Saturday, March 17, 2007

Movies: 300

I enjoyed Zack Snyder's re-imagining of "Dawn of the Dead" more than I thought I would, so I was looking forward to "300." "300" ostensibly portrays the Battle of Thermopylae, but a glance at any of the previews would tell you what you're in for - a stylized, operatic action movie. And while the original comic book wasn't one of Miller's strongest works in terms of characterization (that award, for me, goes to "The Dark Knight Returns"), the visually striking panels and spare storyline seemed a perfect fit for the big screen.

Something went wrong in the adaptation, though. The battle scenes, instead of being breathtaking, feel lifeless, the MTV-ish slowmo-fastforward routine sucking the energy out of them. The acting is sometimes competent (Lena Headey in particular gets some good material), but it's not long before Leonidas' hoarse, over-the-top delivery becomes more comedic than inspiring. As a final nail in the coffin (or, in this case, arrow in the Spartan), the CGI in some of the most graphically violent scenes becomes noticeably fake and distracting.

A final note - some commentators have complained the film is somehow pro-Iraq War propaganda, or even racist. Some have even compared this movie's methods of making a political message to "The Eternal Jew." This is ridiculous for reasons outlined on many other blogs, but even if it were true, so what? Nobody claims movies like Fahrenheit 9/11 aren't designed to influence people; why should "300" be criticized just for being faintly political?

Rating: 6/10


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