The 101 Action Movies brings me the chance to sit down and rewatch Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s classic 300. Based loosely on an original final brave stand of King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) with 300 of his Spartan soldiers against the legions of forces brought to bear on them by the Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro).
Snyder brings his visual style, slowing down the action moments, and creating stunning visuals, which works for this film, but not all, )Man of Steel I’m looking at you) to the screen and there are many frames that are wonderfully rendered lifts right from the original graphic novel, and looks stunning.
Butler, and his fellows, all incredibly ripped, the result of 8 weeks of training, and Butler himself trained for 4 hours a day, stride across the screen bare-chested and armed for their confrontation with the encroaching Persian army.
I remember the first time I saw this in the theater, there was a group of us, and we just sat there, and loved every minute of its stylized violence, its comic book images brought to life. We walked out of that theater just absolutely ecstatic on the hyper-violence and the stylization of the film. We hadn’t seen anything like it before that.
Since then, I’ve visited it a couple of times, and in my opinion it doesn’t hold up as well after multiple viewings. The shouted lines are great, it’s cool to see Michael Fassbender in one of his first roles, as well as the equally cool David Wenham and Dominic West, but for me, it just wasn’t as captivating the next time around.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an entertaining film, but since it’s release there have been so many parodies, so many other films that are trying to cash in on the almost iconic moments of the film, that one has become super-saturated with the stylized imagery of the film.
I do like that the film is based on an actual historical incident, and a number of the most memorable pieces of dialogue from the film can be traced back to the people of Sparta and when they said it. That is very cool!
If you can set your viewing mind to forget all of those things, and just settle into the film, it’s still a lot of fun to watch, but as mentioned nowhere near as jaw-droppingly impressive as it was on the big-screen when I first saw it.
It has a strong cast, rounded out with Lena Headey, and Stephen McHattie, and was shot almost entirely on a green-screen stage in Montreal, with the rest of the world added in Post. It does look impressive, showing what can be done with the right amount of money and vision, and as mentioned Snyder does have a cool visual style!
This is a good entry on the film to throw on during a Saturday or Sunday afternoon this winter. Curl up on the couch, and yell lines at the screen as they happen. Because…
“This is SPARTA!!!”