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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 brianorndorf

"Zack Snyder is the new Rob Cohen"
2 stars

“300” shoves the realm of digital manipulation and chest-thumping brawn past the point of no return. It’s a fireworks show in the daytime, Christmas presents on December 26th, and porn without the penetration. I’m not big on movies needing a point to be appreciated, but this is the first film in a long time where I asked a movie, just what the hell are we accomplishing here?

In this loose impression of the Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler, “The Phantom of the Opera”) has found the invasion of Greece by the Persians to be far too much to bear, and assembles an army of 300 Spartan warriors to join him and head off the invaders. Crossing dangerous terrain and fighting hordes of enemies of all shapes and powers, Leonidas find his royal comfort in the glorious land he’s defending, now left to a Queen (Lena Headey) who is having troubles of her own with deceptive officials (Dominic West) who want Leonidas dead.

Watching the furious “300,” I was struck by just how much the film failed to hold my attention. This is a widescreen sandbox for director Zack Snyder (the dreadful 2004 “Dawn of the Dead” remake), and the filmmaker has his scoop and bucket all ready for two hours of highly metallic adventure, meant to please the comic book fanboys and their distant cousins, the drooling action fanatics. I’ll give Snyder this much credit: “300” definitely accomplishes its exceptionally short list of goals.

Because of the success of “Sin City,” “300” goes two steps further trying to marry the ink-smeared imagination of comic book artist Frank Miller and the rectangular needs of the cinema. “City” was a hoot, and a daring invention at a time when movies were aching for a fresh twist. However, “300” can’t shake the bitter sensation of leftovers, even when its homage and majesty are dialed up to 11. Think of the film as a “Sin City” version of “Gladiator,” with bits of “Flash Gordon” and “Xanadu” thrown in to keep audiences on their toes. It’s an artifice-drenched mess, but a persistent one.

“300” is a literal pageant of visual design, and there’s something oddly touching in the way Snyder is so completely determined to keep his film synched up to Miller’s original work. There was nothing cinematically needy about Miller’s explosive 1998 graphic novel, and I don’t dare call this picture an adaptation. Snyder is merely reproducing Miller’s vision on the screen, trusting the layers of special effects and sheer noise will act as the connective tissue between scenes.

There’s nothing here that improves on Miller’s labor or even tries to reinterpret the demands of the comic panel. It’s just slavish and quite tedious fandom; a 120 minute-long, punch-drunk, shot-for-shot tribute (remember when Gus Van Sant was crucified for doing this?) to a piece of art that was doing just fine on the page before Snyder decided to merely photocopy it with a 60-million-dollar budget.

Action is the name of the game here, and if you like your epics cruisin’ for a brusin’, “300” will do the trick. This is an exceptionally violent film, captured almost entirely in slow-motion by cinematographer Larry Fong to best marinate all the combat choreography minutiae and spurting beheadings. It’s opulent and indulgent cinematography, and there are some big laughs watching Snyder awkwardly stage sequences to best pose his cast in Milleresque positions; but the point of all this is not to satisfy dramatic hunger pains, it’s to get your rocks off.

Led by a thundering performance from Gerard Butler (I’m just thrilled he doesn’t sing here), “300” charges head-first into war. The Spartan battles make up most of the running time, but truthfully, if you’ve seen one slo-mo, flying-through-the-air spearing, you’ve seen them all. “300” tends to lose its intended “wow” effect about 30 minutes in, when it becomes abundantly clear the picture is never going to rise above its self-conscious visual blueprint, and the performances will never waver from their primal bellow. All the shimmering golds, disfigured monsters, and half-naked men with their ripped abs (sure to be the most paused DVD in the history of West Hollywood) won’t change the fact that “300” is a one-trick pony, and thanks to Tyler Bates’s Whitesnake-meets-Hans Zimmer score, it’s a ceaselessly earsplitting one too.

Want characters and at least some taste of actual conflict? “300” is not the place for that. Snyder makes a sloppy pass at emotional interaction between the King and Queen, but he undercuts any progress with a writhing sex scene straight out of Shannon Tweed’s once ubiquitous repertoire. Snyder shows further distrust of his audience by having the character of Dilion (a hammy David Wenham, “Lord of the Rings”) narrate throughout the entire film. This is supposed to be a visual experience, right? Why is there someone explaining the plot (a loose term) to us every step of the way?

“300” will tempt the adrenaline junkies out in the world; the bash-ya-head-in crowd that craves the slo-mo pummeling like it was mother’s milk. I’ll acknowledge that, but I stop at the line of personal endorsement. To me “300” was a rocket-fueled ride to nowhere steered by a captain that has demonstrated to me for a second time that the nuances of character and humanity, no matter how candied they might be, are way outside of his directorial range.

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originally posted: 03/09/07 16:27:17
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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)
  DVD: 31-Jul-2007

  23-Mar-2007 (15)
  DVD: 01-Oct-2007

  05-Apr-2007 (MA)

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