Review Date: February 04, 2008
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Michael Gordon
Producers: Jeffrey Silver, Bernie Goldmann, Mark Canton
Gerard Butler as Leonidas
Lena Headley as Queen Gorgo
Dominic West as Theron
Further kudos go out to the CGI effects throughout the film, which unlike other big effect-driven movies from the past year, actually meshed seamlessly with the story and aesthetics of the picture, most of which was actually shot on soundstages with green-screens all around. Consider the amazing scenes featuring boats being tossed around the rough waters, the stunning surroundings and skies, the awesome deformed and giant characters, all taking off where Gollum started out in the LOTR flicks, and moving up to the next level. I also really liked all of those lovely “blood splats” throughout the fighting, and as per the LOTR flicks, the awesome battle sequences…many of which were stunning to behold. On the downside, those very same battle sequences did start to get a little redundant after a while; I mean how many shots of a Spartan drilling his sword/spear into an opponent with blood gushing out the other side can a man see before rolling his eyes already? I wish there had been a more developed storyline as well, rather than the massive focus on the fights, which despite looking great, as mentioned earlier, really didn’t invest me much more into the story. At times, it was like watching the transitions or introduction to a videogame, which I’m not saying to denigrate the film – because I actually don’t have an issue with certain types of movies “looking” like this, since not all movies can be KRAMER VS KRAMER (wow, there’s an old reference for you, kids) – but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to feel closer to the characters when many of them are obviously not real.
Also, despite the surprise integration of a female into this storyline (and a strong woman at that, nice!), I didn’t think many of the rest of the characters in the film were developed to any great extent, and some literally screamed their fate when introduced, including the “young son” of a father who isn’t sure if his boy should join him in the fight (guess what happens to him) and a deformed Spartan who is turned down for a role in the squad because he’s not perfect like the rest of them buffed men (guess what he does later on). All in all though, the film entertained me through most of its runtime (love the scene in which Butler is nonchalantly chewing on an apple, while his cohorts are spearing the life out of the enemies around him), arrested my attention with its spectacular visuals and even though its fight sequences and plotline felt a tad deja-vu at times (would you believe that the film includes yet another sequence of the group leader “inspiring” the troops with yet another speech about “freedom”…sigh), the film definitely did breathe new life into the genre, and brought to the fore yet another creative way to produce motion pictures in this day and age. And in that regard, anything that doesn’t require remaking, reshaping, rehashing, remashing old TV shows or past feature films…is okay in my book. A-oo! A-oo! A-oo…this is Sparta, bitch! Oh, I also loved that final shot of Butler in the battle-field. Classic shit. This is the kind of movie that I might not watch again, but I would definitely play it in the background at a party or something, without any sound…and on weed.