300 - Film
a kate west reflection
I'm not a fan of video-game film directing. By that I mean the screen looks like a live action video game, with all that frantic swirling camerawork that drives me crazy (the number one reason I couldn't watch television's "NYPD Blue" is that it made me dizzy). I realize I'm referencing a few different styles here, but to me it all comes from that same adolescent ADD* need to be fast and hip and isn't a truly sophisticated style. "300" is the latest version of this, combining Frank Miller's graphic novel with a computer generated slickness geared toward male teenagers blood lust.
"300" is the story of the battle of Thermopylae between the Spartans and the Persians, fought roughly about 480 B.C. Basically it's the heroic three day stand of King Leonidas of Sparta (Gerard Butler) and his loyal 300 soldiers against at least half a million Persians led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his "Immortals". At the cliffs of Thermopylae (a.k.a. the "Hot Gates"), the Spartans hold off the advancing hordes, but are betrayed by Ephialtes, a disfigured Spartan who knows a secret path to get around the pass, thus enabling the Persians to flank and surround the desperate Spartans. Despite sure defeat, they fight gallantly and indeed crush many more Persians than seems strategically possible before being cut down by a rain of arrows. This battle is often used as an example of extreme valiance in the face of insurmountable odds.
It's a great story, but I'm not into this retelling. Profound characterization can be lost when filmmakers get too graphic (as in computer graphics - I can take graphic violence like the best of them) . I left adolescence long ago but I do understand the appeal - the poster is very exciting, but the movie itself is pretty soulless. Not really my look either. The characters are fairly one-dimensional, especially the evil Persians with all their sexy eye liner countering the straight and true manliness of the Spartans. Please - it's a video game. I'd rather read a book. I love "The Matrix" (or at least the first one). Yes, it's a totally different style. But pure flashiness does not a movie make. At least it's not a Michael Bay movie. Points for that.
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Zack Snyder (Screenplay)
Kurt Johnstad (Screenplay)
Frank Miller (Graphic Novel)
Gerard Butler as King Leonidas: King of Sparta
Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo: Leonidas' wife
David Wenham as Dilios: Narrator and Spartan soldier
Dominic West as Theron: A corrupt Spartan politician
Michael Fassbender as Stelios: Young and spirited Spartan soldier
Vincent Regan as Captain Artemis: Leonidas' loyal captain and friend
Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes: King of Persia
Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes: Deformed Spartan outcast
Andrew Pleavin as Daxos: Arcadian soldier
Tom Wisdom as Astinos: Captain Artemis' eldest son
Giovani Cimmino as Pleistarchos: Leonidas' son
Stephen McHattie as The Loyalist: A loyal Spartan politician
Peter Mensah as Persian messenger
Kelly Craig as Oracle girl
Tyler Neitzel as Young Leonidas
Robert Maillet as Über Immortal (Giant)
*ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder): a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity or both, usually in younger individuals.
300 (Two-Disc Special Edition)
On Sparta (Penguin Classics)
300 - Film