600 bare thighs
Starting off, I want to issue a warning to the readers out there who aren’t fans of scantily clad, bronzed, chiseled goliaths who seem to have leapt from the pages of Men’s Fitness Magazine. If you aren’t, much like this reviewer, you may not enjoy the true essence of the two-hour epic which is 300.
600 bare thighs aside, I wasn’t a huge fan of Zack Snyder’s interpretation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel. I place most of the blame not on Snyder, but on Robert Rodriguez. Their promotion play was established by showing off the “graphic novel” style of filmmaking, which is essentially comparing the comic book pages to the frames of the film, fast-cut, music video-style editing, heavy rock soundtrack, and shooting the majority of the film in front of a green screen. Now I’d hope the majority of you realize at this point that the style I just read off was identical to the style that Robert Rodriguez practically invented for 2005’s Sin City.
Now in playing devil’s advocate, I could say that the reasoning behind the similar styles lies with the fact that they are both done in Miller’s vision, and his artistic didn’t change much between the two graphic novels, and you could be asking at that point “Why should the film style change between the two films?” I’ll tell you why, dear readers. If this film was done with Rodriguez behind the helm once again, or even with his “Troublemaker Studios” at hand (which is where the majority of the green-screen activity was shot) it would have been far more acceptable.
Instead, the film was shot with a completely different studio under a different company, Warner Bros. Those of you expecting a point to this rant, here it is: instead of coming up with a new look for an already visually mapped out epic about the Spartan army, why go to such an extent, which includes a budget of more than $60 million (Sin City’s budget was $40) to replicate the exact same style? Instead of this being a potentially massive Warner Bros. summer epic, the film is just Sin City with a Greek spin.
Following the formula that my 4th grade English teacher taught me, I’m going to follow up a negative note with a positive one. I truly bought Gerard Butler as an insane Greek warlord with a heart of gold. Prior to this film, my only exposure to Butler was his role as the titular character in the regrettably unforgettable Phantom of the Opera, so one could understand why I was skeptical of seeing him lead an army of equally insane killer Spartans. That understanding, combined with having to erase Russel Crowe’s role in Gladiator from my memory before entering the theater, I was left pleasantly surprised.
Other than Butler, the only non-robotic-and-incredibly-predictable-performance award would go to the CGI wolf in the first 20 minutes of the film. I had to have rolled my eyes about a dozen times in reference to the cookie-cutter roles ranging from the strong female wife to the sinister follower-turned-traitor, even to the pathetic Boo Radley-esque character, each role was as stereotypical as the next.
Finishing up with my final gripe on the film, which will more than likely land my picture in the center of a lot of fanboys’ dartboards, is the inconsistency of the score used in the film. I am a HUGE fan of both original score and music in film in general, and I knew this would be a problem when I caught the trailer six months ago. Something about using a heavy metal guitar over an Ancient Greek battle just doesn’t seem to fit. I understand using the heavy metal guitar gets the 18-to-35 males pumped and ready for two hours of sweaty, half-naked gladiators, but to me, it’s just as normal to use a heavy metal guitar in this scene as it would to use a song by Kelly Clarkson.
All in all, aside from those seemingly insignificant complaints about the film, I have no other complaints. Seeing as how this is my first review for ComicMix, I have yet to come up with a critiquing scale, but we can tentatively call it the “Raubometer.” And on the Raubometer, I give 300 6 out of 10 stars. Or thumbs. Or whatever you’ve got.
Matt Raub is a 18-to-35 male who is a professional filmmaker as well as a trained comedian and wrestler.