religious overtones. Having read an article on the debate about whether George Bush was Xerxes or Leonidas, it was easy to see the comparisons (from both sides) that can be made.

I believe it's likely a combination of a not so great movie with a huge dose of over-anticipation on my part. I had a similar reaction to Gladiator when it was finally released and the only parts of that movie I enjoyed were Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius and a few scenes with Oliver Reed.

My recommendation? Unlike Shea and Adam, I have to suggest y'all give it a pass. If you feel you just HAVE to watch it, rent it with a few other people and split the cost.


Krista said...

It's a shame you didn't enjoy as much as you might have wanted to. Visual spectacles tend to have that effect, yes? Look great, could use some work otherwise. I guess that I was lucky in that I went into it just for the visual aspect. I know essentially nothing about mythology, and I hadn't read Miller's novel, so I was pretty much just expecting to see some CGI fight scenes with hot guys and lots of blood. As such, I pretty much loved it.

In the film's defense, I don't think it was really shooting for great acting. Notice how they had to balance the fighting in the second half of the movie by the gratuitous nudity near the beginning? It was all about sensory overload. As for the cheese factor, it was inevitable. How can you glorify the already glorified without cheese? Just doesn't happen.

And Xerxes creeped my out. All I could think of was Rupaul. I also couldn't believe that it was Rodrigo Santoro.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

How disappointing - I know you were really looking forward to seeing this. It wasn't one that I felt I needed to see and now you have clinched that for me.

Red said...

These big blockbusters are always disappointing, aren't they? I remember being excited about Troy -- the trailer was so awesome and the story is so fab... how can you go wrong? Well, I don't know how they did, but wrong they went! The only good thing about Troy was Eric Bana. I never liked Brad Pitt and he was his usual half-assed self in it, Peter O' Toole must have been drunk throughout the shoot, and the rest... who even remembers?

I was not even aware of this film until I saw how you and the boys were eagerly anticipating it, then I started seeing posters around, but you know? Big biffer boys in armour being manipulated by computer just ain't worth my money (though I daresay this will end up making an appearance on our lovefilm list courtesy of my husband...)

Alun said...

I've just come back from watching it. I haven't laughed so much at a film in ages.

G.Hynes, Cambridge, UK said...

Note to Krista,

It was fact, not mythology. You Yanks!!

Vernunft said...

Religious overtones are GOOD. They add depth and transcendence to what otherwise would be mere human struggles.

Man, do you sit around thinking "I wish Milton had cut out all the religious crap; Paradise Lost was so close to being good!" Please. Depth, symbolism, and meaning are GOOD THINGS, folks.

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