Tonight I went to a special music industry screening for 300. based on Frank Miller’s graphic novelization of the Battle of Thermopylae. Since the original graphic novel is not very long, it made sense that director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) expanded on it a bit, making the film a very solid 2 hours.
King Leonidas of Sparta (Gerard Butler) leads a small group of Spartan warriors fighting against the exceptionally large Persian army led by Xerxes. The graphic novel provided a lot of inspiration for the visuals, and oh, this is quite a visual film. It’s also quite a guy’s film – sorry ladies, you probably won’t enjoy it as much. Lots of bloody battles and brutal fighting keep the film’s pace going, and Tyler Bates’ loud ethnically tinged musical score is pushed to the forefront of the sound field. It satisfied the action-film craving, and provided plenty of “oh cool!” moments. It’s probably not the most realistic representation of any epic battle, but it’s all about style, and it works quite well.
I look forward to the critical reaction, which I am sure will be mixed at best, but I’m most looking forward to the inevitable liberal critic comparing the film to the war in Iraq, simply because the inspirational speeches that Leonidas gives could be easily misinterpreted as some pro-war talking points. Problem is, the message happened over 2,400 years ago, and it’s just as relevant today as it was back then.