The Gory Glory

This is Spartaaaaaa! You don’t ever threaten its King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) to back down! Just look at what happened to the arrogant Persian ruler Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro)! He thought he’s powerful enough because he has a vast army behind him! He grossly underestimated King Leonidas and his strong army of 300! These Spartans are ripped and can decimate unimaginable numbers of fighters! Prepare for some gory glory!

I just came from an extensive abs workout, so yeah, I’m so pumped and ready to attack this movie review. Watch me. Just watch me slaughter this mother out. I’m inspired by the Spartan army portrayed in “300.” Obviously, Sparta had the best personal trainers in the world. The Spartan army is the buffest group of men I have seen on screen. This is such a manly movie that I might need to watch 300 chick flicks after this. Okay, maybe not!

Jack Snyder’s “300” is one of the most entertaining “guy” movies to come out recently. A guilty pleasure, for sure. I know we have a lot of action movies, but you can practically lump them together. I think I have seen more than enough shootouts, explosions, car chases, and excessive running that sometimes I yawn through them. “300” stands out better because it offers something more different and primitive. This is a movie that worships men’s physical prowess, with only shields, swords, helmets, and spears at their disposal. The display of manual labor makes the act of simply pulling a trigger pretty wimpy, no? I’d estimate that 80% of the movie is pure action. It never got boring seeing thousands of men failing at the hands of the few but mighty Spartans. It’s good stuff.

While the movie is heavy on violence, I also dig that “300” is light on everything else, ranging from storylines to character developments. I don’t think aspiring for complexity would have fared well. It would have made the movie look pretentious. Just look at the latest installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which almost sank in its own convoluted story. The strategy of “300” matches that of King Leonidas’: keep problems small and manageable while playing to your strengths. The film’s undeniable forte is its graphic-novel look. It’s pretty darn amazing. The violence is quite unrealistic but they’re so visually impressive. Observe that bloods are spurting everywhere and yet no pools of blood ever accumulate on the ground.

While my expectations are met, I just wish “300” had pushed more for originality. I like the bits of rock music in the soundtrack, but overall, “300” somewhat passes as “Gladiator” shot in “Sin City” cinematography. Arguably, both latter films have heavier artistic merits than Snyder’s visual feast, but “300” can surpass both in testosterone entertainment. Come on, the movie invites you into a fraternal desire to simply kick a lot of ass. To arrogantly deny it is to be an ass.

Grade: A-

Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, and Andrew Pleavin
Based on the graphic novel by
Frank Miller
Lynn Varley
Screenplay by
Zack Snyder
Kurt Johnstad
Michael Gordon
Directed by
Zack Snyder
Rated R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity