Saturday, December 06, 2008

300 (2006): Netflixin 12/6/08

  • Why I rented it: I remember studying the Peloponnesian War in the 9th grade. A bittersweet unit as Athens was always my favorite -- the brains to Sparta's brawn. But before that was Thermopylae. So, how's about an enjoyable sword-and-sandals epic that as a bonus helps us review the history of Ancient Greece? Yes?

  • Verdict: 3/10. There's a point near the beginning of the DVD commentary that is very telling about this movie. One of the film's creators tells how they came up with the titles score, one of those emotive Enya-sounding vocal mood pieces that I first remember from Braveheart but now seems to be the ubiquitous accompaniment to every slow-mo serious scene in every movie made since. He confirms something I've always assumed...those exotic lyrics are nothing more than nonsense, chosen simply for the way they sound. Kind of like this movie.

    Sure, it looks great. It's based on a graphic novel (that's sophisticate for "comic book") and it shows. Style in loads. But gratuitously slow splattering blood gobs, severed body parts, and a bazillion shots of spears going through torsos can only carry a movie so far. After a while, the video-game fight scenes get tedious. And there's nothing to fall back on...the Spartans are supposed to be fighting for their glorious nation, but the audience is expected to accept this a priori. No background, character development, or dialogue to help you along. Just epic theatre accents grunting and growling hollow phrases as interludes between killing sessions.

    As for getting some history with my entertainment, I find it a bit odd that an Iron Maiden song is more historically accurate than an almost two-hour-long movie.

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