Movie Reviews – 300

Katherine Devries

The recently released 300 was written and directed by Zach Snyder, most famous for his modern remake of Dawn of the Dead. 300 is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller, and has cinematic qualities similar to those found in the his adaptation of “Sin City”.

The plot of 300 is relatively simple. It tells the story of an army of Spartans attempting to defend Greek civilization from the invading Persians. The Spartans enter into battle severely outnumbered — a fact that characterizes their army as almost suicidal.

The clashing protagonists of the film are king Leonidas and Xerxes, both of who have extremely extroverted and ravenously passionate personas. The rest of the characters include a crew of blood-bent warriors, gorgeous lovers, bomb-constructing dwarves, badly disfigured militiamen and even the occasional rhino. While the constant influx of increasingly improbable characters is occasionally slightly distracting, science fiction fans are likely to enjoy their fantastically over-the-top personalities.

While most of 300 focuses on the militant side of the war, instances of deeper conflict take the movie to a more intriguing level.

One scene, in which the Spartans execute babies who won’t adequately fulfill their standards, forces the audience to actually think, making them wonder if the conflict has to do with more than just limb-chopping gore. Unlike past epic movies such as Troy or Gladiator, 300 lets the audience see more than just the action. It is possible to sympathize with the warriors who become surprisingly multifaceted — albeit slightly over-the-top.

The best parts of the film involve the battle sequences (which took up most of the screen time). With perhaps a little too much corny slow-motion action, the battles nonetheless provided all the combat and adrenaline rush of past epics with a darker, more sadistic twist that kept the movie in line with its graphic novel roots. The battles are gory bloodbaths with improbable yet somehow believable graphic display.

The entire movie is done in an unusual color scheme, giving it a gritty visual quality that compliments and accentuates the mood. At times, it appears overly computer-generated and feels more like a performed video game than a movie; the balance is new and intriguing enough to come off as successful.

Overall, 300 satisfies most movie-goers’ epic movie desires; it provides a safe and familiar lot, new intriguing characters and a unique but effective method of presentation — definitely a must-see.