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Overall Rating
3.32

Awesome33.82%
Worth A Look: 22.06%
Average: 8.33%
Pretty Bad: 14.22%
Total Crap: 21.57%

10 reviews, 144 user ratings


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300
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by Todd LaPlace

"Seriously, Frank?"
1 stars

Apparently “300” isn’t the most complex movie ever. I don’t think I took my first note until a half hour into the movie, and even then it was to just write “overgrown epic” (look for it to pop up below!). My friend Lisa noticed my writing and asked if I was simply writing the word “bad” in big letters. She also had to leave the movie a half hour early to go collect her master’s degree. I guess that proves it; higher education does make you smarter.

Perhaps it’s just the nature of the beast in our post-Playstation society, but I’m a little concerned that the folk behind “300,” an overgrown battle epic based on a Frank Miller graphic novel, are more concerned with crafting a video game than a movie. There’s an outline of a story that does little more than lead into and out of the 480 B.C. battle of Thermopylae, where King Leonidas (Gerald Butler) leads a group of 300 men against the vast and diverse horde of soldiers Persia has brought in order to secure the conquering of Sparta. But really, this movie is about violence. Pure, graphic, excessive, highly stylized violence. And now all this violence can be yours on the PSP for the low price of $29.99! Available now!

On paper, this reaction to “300” makes no sense. Ask any die-hard comic book fan about Frank Miller and the only response you’d get is awestruck reverence. In addition to creating “300,” Miller is the man behind “Sin City,” a highly acclaimed run on Marvel’s “Daredevil” in the ’80s (which includes creating, killing and resurrecting an Elektra not resembling Jennifer Garner) and “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns,” a four-part miniseries widely regarded as one of the greatest comic series ever. But then again, ask any die-hard horror movie fan about George Romero and the reaction would probably be similar, thanks in large part to the anti-consumerist “Dawn of the Dead.” What’s the connection, you’re probably wondering? That would be “300” director Zack Snyder, whose only previous significant credit is the overrated “Dawn of the Dead” remake, which sacrifices the symbolism for pure, graphic, excessive, highly stylized violence. I have to admit that I like it when a director is so consistent with his work that the same adjectives easily apply. It makes my hatchet job on this flick so much easier.

When a messenger from the Persian empire travels to Sparta to inform them of King Xerxes’ (Rodrigo Santoro) impending arrival (to conquer, not for tea), he is greeted by Leonidas who yells the laughable “This is Sparta!” in his face before kicking him into a conveniently-placed giant pit. Having been raised to never give up and never surrender, Leonidas quickly embraces his bloodlust and asks Sparta’s ephors (five disfigured men who served as the city-state’s highest magistrates) to mobilize the army for as assault at Thermopylae, or “hot gates,” a coastal area that would give the fewer Greek warriors a boost against the millions of Persians on their way. But when the half-naked oracle (Kelly Craig) foresees the Greeks losing, the ephors refuse Leonidas’s request for an army assault, leaving the king to gather 300 of the fiercest Spartan warriors as his “bodyguards” to go to Thermopylae alone to fend off the Persians. I’m sure a battle plan that reasonable will work, right?

As Leonidas marches away to battle, his wife Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) quietly attempts to gain favor with the remaining politicians, in the hope that they’ll send reinforcements before Leonidas is killed. Her fiercest opponent is Theron (Dominic West of “The Wire”), who agrees to help her cause in exchange for sexual favors. I’m sure a deal that reasonable will work, right?

Oh, and in another little unnecessary side story, Leonidas is confronted by Ephialtes (Andrew Tiernan), a deformed Spartan hoping to reinstate his family’s disgraced name by joining the ranks, but because of his deformity, he is unable to perform up to Leonidas’s standards and is turned away. I’m sure an explanation that reasonable will work, right?

Having already mentioned that this film is just about violence, you might wonder why I even bothered to go through that much plot summary. It’s simply because that’s all the plot there is, and although it’s still completely pointless, it’s rich in its unnecessary complexities. All of the stories are technically related, but they’re little more than a chance to escape the pure, graphic, excessive, highly stylized violence. Believe me, you’ll appreciate them when the time comes.

