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Monday, March 12, 2007

Movie Watch: 300

300 is a beautiful array of images and ideas strung together by a tight narrative. Comparisons to Sin City are unavoidable although honestly ... should be avoided. True that both movies take Frank Miller's genius of graphic novels as their source and true that they both take art direction from the comics - but 300 also has a foot in the old movie that gave Frank Miller some inspiration, 1962's The 300 Spartans. It recaptures a bit of the awe that classic movies once earned by having hundreds of extras, rolling battle scenes and lots and lots of violence.

Lots of violence. 300 is an extremely violent film. It packs battle scenes together the way most people would make a sandwich. At the same time though - it's very artistic in the display. Hard to describe - but this isn't a gorefest with shiny shields ... here the film learns from the pages of a comics and doesn't drip the entire frame in blood but maintains the figures and characters which are telling the story. Even if they are being dismembered at the moment.

Highly recommend.



Michael said...

300 is getting more good press than it deserves. I just did a review of 300 over at Highbrid Nation if you care to read it. In the end it was just another movie that did not live up to the hype to me. Can we say "poor man's Gladiator"? Most people will likely disagree with me though, lol

Josh said...

I wouldn't say "poor man's" - 300 feels more stylized, artistic and far less Hollywood than Gladiator. Gladiator may have used special effects to fill in for extras - 300 uses them to really paint a scene.

So yeah, I'd say I disagree :)

Brinstar said...

Argh. If only I wasn't on a self-imposed break from going to the cinema. :-( I'd been looking forward to this film for at least a year, but I need to tighten my belt because of the move. I'll see if I can fit Netflix into my budget in a few months, so I can at least catch it late. :-)

Josh said...

Well not to tempt or tease, but when you get the chance I'd highly recommend seeing in at least high def - it's a seriously pretty flick.

Troy said...

I found it OK, but not great. Like many so-called historical epics (even ones based on comic books) it takes itself far too seriously and is obsessed with its own epicness, making the whole thing a little ridiculous.

It is a beautiful and stylish movie, with some unforgettable shots. My eyes never left the screen because there always something amazing to see. This is the closest film has ever come to capturing the video game aesthetic and comic look in one shot.

But in the end, it comes down to slow motion battle ballets that never end, a domestic politics drama that wasn't even in the original novel (weakening the entire production)and dialogue that could have come from Braveheart.

It's goofy fun with guys in speedos yelling at each other. Not best picture material - not even close. But its not a poor man's anything. (Mind you, I did not like Gladiator at all.)

Josh said...

Well, I'd say it's not best pic material ... although conversely I probably enjoyed it more than some best pic nominees in recent years past.

Can we say top of the tier blockbuster maybe? I don't think Spidey 3 will be best pic material either, but I imagine 300 will more than stand it's ground there.

Troy said...

I'd argue that Spiderman 2 could have been a best picture nominee in the 50s, when the studios ran everything.

As far as blockbuster material, it really did have a summer feel to it, didn't it? I wasn't surprised by the big opening weekend, either, since it does have that Big Movie sensibility you usually don't get till July.

I enjoyed it, mostly because I don't go out to the movies much. But I walked away feeling a bit goofy about it; like it was more a guilty pleasure MST3K style than a really coherent movie.

This all sounds more critical than I mean it to be. It is not nearly as bad as its loudest detractors claim. It's a visual feast, and the editing alone should thrill film nerds.