Movie Review: 300

Last night we took a break from our run of Humphrey Bogart films to watch 300. Bill had wanted to see it when it was in theaters, but that just didn’t happen. I finally remembered to put it on our Netflix queue, and it arrived yesterday.

Well, now.

It had a good soundtrack…

I had read that it was historically inaccurate, so I was not overly bothered by any of the details that didn’t mesh with actual Spartan warfare (fighting out of formation or without armor), real Spartan life (the claim of a “free” society), or real Greek culture (“God speed” says one fleeing Arcadian…God speed? Which god?).

And I knew this was based on a comic book, so I could be amused by the gravity-defying agility of the characters (gotta love computer animation!).

But I did not realize that this was a fantasy fiction…kind of like Sparta takes on the forces of Mordor. The Persian army seemed to be composed of wizards, orcs, and all sorts of amazingly deformed creatures that could only come out of the depths of hell. Heck, they even had oliphants. And what was up with that half man – half lobster (aka: the human guillotine) who looked like what “might have been” had the Karate Kid’s mom taken Thalidomide?

I understand the technique of portraying bad guys as inhuman…but really.

Beyond that, I really can’t say that the plot was captivating or that the characters were inspiring. I mean if a pregnant (read: highly emotional) soldier’s wife doesn’t feel particularly moved when she sees a scene where the queen receives the necklace her dead king wore in battle (and I tried, I tried) than you really haven’t done much in the way of character development.

The special effects were cool, I suppose. But I’m just too old now for lots of blood: it doesn’t excite me the way it used to. And all that slo-mo, stop-action fighting with people hovering in the air…I first saw that technique in The Matrix (it might be older than that for all I know), and that was eight years ago. There comes a point where it just seems passé (please note the use of the fancy “e” there…and many thanks to my BIL, Tom, who made that possible).

In the end, it wasn’t a total waste of my time. I rarely watch modern movies, and whenever I do, I feel so hep and a part of modern pop-culture. But even Bill agreed that it was better on DVD (as in free) than if we had paid to see it (and paid babysitters for the ability to see it).

For a bit, I’ll go back to old movies. We just got a collection of Roy Rogers films I think the kids will enjoy…and me too. No blood. No slow motion. But probably not a bad soundtrack.

…a bit more…

My sister, who is celebrating her birthday today, chastized me for not appreciating this movie. Apparently, I should have spent my time admiring the bare-chested actors to get the true essence of what the movie was all about. Silly me. But, when you live with this hunk o’ burnin’ love, I’m sure you realize why I just don’t notice those sorts of things:

And Esther also disagreed with my assessment. So please don’t allow my personal opinion to detract you from enjoying the film, if you like looking at men’s chests and think severed limbs and heads flying in slow motion across the screen are cool. My copy will be back at Netflix in a day or so.

Happy Catholic liked the bare-chested babes, too. I’m sorry, I still can’t get over the deformed guy who beheaded the inept general with his forearm.

8 thoughts on “Movie Review: 300

  1. Thanks for the review. My 17 yo wanted to see it and mama said “no way.” He tried to sell me on the “it’s a true event” thing. Now I can fill him in.

  2. Barb, have him read the book <>Gates of Fire<>. My husband said it was excellent and he asked a Greek soldier his opinion and the guy said that they think it was an excellent account of the battle as well.

  3. Oh, and there’s nudity, lust, the obligatory sex scene between the king and queen, and rape, too. Seventeen is almost an adult, but I can’t recommend that a minor watch the movie based on that alone.

  4. I totally agree with your WHOLE assessment of that movie. We watched it about 4 nights ago (I can’t believe I actually BOUGHT the horrible thing) and we sat there after about 10 minutes of it and we BOTH (we really do love fantasy and sci-fi) went, “Oh My Gosh…THIS is the same movie all of our friends raved about????”. I also agree that it should almost be classified as an ADULT film…as in “borderline porno”. I’m no prude, but all of the super slo-mo made me fast forward the lovey dovey parts and naked boobs jiggling. Plus, I really did wonder what the heck all of the degenerate creatures were all about. And what’s the deal with the leather undies every place? They showed a “scene from every day, walking through the village” and I laughed to think that that’s what people would have actually worn in that climate? Now that I know it was supposed to be this way, I guess it’s not so bad, I really was expecting a little more reality…and the scottish and weird accents put me off, too. I kept thinking that if I closed my eyes, I might be watching Braveheart. It was full of wanna-be “movie lines” and no actual dialogue.

  5. I could care less about movies for the most part, but I enjoyed the sister to sister comments! Ain’t sisters just great!

  6. All in all it was a good film, true to the graphic novel that was it’s source. It never pretended to be anything more than that. It was to its genre what “The Mummy” was to Saturday Matinee theater. My SIL’s opinion notwithstanding, Gladiator is the better period action/costume drama. Now Braveheart & that appalling rendition of Robin Hood (a la Costner) are another story. Fiction passing itself off as historical fact for the “imbecilic” American movie audience. I can handle B movies where the plot doesn’t get in the way of some good special effects, but for major release to eschew fact for story is unacceptable.As I mentioned to Michelle, the disappointing thing is that it will be 40 years before another Thermopylae movie is made; the previous being from 1962 and equally inadequate. This is sad because Pressfield’s Gate’s of Fire is superb and could be rendered as a screenplay much like one of his previous works, Bagger Vance.Billp.s. I thought the sex was a non sequitur and the characters weak, but at least Gerard Butler looked the part of a Spartan, unlike everyone else.

  7. Happy Birthday to your sister!I’ve not seen it.

  8. My neighbor enthusiastically recommended it to me just yesterday. He thought my boyfriend would really enjoy it.(Mind you, he doesn’t know my boyfriend. I’m going to be sure to include your post and the ensuing comments so he can make an informed decision. I, on the other hand, will be cozily sequestered elsewhere so I don’t have to watch it. ESPECIALLY now that I’ve seen the post and ensuing comments.)

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