The battle itself is well choreographed and well photographed, but there’s a noticeable lack of anything deeper. It seems to liberally borrow from slick flicks before it without getting the key elements that make those sequences work. It lacks the excessive richness of “Sin City,” the cartoonish playfulness of “Kill Bill” and the delicate beauty of “Hero.” Instead, the homoerotic, bronzed, half-naked men run around a consistently drab and beige battlefield in slow motion, occasionally thrusting spears and swords into their generic and often identical enemies until the Persians send a group of stylistically different warriors that are made up of generic and often identical members. Once again, they seem to be the kind of battles that were planned to look good in a video game. The rhino, elephants and armed giant will all obviously appear as level bosses, while the individual members of the cloned horde are so similar, they can easy pass for the seemingly endless stream of easily-beaten foes. And just like a video game, dispatching them quickly becomes tedious and boring as hell.

On an Entertainment Weekly cover about “300,” the magazine claims that they’ll take us “inside the making of a surprise smash.” I’m still not sure why they think the completely predictable success of an action movie with a massive advertising budget is a “surprise.” It’s an overgrown action epic from the guys behind “Dawn of the Dead” and “Sin City.” Factor in the few nude scenes (mostly topless women, although Butler’s butt sneaks in there too) and you’ve got the non-porn teen male wet dream. Luckily for the film, they’re also the group least likely to be critical of the film, which means they’ll probably all love it, while the rest of us wonder why we fell for such obvious crap.

