300

"Spartans, prepare for glory!"

300 is a movie that has caused a large degree of division in the film-going community. It is certainly responsible for advancing the careers of several of its stars and promoting a certain style of movie-making, but others do see the film as a bit outrageous and historical inaccurate. The movie, like so many set in the era, takes more cues from the modern day than it does ancient Greece but still manages to tell a tale that is remarkably similar to those found in the time period.

300 is an adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel, as well as a loose adaptation of the story of the three hundred Spartans at Thermopylae. The bulk of the story follows the Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) as he leads a small force of men against the vastly larger Persian Army. The story also follows the political machinations that led the king to bring such a small force, including stories of betrayal and corruption within the Spartan government. The story also follows Leonidas's wife, Gorgo (Lena Headey), as she attempts to drum up support for the vastly outnumbered Spartans and find a way to save her husband's life.

Any student of history already knows how the story ends, but that does not mean that the film is not entertaining. The action sequences use a slow motion approach that has become the director's signature, and the film is presented in an over-the-top manner that is hard to match in current films. It hearkens back to the sword-and-sandal movies of the fifties and sixties while still presenting very new material. The acting in the film, though often criticized for being over the top, is actually quite appropriate for the movie, and Butler and Headey turn in wonderful performances as the rulers of the soon-to-be besieged Sparta.

300 is not a movie for everyone, but it is a great film for fans of over-the-top action and drama. It is far closer to the historical source material than some might claim, though it is also a film that very much indulges in fantasy when it feels like doing so. In the end, it is a good film that can be enjoyable for those watching with the right attitude. Though perhaps known more for how outrageous it turned out to be than the quality of the movie, there is no denying that there is something special about 300.

R
| 2006 | 1 hr 57 min | 7.7/10
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