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Overall Rating

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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by EricDSnider

"In which ancient near-naked men stab each other."
5 stars

Knowledge of ancient Greek history won't help you appreciate "300," which tells the story of the Spartan army's valiant fight against innumerable Persian forces in 480 B.C. The film, just like the Frank Miller graphic novel that inspired it, uses history merely as the canvas, covering it with surreal images and stylized violence that could only exist in the imagination.

What will help you appreciate "300" is a taste for stunning 21st-century digital effects, the kind that can create dreamscapes and nightmares at a state-of-the-art level. A fondness for chest-thumping bravery and machismo will help, too, as will a weakness for stoic proclamations such as "The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant!" Also, if you enjoy scenes of buff, sweaty men -- Spartan military training evidently included doing a lot of crunches -- going to battle clad only in tiny underpants and red capes, then you are in for a treat.

Miller drew the sleek, grim pictures that served as the basis for Robert Rodriguez's "Sin City," and now Zack Snyder (director of 2004's fresh, scary "Dawn of the Dead" remake) has approached Miller's "300" with similar enthusiasm. Like "Sin City," "300" is often a panel-for-panel re-creation of the graphic novel. Nearly the entire film was shot on soundstages with bluescreen technology, rendering everything slightly unreal while remaining starkly earthbound, too. The night scenes are so metallic as to be almost black-and-white, while in the daytime scenes the spurts of blood and the Spartans' crimson robes are deeply seen. The film looks like reality, but with hell creeping in at the fringes.

Our hero is Leonidas (Gerard Butler), the truly leonine king of Sparta, bearded and strapping and prone to speaking even his most casual dialogue in a ferocious tone. His kingdom is threatened by the warmongering Persians, who have bullied other city-states into compliance. But not Sparta! No sir. Leonidas will not back down.

Trouble is, Spartan law says the army cannot go to war without the blessing of the grotesque city elders called ephors, who take their cues from an oracle, and the oracle says no on the war. Leonidas, at the urging of his hot but unfortunately named wife Gorgo (Lena Headey), responds by taking not the entire army but a band of 300 soldiers. He plans to defeat the Persians through strategy rather than numbers.

The bulk of the film is the three-day battle that ensues: fighting, then scenes of calm regrouping, then more fighting, and so forth. These are marked by spectacularly excessive visuals, with warfare transformed into a beautiful ballet of blood. It's astonishing, really: Think of everything that can make a picture or scene beautiful -- color, symmetry, fluidity of motion -- and you'll see it's been applied somehow to the Spartans and Persians killing each other. You're in awe at the loveliness of the picture before you realize what it is you're seeing.

We occasionally shift back to Sparta, where Gorgo is trying to drum up support for her husband's plan, and where the treacherous Theron (Dominic West) seeks to use Leonidas' brashness as an excuse to wrest power from him. These sequences are necessary, maybe, to break up what is otherwise a pretty basic story, but they don't crackle with quite the same level of electricity that the battlefield scenes do.

That aside, the film is a feast for the eyes and ears. There is drama in the men's devotion to one another (the son of a Spartan captain is on the battleground, too), there is villainy and traitorousness, there are monsters and freaks who fight for Persia, and there is Persian king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) himself, a ruler who believes he is a god and who travels on a raised platform carried on the backs of slaves. The actor's voice is manipulated to sound deep, sonorous, and otherworldly.

There are parallels to be found with the modern world, what with Sparta eschewing negotiations, defying its own laws, and going to war against Far Eastern religious fanatics who are bent on Sparta's destruction. I don't know if Miller intended this in his graphic novel (which was published in 1998) or if the parallels have been enhanced by Snyder, but it's not the message you would expect from Hollywood right now: Sparta's going to war against Persia is portrayed as a noble, brave, necessary thing, not a catastrophic error resulting in endless quagmire. Interesting to think about, but a lot more fun to just watch.

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originally posted: 03/09/07 17:23:00
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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. 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
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 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
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  09-Mar-2007 (R)
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