In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian army in the mountain pass of Thermopylae. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the enemy in one of the most famous last stands of history. Persian King Xerxes lead a Army of well over 100,000 (Persian king Xerxes before war has about 170,000 army) men to Greece and was confronted by 300 Spartans, and several hundred Arcadians. Xerxes waited for 10 days for King Leonidas to surrender or withdraw left with no options he moved. The battle lasted for about 3 days and after which all 300 Spartans were killed. The Spartan defeat was not the one expected, as a local shepherd, named Ephialtes, defected to the Persians and informed Xerxes of a separate path through Thermopylae, which the Persians could use to outflank the Greeks. Written by
Hearing that 300 is based upon a " graphic novel " which is a pseudo intellectual phrase used to describe a comic book I didn't go out of my way to watch this because the present Hollywood movie making factory spends too much time and money bringing these type of stories to the screen . Also I was very unimpressed with director Zack Snyder's previous film the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD which is a pale imitation of a superior movie . Sometimes prejudice can get in the way of judging a film of its own merits because 300 is one of the more memorable movie moments from last year and one that seems unforgivably ignored at the more prestigious film award ceremonies
Being based upon a comic book you could say in all honesty that the visuals mirror those of a graphic novel , but I would claim it goes far , far beyond that and say it's like watching a painting come to life . The battle scenes are entirely different from those seen in LORD OF THE RINGS or KINGDOM OF HEAVEN but are no less impressive and some of the battle sequences , most notably the ones featuring the immortals are terrifying . Did I say this film is like a painting come to life ? In some sequences it looks like a nightmare come to life and this stylish formalist type of cinema will send a chill down your spine . This is cinema strictly for adults only
Fans of ancient history and classical studies will find a lot to criticise because it's not an accurate depiction of ancient Greece but you should always make the legend according to John Ford . Unfortunately by concentrating on the visuals there's other aspects lacking . The Spartans don't really come across as real characters from ancient times , more of a crowd of wise cracking macho cyphers and let's be honest here , with the exception of voice over the dialogue is rather poor . It often reminded me of something present day Scottish folk hero John Smeaton might say : " Dinnae come tae Sparta , we'll set aboot ya up here "
But despite these very noticeable flaws this is a truly memorable movie down to the jaw dropping visuals and it's the visuals the film will be rightly remembered for . It's a pity that the Oscar voters have ignored 300 because certainly make up , cinematography , editing and possibly best supporting actor for Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes should have been nominated at least and this film will be highly regarded in years to come
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