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Mar 12, 2007

Fletch's Film Review: 300

As much as I wanted to, I didn't like Sin City. For all its beauty, originality, and creativity, something about it didn't click with me. In fact, I fell asleep in the theater, strange as that may seem. Whether that was due to the quality of the film or if I was just tired, I'll never know. A second-chance viewing is long overdue, but until then, it remains a disappointment in my mind.

Another recent letdown was Troy, the 2004 swords-and-sandals flick starring Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. As good as some parts were (the Achilles-Hector showdown, the first five minutes, the launch of the "1000 ships"), the film was tedious. At 2 hours and 43 minutes, it was overly long, with needless battle sequences and slow pacing. It bored its audience to the point of apathy.

300 shares elements with both of those films. Like Sin City, it is based on a Frank Miller graphic novel (in case you've been living under a rock), and like Troy, it's a story about a Greek battle from long ago (it also shares a costar, Vincent Regan, who played the right-hand man to both the respective stars of both films, Pitt and Gerard Butler). However, the element that it does not share is that 300 succeeds in all the ways they failed.

It looks and feels like a comic book (and I mean that in a good way). It indulges in all the vices that it should, while giving just enough elements of humanity and emotion to not come off as cartoonish. At 117 minutes, it is by no means short, but never once feels long. It's not bloated. It has a simple story, and tells it effectively. And the visuals...oh yes, the visuals. They are worth the price of the ticket alone.

Go see this movie now.

Since I have nothing else compelling to share, here are some random points:

* Xerxes (pictured at right) is not only a fascinating character, but he's played by Rodrigo Santoro. Who's that (you might ask, unless you're Brazilian)? Why, he's "Pablo," the random new guy on Lost. Unrecognizable, to say the least.

* I can't wait to see the reaction from some of the more conservative folks out there ("Family" groups, etc.) - 300 contains biblical amounts of violence, some sexual content, and even some somewhat shocking scenes involving children.

* Not to pick on Troy too much, but with a reported $60 million budget (compared to $175 million for Troy), 300 appears to be the value of the century for its producers. That's a shockingly low budget for a movie that probably contains some CGI in every scene.

* Though he's been around for a few years (Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, The Phantom of the Opera), consider 300 a star-making turn for Gerard Butler. With some assistance from the script, he commands the screen at all times.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"You're the best...around!"

1 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: 300"

WampaOne said...

Nice review Fletch. Looking forward to that one.