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This is where we fight! This is where they die! - Spartan King Leonidas
Based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name which was itself inspired by the real life
Battle of Thermopylae; 300 was a stunning, visceral and adrenaline charged exercise in excessiveness that
speared where it count; the heart and the arteries.
This testosterone fuelled bullet to the cranium really knew how to push my “f*ck yeah” buttons, starting on a thematic standpoint. Call me old fashion (or an a-hole) but it was mucho refreshing to view a film that strongly addressed the themes of honor, strength, values, courage, kinship, respect, staying true to one’s convictions and loyalty... all in one sitting at that! Don't see enough of that in my surroundings and I found the film incredibly inspiring! It actually boosted my morale! Tomorrow I will fight my detractors with all the strength I can muster (i.e. my landlord who’s chasing me for this month’s rent check). The romantic subplot at play “microwaved” my thumper the right way as well! Was it simple? Yes. Delightfully idealistic? YOU BET! And I was all for it! You just can’t go wrong with a woman (Queen Gorgo that is) who stands by her man and his ideals (not his wallet) no matter what. And you have to respect a dude (That’s King Leonidas to you bub!) who knows that a “real man” is one that is able to put his ego aside to take in his woman’s input. Maybe I’m reading too much into all of this, maybe not, but who cares! That’s what I got out of it, so you're stuck with this crap.
But fear not weekend warriors; 300 was more than a healthy good looking couple and about wearing one’s manhood on one’s sleeve. It was also about violence. Scratch that, extreme violence. Scratch that again, extreme violence captured in graphic, slow/fast motion heavy and poetic glory. My fanboy joy-bone was spinning in its socket at 100 miles an hour during most of the battle scenes found in this relentless abattoir. Ingenious, straight for the jugular, energetically/kinetically shot (all about them POV bits...WOW!) and spectacularly staged I was floored and my butt wore off the theatre seat from all the happy-go-squirming I was doing! Wait till you see the Leonidas takes everybody out communicated via "one shot" bit. NUTS! Furthermore, the fact that all the mayhem was set amidst a mesmerizing (top notch production designs here) surrealistic setting made it all that much more powerful. You would think that the fantastic approach to its backdrops would weaken it’s to the grit substance...nope... didn’t happen. Big props to director Zack Snyder for pulling it off! I was totally sucked in the world of the film and not once did I think “green screen” or "this is fake"…NOT ONCE (And I visited the set!) I was way too busy gawking at the awe inspiring environs and getting my ass beaten to a pulp by the brutal get-downs to give it any thought. Topple on top of that an effortless pace, an intense Gerard Butler owning the scenery with his magnetic presence and his supernatural abs and a glorious score that riled me up on more than one occasion and you get a cinematic delicacy of epic proportions.
Any peeves? Just one; I didn’t dig on the varied otherworldly creatures that populated this good bad-trip much (and I don't give a shit if they were in the graphic novel or not; this is a MOVIE!). They felt out of place to me, distracted me away from the film’s core and didn’t bring anything substantial to the storyline. Personally; the hunchback, the God wannabe (with his so-so acting) that looked like he just stepped off a Gay Parade float (I couldn’t take that dude seriously), the giant wolf etc. randomly diminished the film’s impact. Sure the whole flick was surrealistic and all but these oddities didn’t feel true to me, even within this kind of environment. If Star Scrooge, George Lucas would’ve been involved with this project; I would’ve said that they slapped these beasties in there to sell toys. The film was rock solid all around; it didn’t need these CGI crunches to stand tall and proud.
All in all though; 300 had to be the most gripping, striking, exciting and mind blowing film that I’ve seen this year thus far. It stabbed me hard and deep from every damn angle until I was bled dry like a gutted pig on his way to one's plate! THANK YOU! I needed that! Now you ready to fight in the shade or what? You better be! Cause this…is…SPARTA!