Movie Review: 300

Thank you again, Mr.Miller
300 is based largely one of Frank Miller's favourite childhood films, Rudolph Maté's 300 Spartans (1962). It explores King Leonidas perspective of the Battle of Thermopylae, a battle in which a small band of Spartan warriors led by King Leonidas I defend their sovereignty from annihilation at the hands of Persian ruler, Xerxes and his army which historically boasted approximately 170,000 soldiers. Historically, the battle lasted three days until all 300 of the Spartan warriors had been slain when a Greek sheep farmer, Ephialtes, betrayed his homeland by leading the Persian army to a position that outflanked Leonidas unrelenting troops. This betrayal and the demise of Leonidas led to the unification of Greece and the origin of the first Democratic society.
First, it was Sin City. Now, for a second time, one of Frank Miller’s works, the Eisner Award winning mini-series 300 from Dark Horse Comics, has become a box office sensation. Directed by Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) and starring Gerard Butler (Reign of Fire, Timeline), Lena Headley (Brothers Grimm), and Dominic West (Hannibal Rising), 300 reaches beyond the scale of modern cinema's most recent array of epics like Gladiator and Alexander and crushes them with it’s deceptively simplistic stylization and powerfully delivered performances with a precision matched only by the Spartan's tenacity on the battlefield.
The performances in this movie are the true heart of this epic. Gerard Butler's Leonidas defines the tragic Greek hero as he triumphantly accepts his pyrrhic victory over Xerxes. Corrupt politico, Theron gains an audience's disgust with seedy sneers as Persian gold jingles in his pockets. The true heart and soul of the movie resides with the rest of the selected soldiers close to Leonidas - specifically Vincent Regan (Troy) who plays Leonidas' Captain and David Wenham (Lord of the Rings) who plays Dilios; these two men deliver riveting, emotional performances that define the passionate demeanor of this warrior culture from the history of the world.

The film rings true to the mythic story. Leonidas is torn between time-honored tradition and his duty to Spartan precepts as the oncoming armies of Persia approach Greece's borders during an important solstice festival. Defying the decrees of the Ephors, mystics who are 'worshippers of the old Gods' , Leonidas decides to slyly lead a small elite cadre of 300 of Spartan's finest warriors to defend Greece's borders. Bound by the ritualistic dogma of his warrior code, the King of Sparta rejects numerous seductive attempts by Xerxes to surrender his people's freedom to the Persian Empire. Ultimately, tragedy befalls the spurious warrior-king and his men as they eventually fall to the superior numbers of the Persians.

The battle scenes are by far some of the most exciting and visceral fight scenes in the history of cinema - each raw encounter becoming increasingly more intricate as the Persians elaborate network of foreign soldiers and beasts from all corners of their vast empire attempt to topple the Spartans. From the Immortals to the pre-dated rhinoceros-styled horned beasts, nothing could defeat the Spartans. Each enemy seemed more horrific and garish than the next especially the strange, diseased looking Immortals whose faces should send chills up moviegoer's spines.

Scenically, proper credit should be given to Director of Photography, Larry Fong, who provides some of the most sumptuous moments of the film. He almost provides a viewer a place to stand in ancient Greece in the midst of one of history's most lopsided and heart wrenching battles. Director Zack Snyder, who also provided the script adaptation of Frank Miller's awarding winning comic book mini-series, captures the fanatical camaraderie and absolute nationalist fanaticism of the Spartans; most notably, in an early scene in which Queen Gorgo stands her ground at a hissing Persian messenger letting him know that, "Spartan women give birth to the only real men, Spartan men" and later when she stabs a deceptive Theron in front of an assemblage of Sparta's politicians.

In short, 300 takes the cinematic epic of yesteryear and reinvents it with stylistic vigor and a visceral grace that is rarely found in most modern historical period pieces such as this. This movie, with its well structured thematic elements combined with an amazingly talented cast of actors, transcends its comic book origins and transforms into easily the BEST FILM of 2007 thus far. Miller's work on 300 provides another a shining example that comic books aren't just about capes and tights; they are about humanity and socially relevant themes such as nationalism, self-sacrifice, oppression and the right to pursue freedom, no matter the cost. For those who havrn't already see it, take some time out to go see 300, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better to watch.

p/s: Well, now obviously Zack Snyder already got my approval and blessings for 'WATCHMEN' (confirm Alan Moore akan menyumpah-seranah lagi) and can't wait for Frank Miller's next flick, 'RONIN'.

Ulasan

areyoung berkata…
Aku nak tengok! (lepas Mokhsin)
thesandman berkata…
kau tengok mana-mana dulu pun tak kisah sebab dua-dua pun best...

cumanya aku harap kau kuat semangat lah bila berhadapan dengan '300'. It's one level up than Sin City(for me personally).
gayour berkata…
ah! karut semua tu!
gayour berkata…
ah! karut semua tu!
gayour berkata…
ah! karut semua tu!
thesandman berkata…
ni apakenenye ni...?

DVD dokumentari Superman aku tu mana ha?!
gayour berkata…
superman tu lagi karut! nyesal gua tengok!