I know a big deal has been made in other articles about the possible political nature of the film. Both Leonidas and Xerxes have been called allusions of Dubya, depending on which side of aisle you’re on. I think it’s more interesting to notice the timing of the film’s release. What does it say that an audience for “300” was found now, as the desire and support for a real war is fading? Feel free to ponder that question while watching “300” — it’s infinitely more interesting than the actual movie.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15601&reviewer=401
originally posted: 03/19/07 14:16:14
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good movie skip the sequel 4 stars
3/17/16 Charles Tatum You just can't get past those visuals. 4 stars
10/13/13 David H. Historically inaccurate, but has great eye candy. 3 stars
10/22/12 Sean Harrison A bit corny, but still entertaining. One of the better graphic novel based movies. 4 stars
9/11/11 Captain00Kirk Over-rated, too much slo-mo and low on story. www.youtube.com/Captain00Kirk 3 stars
9/11/10 Barbara Leaf Not my type movie but I LOVED IT. Sex, gore....I couldn't get enough. 5 stars
6/01/10 User Name With it's cheesy lines and stylized violence, 300 reaches guy movie greatness. 3 stars
3/21/10 J-Dawg Sex, violence, and mindless action. Pretty much sums up 300. 1 stars
9/12/09 R.W. Welch Stylized but still effective treatment of legendary battle. C+ 3 stars
8/20/09 Monday Morning I haven't seen so many 6-packs since my Miller Brewery tour. 4 stars
8/15/09 Jeff Wilder A popcorn film that's actually entertaining and doesn't insult one's intelligence? Here! 4 stars
4/29/09 Dr.Lao Idiot machismo and cartoony violance with pretentions of being, "art" 2 stars
3/08/09 Rigato Horrible. The Spartans themselves were homosexuals, or at the very least bisexual... 1 stars
2/07/09 man great 5 stars
11/22/08 PAUL SHORTT AN OVERABUNDANCE OF STYLE AND VIOLENCE ACCENTING A SUBSTANCE-DEPRIVED STORY 1 stars
9/14/08 Samantha Pruitt thought it would be better, needed waaay more blood! 3 stars
9/03/08 Alexandru Totir I found it to be very entertaining to watch, quite good, and the actors look stunning & hot 4 stars
8/07/08 Shaun Wallner Bloody Awesome!!! 5 stars
7/21/08 Bob? Hilarious review. Nailed it. 1 stars
6/29/08 AnnieG A good adaptation of a graphic novel, but would have preferred to see a historical version. 3 stars
6/14/08 Karrie M action packed and the guys were HOT, loved it 5 stars
5/25/08 Max Sloppily over the top, and dripping with ugly, heavy-handed right wing propaganda. 1 stars
5/07/08 Crispy Plenty of you ignorant fools will lap this up and Hollywood knows it 2 stars
5/02/08 Greets "the film is simplistic, vapid, soulless, boring" I agree, although I liked the first 20m 2 stars
4/20/08 mark madsen this a good movie. alittle far fetch. 4 stars
3/07/08 Matty! this movie was awesome. just because we don't all hug trees like you tards... 5 stars
3/04/08 europa America should embrace the Spartans "Newborn Policy". 5 stars
2/02/08 surfer Thinly veiled glorification of fascist ideology - perfect aryans against subhuman cripples 1 stars
1/29/08 Rollie It's as if Cornelius is trying to say Frank Miller didn't get it right the first time. 5 stars
1/14/08 David Graham Visualy glorious and entertaining war movie, THIS IS SPARTA. 5 stars
12/09/07 Keystra Williams THIS IS SPARTA! 5 stars
10/27/07 tracey chambers eye candy for sure. worth checking out 4 stars
10/17/07 TreeTiger ENTERTAINING..!!! 5 stars
10/12/07 Spliff Well and truly entertained me, but not as good as the original 4 stars
10/10/07 Bitchflaps The men are fuckable, but the film is simplistic, vapid, soulless, boring and ugly. 1 stars
10/07/07 Vincent Visually stunning, very entertaining flick 4 stars
9/24/07 Jason Great movie, but perhaps a little overrated 3 stars
9/11/07 JeromeBoch This movie did what it was intended to do; it entertained the Hell out of me! Loved the CGI 5 stars
9/10/07 QC Extraordinary. Revolutionary cinematography. The best movie of the year so far. 5 stars
9/09/07 Blitcher God, what a waste of resources, digital or not... 2 stars
8/31/07 I-K Mysogyny, demonised enemy, rank exaggeration... EXACTLY what a war story retold would be! 5 stars
8/28/07 mb Truly Terrible and Not Recommended 1 stars
8/15/07 vinman29 Fell asleep twice--repetitive battle scenes 2 stars
