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Friday, March 23, 2007


**** 300. Action/adventure.

Directed by: Zack Snyder.
Starring: Gerard Butler.

Carl and I saw this last night at Sembach. In fact, I nearly posted about it last night, because Sembach is a half hour away, and we drove home in a pretty intense snowstorm and it took me a while to unwind.

I didn't know much of what to expect--just that it was a historical war movie, and that it had been recommended to fans of the Codex Alera. Carl, apparently, knew that the fighting involved a bottleneck. I couldn't get him to shut up about the damn bottleneck for the first 10 minutes of the movie--"oh, see, this is like later on, he uses a bottleneck again." Oh, and we'd asked Dagny about it, to see if it would be appropriate to take her brothers--she said it wouldn't be. And she said it was "pastel." Yeah, we're getting our money's worth out of her English major.

I tell you this so you'll understand why I was underwhelmed for the first quarter of the movie. The monochromatic filming, mostly in sepia tones, but then occasionally in blues, got pretty irritating. And then there was the Heroic Music and the Ominous Music trying to get me all excited or worried about characters I didn't even know yet. And that was really irritating.

It starts off with voice-over narration and a little boy going off to be trained as a Spartan warrior. Complete with a weird-looking CGI wolf. I couldn't figure out why they couldn't use a real wolf. Lots of scrawny kid skulking around being shadowed by a goofy looking wolf with the dramatic music. In sepia.

Truthfully, if it had been a DVD, I'd have left it to the males and gone off to the computer or a book.

But it's a good thing I was trapped in the theater. Once the boy grew up, he became King Leonidas (Gerard Butler). Xerxes of Persia invades, and Leonidas goes to the Oracle to get... well, basically to get permission to repel the invasion. But the priests are paid off and they advise against it. So Leonidas takes 300 men for a walk.

There's intrigue back home as the Queen tries to send reinforcements, but mostly, it's battle scenes. The fighting did really remind me of the Alerans, which is particularly cool, because I just finished reading Captain's Fury, and I'm currently reading Cursor's Fury with the boys in the mornings, and we're just at the point where the Canim invade. So the shieldwall type of fighting and the disciplined soldiers were very familiar.

The cinematography continues, with the colored filters and a somewhat dizzying switching between slow motion and fast forward. Here's where knowing what I was getting into might have helped. I've since discovered that 300 is based on a graphic novel that's based on a movie that's based on history. And then it made sense--the cinematography gave it that stylish, surrealistic feel that fits with the graphic novel.

It also made the violence much easier to take for this squeamish viewer.

So, 4 stars, but if I'd known what to expect, I'd probably have enjoyed it a half-star more. We'll be buying the DVD when it comes out.


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No mention of how hot Gerry is??? ;p
Well, okay, his personality did get to me after a while. :) There's just something about that absolute devotion to duty, I think, that I find really, really hot.

Carl was teasing me about all the eye candy. but that didn't affect me at all--bare, shaved chests. ho-hum.
Hmm. What about the propaganda angle? I hear the latter day Persians are a bit incensed over this one.

The funny thing is, by all accounts (okay, by what I've learned on the History Channel), the Persians were the civilized group back then, while the Greeks were the barbarians. As I understand it, the filmmakers worked overtime to make the Persians look like monsters. No?
Just add this in my netflix, thanks Darla. I didn't realize that Gerard Butler has role in this movie. Yum!
Doug, I didn't see that at all. Not even close, in fact.

First, it's told as a story, as a legend, and it's from the POV of the Spartans. So the Persians, from their POV, are the bad guys.

Second, the Persians, even in the story, didn't look evil. They gave the small group of Spartans every chance to surrender, and kept reiterating that--just surrender, and we'll leave you in charge of your own country--in fact, we'll help you.

And the Spartans didn't look all that admirable, either. It was pretty blunt about the fact that they murdered babies who weren't perfect, for example.

IMO, it's a real big stretch to call this movie anti-Persian.
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