300 is so titled for the 300 Spartans that their king, Leonidas, took with him to defend his nation against the horde of the Persian god king, Xerxes.
300?! Against millions? Madness! Well, it turns out even the king is not above Spartan law, and the law forbids any battle without their oracle's blessing, which sadly, was not given. So Leonidas, unwilling to let his people be overrun without doing anything, tells the council he'll go for a stroll, along with 300 of the finest warriors of Sparta. As bodyguard. Maybe some really big monkeys in the wilds he's afraid of.
300 is like a speck of dust against the Persians' sweeping army, but Leonidas has picked his battleground well: Hell's mouth, a narrow path in the mountains along the shore where Xerxes will land, a funnel in which the enemy's numbers will mean nothing.
I'm tempted to go on but if you haven't seen the movie, I think that had been a sufficient intro. Now after having watched it from the glare of my monitor at home, my only complaint is that I wasn't able to experience it on the big screen. But bloody hell's mouth, it was great.
The cinematography is awesome. Every scene is gorgeously laden with details and painted like a well, painting. I'm guessing Frank Miller's art should be credited with how everything looked and coalesced to form into the incredible visual panorama. While the Lord of the Rings trilogy did better at depicting it's epic scale of two massive armies joined in battle, nothing will match the flair, style, grace and drama of 300's battle scenes. You will feel every thrust and swing of their weapons, and would probably try to wipe your face with all the blood that spurts and splatters from all the thrusts and swings. The Spartans were fighting with such fluidity and discipline, and their lean hard-packed bodies strain with energy and power with every move. The ambiance is dark and gloomy, carefully inflecting the impending doom of Sparta but still subtly brilliant with the unwavering hope in Leonidas' eyes. Dark and gloomy is trademark Miller btw.
I can't make comments on sound, as though my headphones are ok, they can't do justice to the movie's sfx as only a Dolby-surround sound system theater can do. I've one raised eyebrow at Xerxes' voice though. Also sometimes the very loud roars, like the elephants and the captain's wail, are muted and instead taken over by the narration. While ok, it does cut the drama a bit.
The dialogue and story and narration are very much Frank Miller, and I like. On hindsight, the story resembles that of Braveheart. William Wallace and Leonidas both fought for their country's freedom, one to take it, the other to keep it, but they were beset not only by a seemingly invincible foe, but also by their own politicians. Says a lot about the idea of government, really. And then, both also died before they were victorious, ultimately being the sacrificial spark to ignite their countrymen's determination to win. Whoa! Huge spoiler! Did I just say that.. hehe, I hope you haven't seen the movie yet, but if you did, ain't I such a nice guy to thank you having read this far in this post by ruining it for you? Heh.
The casting was excellent. Butler portrayed the very image of what a strong soldier-leader of a soldier nation should be. His wife, whose name I haven't researched yet but which I will later because she's really beautiful, was radiant with beauty, grace and strength. I recognized a few faces, Faramir from LotR, Achilles' captain from Troy now as Leonidas' captain, and the traitorous councillor who always looks sleazy in any role. Xerxes looks like the pharaoh in The Ten Commandments.
This is one of the big movies of 2007 and you shouldn't miss it, if you are also into this sort of thing. Now we wait for the mass-appeal movies like Spiderman 3 and The Simpsons. Ho-hum.
I've meant to post about Frank Miller's Sin City even before I thought of watching this, but I've only now found the mood to write. I loved both the comics and the movie and I'll put something up this week. Then I'm gonna look for the 300 graphic novel and see how they match up.
If you're a Miller fan and know of other great works he's done be sure to share it! ^_^