The valor and vigor of the legendary warriors of Sparta were brought to life in director Zack Snyder’s big screen adaptation of Frank Miller’s novel “300.”
Miller, of “Sin City” fame, has successfully attempted to shove one of his graphic novels onto the silver screen yet again.
Despite the name, the film, which opened in theaters Friday, focuses on one man, Spartan King Leonidas. Like all Spartan men, Leonidas, played by Gerald Butler, has been bred to become a fierce warrior. After being spared from the slopes of Mount Taygetos, where male infants were left to die if they were too weak, small or sick to become soldiers, Leonidas is trained from the age of 7 to become the eventual fighting king of Sparta.
Leonidas is propositioned by the god-king of Persia, Xerxes, played by Rodrigo Santoro. Xerxes tells Leonidas to submit the people of Sparta to the Persian Empire. Without the consent of the counsel, Leonidas, along with 300 brave and loyal soldiers, refutes this proposal and battles the Persian army despite being outnumbered.
The fierce and thorough killers that Spartans are presumed to be is supported from “300’s” depiction of these legendary men.
One of the many points made within the movie, is the honor of dying for Sparta. Leonidas’ attitude exudes that he is more “ready to die” than even Biggie’s first album. Butler’s rendition of the king, through his braggadocio and defiance in the face of enormous odds, compelled audience members to stand behind the actor from the first frame.
“300,” which was filmed primarily in front of a blue screen to give a comic book feel, is a visual delicacy. Each scene was like the turn of a graphic novel page with the exception that the characters actually moved and the words were heard, not read.
This cinematographic method, also used in Miller’s “Sin City,” effectively told this epic war story.
“300” delivers everything and gives the viewer even more. The film has action, sex, betrayal and depending on a viewers’ sense of humor, a few quips here and there.
This tale of the Spartan king is told through the poetic third-person narration of one of the “300” soldiers. His point of view lends an epic nature to this legendary tale, as the voice chronologically guides the viewer from Leonidas’ birth to the Battle of Thermopylae, the movie’s climax.
Snyder flawlessly executes this movie with believable acting and an overflow of action scenes which are backed by a compelling storyline of going against the odds. And the comic look of the movie dilutes the carnage within it, making the action scenes look less gruesome.
Though some viewers may be thwarted by the lack of a dense plot, the movie is a thriller and a classic. See it!
“300” is rated R. The film runs for 1 hour 56 minutes.