In the year 480 B.C. a fearless king and his troops held off the enormous Persian army and cemented themselves into world history. Over the past two weekends, a stylized and imaginative retelling of their story has conquered the box office, making a relatively cheap $65 million film into a $130 million dollar blockbuster.
The story begins with a quick look into how King Leonidas earned his throne and explains how Spartan soldiers became the best in the world. Once an adult, Leonidas is faced with a messenger of the great Xerxes of the Persian Empire, who declares for Sparta to surrender or face complete annihilation. With his queen by his side, Leonidas defies the messenger and decides to face the greatest army every assembled, since as most of us know by now; Spartans never surrender.
After the brave king has assembled his troops, the battle is fierce and unending. Xerxes sends thousands of troops to attack the Spartans and few other brave soldiers who decided to stand with them. There are several lines from the movie that are actually taken from different historical accounts of the battle such as: “Tonight we dine in hell!”
The movie is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller that shares the same name. The unknown director, Jack Snyder, painstakingly recreated the graphic novel frame by frame, mostly with the use of a blue screen, only the terrain and some city scenes were actually built. The studio who produced the film wanted a PG-13 rating, but Snyder stuck by his guns and got the R rating necessary to win the gold at the box office.
Many critics of this film claim it is nothing more than a video game played out over two hours. As someone who has seen “300” twice, I could not agree more. When I go to see an action movie I want exactly that and “300” pours it on by the gallon full. The blood flows and limbs fly in what is a step forward for the action genre. I do not believe that an all CGI world is always a good thing [see Star Wars 1-3] but I have a feeling that “300” will allow for more freedom and creativity to be seen in all varieties of film.
“300” is the first blockbuster of the year and deservedly so. If you have not seen this film then it is your loss because you will be the one who is lost when all your drunken friends decide to yell, “This is Sparta!”