King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.
Although I am surprised to see this film so highly rated on IMDb, I can understand why it is so because it does deliver a powerful experience, almost powerful enough to carry it through its lack of real depth or substance. You can see the selling point on the DVD cover or the poster because it is in these places where any film visually has to sell itself. With 300 though this selling continues across the entire film because, holding close to the graphic novel roots, the visual design is the all here. The plot is simple and, although there is a little bit of politicing back home, the film is all about the stand of the 300 against countless others. In this regard it is visceral, violent and visually stunning. The mix of effects with live action brings the action to live and is as suitably overblown as the legend.
Snyder's direction matches the effects and he wallows in every macho swing of the sword, doing really well to capture the action in a way that is engaging and clear. The lack of substance was a bit of a problem but to be honest the film does sweep you along in the moment of the battle and mostly this is all you care about. The cast don't really have characters so much as presence and mostly they deliver in this area. Butler is strong in the lead and he convinces in the role of Leonidas. Headley and West have the harder job back home to provide some interest in the politics behind the battle they do well enough (particularly The Wire's West, but I'm biased) but the script does rather leave them to their own devices. The rest of the cast are appropriately muscular and heroic and fit in with what the script is trying to do.
Overall this is an effective but superficial film. The design and the look is the all but fortunately it delivers in this regard really well. The performances, the script and everything else falls into line in supporting the graphic novel feel of the film and, although I would like to say I favour substance over style, it is hard not to like when the style is this well done.
- bob the moo
- Nov 18, 2007