8/13/07 Joe Smaltz They didn't say it was a cartoon 1 stars
8/09/07 Ron People never cease to amaze me. I wonder what kind of crap movies they like 4 stars
7/15/07 the young one yes the lack of armour was rather bad but i guess the whole plot seemed very nice to me 4 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega It's no "Lord of the Rings", and really shouldn't be. 3.5/5 4 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger visually stunning yes. acting and script? total crap 1 stars
7/10/07 GS2 Worst movie of the year, maybe more. Starting with the name, they should have called it 25. 1 stars
7/03/07 William Goss A traditionally gripping epic tale wrapped in modern visual splendor. 5 stars
7/03/07 lotr fan i asked for mayo...THIS IS TARTAR 5 stars
7/02/07 Tanya g very hollywood 2 stars
7/01/07 Lydia Helton Edges out Alexander among just-watchable ancient historical dramas. 2 stars
6/19/07 Abs This Movie revels in it's Machoness!!! 5 stars
5/28/07 fools♫gold REMEMBER this film; think about it. That's all that the "Spartans" wish. 5 stars
5/15/07 movieman lame 1 stars
5/09/07 Anthony A contender for not only worst movie of the year, but worst movie of the decade. 1 stars
4/27/07 Straight guy guys, it's only gay if you're a little 'curious' and want to hide that. great entertainment 5 stars
4/27/07 Dude lame 1 stars
4/26/07 Dave gay war porn 1 stars
4/25/07 Nicole M No naval battle, no armour, no realism... no point. 1 stars
4/23/07 Stevo UK Complete bullshit. 1 stars
4/22/07 UvIndex Dumb movie. Nice graphics, and nothing more than that. 2 stars
4/19/07 grendel73 This movie was awesome! The action sequences were amazing. Great cinematography. 5 stars
4/15/07 Maverick Unrealistic?!.. no, comics are realistic. i suppose Sin City is unrealistic too, or Batman? 5 stars
4/12/07 Jake Unrealistic battles, and SUPERGAY. 1 stars
4/12/07 Indrid Cold Weak story, but the most intense, visually stunnning battles since Saving Private Ryan. 4 stars
4/11/07 Double M Stunning cinematography, visuals and some of the craziest, most intense battle scenes ever 5 stars
4/10/07 Kelly loooved tho action! nothing can beat Gladiator though 4 stars
4/09/07 Will Prepare for Honor! Prepare for Glory! A good ol' spleen-stabbin, leg-choppin action film 5 stars
4/08/07 Vin Passionate & hardcore....makes GLADIATOR look like sesame street! 5 stars
4/07/07 Pooly Actually Peter, I enjoyed Troy more than this! 2 stars
4/05/07 Sumixam Great movie - Visually stunning 5 stars
4/05/07 Anthony 300, how bad is thee? Let me count the ways . . . 1 stars
4/02/07 Joe Amazing, really pushed the bar with visuals 5 stars
3/31/07 Alice Loved Sin City but this was crap. CRAP ! 1 stars
3/30/07 M Amazing.... the only ppl who wont like it are those who loved "little Man" & "Borat" 5 stars
3/30/07 Grigory Unintentionally hilarious; lady with mole was ugly. 2 stars
3/29/07 Stephen Outstanding. Not as historically inaccurate as some make out. Definitelty big screen, big s 5 stars
3/29/07 malcolm decent modern take on an ancient culture and historic event 4 stars
3/28/07 Ruperd those men r do sxy!!OH ye and ur all gay 1 stars
3/27/07 Rachel Hilarious. (Not to mention sexy man candy). 4 stars
3/27/07 Obi Wan Must See! Great eye candy and best action scenes in a long time! 5 stars
3/25/07 euge That was so fucking awesome...NOT 1 stars
3/25/07 Steve Newman what a load of crap 1 stars
3/25/07 Pandababy Some good scenes, but full of dumb crap 3 stars
3/24/07 DEREK most amazing movie ever, who ever gives it less then 4 stars is dumb. 5 stars
3/24/07 Jim Gordon This is the worst film ive seen in my life, total crap 1 stars
3/23/07 Renae It was *intentionally* hilarious and awesome. 5 stars
3/23/07 David Worth a look, a little too much video-game not enough movie though. 4 stars
3/22/07 Johnny Well its awful and sad at the same time, it glorifys militarism, its for simpletons. 2 stars
3/22/07 ES 3/4 of the best movie ever commited to film and then it falters like a dying spartan 4 stars
3/21/07 Jake Bluez Outstanding. Style, action, romance, visually stunning, good actors, great fights. Wow! 5 stars
3/21/07 carniv4 This had to be one of the stupidest movies ever. 2 stars
3/20/07 gatz Genuine adrenaline. 4 stars
3/20/07 SoStraightItHurts Wow... I can't wait to see the gay porn version... oh wait... Did I? 1 stars
