‘300’: A roaring good time

Thu, 03/15/2007 - 2:39pm
By: Michael Boylan

After the success of “Sin City,” “300,” another graphic novel by Frank Miller, got the cinematic royal treatment and has recently been released in theaters. Reviews have been generally favorable ( I really liked it, too) and it has translated to box office success. If you like movies about war, especially wars fought with swords, shields, arrows and brute force, “300” is right up your alley.

The film tells the tale of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Basically, the Persian Empire was conquering the world and they had reached Sparta. A Persian messenger approaches King Leonidas and says, “We like Sparta and we like you, just bow down to the Persian Empire, give us what we ask for and you can rule all of Greece as a war lord.” Leonidas does not agree to this, but he can’t wage war without the approval of the Ephors, which are creepy, deformed men in control of the oracles, which are basically drugged out teen girls in skimpy outfits getting into funky trances. The Ephors, unbeknownst to Leonidas, are on the take from the Persians and after hearing about Leonidas’ desire to wage war, refuse to give him approval. Leonidas takes 300 soldiers and goes off to fight anyway.

That’s it.

After that it is just 300 men against the largest army in the world at the time. The 300 men do pretty well and their actions eventually inspire all of Greece to take up arms and defeat the Persians. (That’s not really a spoiler, considering the story has been around for 2,400 years).

Is “300” violent? Yeah, but it’s not as bad as you might think. The blood is similar to the output in “Kill Bill” but it doesn’t flow as much or as crazy and it looks almost how it would look drawn on the page. If you watched any of the recent WWII movies, you saw a lot worse.

The strength of “300” though, and I realize this sounds weird about a movie with such a straight forward plot and so much fighting, is the acting. Gerard Butler is fantastic as Leonidas - seriously top-notch. He plays the inspiring leader very convincingly and gives the character many dimensions. He is matched perfectly with Lena Headey who plays his queen, Queen Gorgo. Not only does she humanize Leonidas and the Spartan society, but she gives him a reason to fight and she fights for him and the soldiers before the council, begging them to send troops to support the 300 men who have out their life on the line.

Director Zach Snyder did a great job with “300.” The visuals are out of this world and entirely different from “Sin City,” while also staying true to a look of a graphic novel. There is obviously an element of fantasy to this tale and no one claims that this is exactly how the battle went down, but it still a great story, filled with action and excitement.

Trust me, it is lots of fun and well worth a viewing.


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