Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City), 300 is the violent tale of the ancient Greek Battle of Thermopylae. The scene is set in 480 BC, when King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) leads his army of 300 Spartans to defend his country against the massive Persian army controlled by its self-proclaimed god, Xerxes. Blocking the only road through which Xerxes and his colossal army can pass to reach Sparta, Leonidas and his army hold off the Persians under insurmountable odds.
But history buffs be warned, this film is not for you. The trailer and the movie posterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unabashed depiction of splattered blood and chiseled flesh should be your first clue. The second comes during the first 10 minutes when you learn that all Spartan males are trained from birth to be ferocious killers in war, and that the greatest honor is to die in battle. 300 presents a highly stylized testosterone-fueled fantasy world. True to MillerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s vision and style, 300 is a blend of live action against virtual backgrounds bathed in a mix of dark sepia and muted color tones, maintaining a look and feel that always stays close to its graphic novel roots. And although the filmÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s plot is thin on historical background, 300 is nothing short of a visual and audible feast for the senses. From the blended orchestral and heavy metal score, to the army of muscle bound heavies wielding spears and swords, to the sudden slow motion segments during the many battle sequences, director Zack Snyder focuses enormous attention on the visual nuance and detail of MillerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¼ber-violent world.
The battle scenes are gruesome and yet for all its gore, 300 manages, albeit barely, to avoid the pointlessness often associated with gratuitous violence. Butler is convincing as the family man King who loves his wife and lives by a strict code of honor. But his performance is almost overshadowed by his captain (Vincent Regan), and his wife, Queen Gorgo (Lena Heady). The film is laced with themes of honor, glory and love. And although the dialogue can be clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© and over-the-top at times, it somehow manages to work without being campy. And for all its carnage, 300ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s violence occasionally borders on farcical, giving way to humor while simultaneously feeling reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino film. Overall, 300 is not for the faint, but do not be dismayedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â300 is definitely worth the risk.