3/20/07 Stacy There are quite a few laughable, unintentionally gay moments, but it was mostly fun. 4 stars
3/20/07 Andrew Mind-numbing and instantly forgettable. Hooray. 1 stars
3/20/07 Monster W. Kung It's like a Manowar video: big, loud, dumb, and sort-of-gay. But there's worse. 2 stars
3/20/07 Stanley Thai So far, this is the top movie of 2007! Great film! 5 stars
3/20/07 Ephraim Lee I unfortunately went in looking for a story. The action + visuals were nice though 3 stars
3/20/07 Anthony G Looking for a story? Not here. Looking for badass action? Here you go. 4 stars
3/20/07 dude pretty good 4 stars
3/20/07 Dan Great action, but the scenes in Sparta were useless and a little too cheesy 4 stars
3/19/07 Will A visual spectacle. Like a short story. 5 stars
3/19/07 SPARTANMAN300 BEST WAR/FIGHTING MOVIE EVER!! u dont like it, " Then we will fight in the shade." 5 stars
3/18/07 jess if you liked sin city, you'll love 300, if you didn't like sin city, you'll hate 300 5 stars
3/18/07 Simon it's frank miller, so you know it's shallow and moronic. but at least it's sweet-looking! 2 stars
3/18/07 Shobert 300 is the number of brain cells you lose by watching it. 1 stars
3/17/07 Isaac Unintentionally hilarious and cheesy as hell 1 stars
3/17/07 dICK jENN nice obvious use of dictionary to describe the movie . dipsht! 5 stars
3/17/07 pat horse shit 1 stars
3/15/07 Single Malt A Caravaggio painting come to life, the images stick with you long after the movie ends. 5 stars
3/15/07 rex the worst film i've seen .no hope for film. morons takin over world 1 stars
3/14/07 Elder Made Gladiator look phony. Made Troy look amateur. Breathtaking every 5-7 minutes. 5 stars
3/14/07 Mo Fantastic movie. Honor, duty, glory - all things we need more of in the world. 5 stars
3/14/07 Quigley Not up to the hype. Pretty gross at times and repetitive slo-mo battles. Good visuals. 2 stars
3/14/07 Agglepraxis off-putting and atavistic homophobia (decadence=faginess), but some great action 3 stars
3/14/07 Brian Mckay Masterful action scenes, solid acting, and dream-like visuals. Only drags in a few spots. 4 stars
3/13/07 byzinski Best damn movie yet . Mind blowing action. Patriotic to the core. 5 stars
3/13/07 dmitry I walked out after 20 minutes...Totally worthless 1 stars
3/13/07 Leonidas This is the best Beeping movie to ever grace movie theaters. Tonight, We Dine In Hell!!!!!! 5 stars
3/13/07 big dave yo this movie was the best EVER!! IT DOESN'T GET BETTER any one that says other wise suck 5 stars
3/13/07 Jenn blatant sexism, androcentrism, and ethnocentrism 2 stars
3/13/07 B-Nasty Kickass movie. No other word for it. 5 stars
3/13/07 JH Fantastic. A Greek play about the battle on the big screen. 5 stars
3/13/07 Joe if only I could give a negative rating. 1 stars
3/12/07 Chris Not completely historically correct, although a must see, Fear Wrath from a Spartan woman!! 5 stars
3/12/07 Donny M Awesome. Soft cor porn/action=greatness. 5 stars
3/12/07 Tim LOTR: Check. Gladiator: Check. Jet Li's Hero: Check. But OH MY!!! Borrow from the best!! 5 stars
3/12/07 Rob 300 cliches. Cheesy. 2 stars
3/12/07 Kiver Williams Don't get your hopes up insanely high, and you'll have fun. 8/10 4 stars
3/12/07 bytehead A feast for the eyes. 5 stars
3/12/07 CARLOS MOVIE OF THE YEAR BY FAR. SPECTACULAR BATTLE SCENE. 5 STARS 5 stars
3/12/07 Ole Man Bourbon Good, but not enough men in it. 4 stars
3/11/07 Alex Hypnotic-beautiful imagery-brings the comic alive 5 stars
3/11/07 leonhart-less Slightly anti-climactic, but beautiful beyond words! A must-see! 5 stars
3/11/07 Tom Forsdike Very Violent Very Beautiful! With just enough story to keep it all together, I loved it. 5 stars
3/10/07 Vicious Embrace the carnage and this film will astound you. 5 stars
3/10/07 the wizz I am in shock, The best fuckin movie I have ever seen! I feel like I just had an orgasm-!! 5 stars
3/10/07 Todd That was so fucking awesome. 5 stars
3/10/07 action movie fan far from pure cinematic joy. pompous and arty-too often slow-lord of the rings was better 3 stars
3/09/07 Adrian See it in the IMAX or don't see it at all. This is pure cinematic joy. 5 stars
3/09/07 Darren Shea Wow. Just Wow. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Mar-2007 (R)
  DVD: 31-Jul-2007

UK
  23-Mar-2007 (15)
  DVD: 01-Oct-2007

Australia
  05-Apr-2007 (MA)




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