Sin City author Frank Miller's sweeping take on the historic Battle of Thermopylae comes to the screen courtesy of Dawn of the Dead director Zack Snyder. Gerard Butler stars as Spartan King Leonidas and Lena Headey plays Queen Gorgo. The massive army of the Persian Empire is sweeping across the globe, crushing every force that dares stand in its path. When a Persian envoy arrives in Sparta offering King Leonidas power over all of Greece if he will only bow to the will of the all powerful Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), the strong-willed leader assembles a small army comprised of his empire's best fighters and marches off to battle. Though they have virtually no hope of defeating Xerxes' intimidating battalion, Leonidas' men soldier on, intent on letting it be known they will bow to no man but their king. Meanwhile, back in Sparta, the loyal Queen Gorgo attempts to convince both the skeptical council and the devious Theron (Dominic West) to send more troops despite the fact that many view Leonidas' unsanctioned war march as a serious transgression. As Xerxes' fearsome "immortals" draw near, a few noble Greeks vow to assist the Spartans on the battlefield. When King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan warriors fell to the overwhelming Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae, the fearless actions of the noble fighters inspired all of Greece to stand up against their Persian enemy and wage the battle that would ultimately give birth to the modern concept of democracy. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Frank Miller's vision realized in film (in High Definition)
300 Spartans - Fact or Fiction?
Who were the Spartans?
The world of swords and sandals is pumped up to the extreme with 300, a testosterone-tinged tale that's been operatically translated from the page to the screen for the action-hungry masses by director Zack Snyder. Adapting Frank Miller's comic series must not have been easy. First and foremost, the books were pure eye candy. Printed in full horizontal splash pages brought to breathtaking life by Lynn Varley's brush strokes, each issue demanded your eye-time first, then paid it off with Miller's typical tough prose later. That same dialogue figures prominently in the film -- in fact, much of the screen and page line up wondrously, even if the film does include its share of deviations. The extra bits of action are welcomed -- armored rhinos are a nice touch, as is the giant chained Persian that's unleashed on the Spartans. However, the added subplot involving the queen has raised a few eyebrows, if only because of the questionable pro-right-wing politics it contains. Snyder himself has shrugged off much of this criticism, although even he cannot deny that this is one of the lone Hollywood products of its time to align itself to such a troubled administration.
Some moviegoers might also feel a bit uninvolved in the action simply because the tale is as direct as it is. With little context for most of the characters, the whole thing runs the chance of simply being a song-and-dance number made up of quick-to-slow shots of steel, blood, and open-throated yelling. But really, there's not much wrong with that, just as long as that's something the ticket holders are craving. Stodgy critics have compared it to video-game filmmaking, but it's far better to view it as a stylish exercise in how to bring Miller's work to the big screen in a way that's never been seen before -- just as Robert Rodriguez did with Sin City. In that way, Snyder has achieved what he set out to do. Now it's time for him to apply the skills learned here on something that will ignite the same kind of fire in audiences that Leonidas instilled in his troops. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi
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