Movie News

FRANK MILLER'S 300 screened tonight! And...

Published at: Aug. 18, 2006, 2:04 a.m. CST by staff

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. There was a test screening this night of Zack Snyder's film version of Frank Miller's graphic novel 300. I told ya' the Comic-Con footage was out of this world awesome and now you'll have two guys... one a big Frank Miller fan and the other someone just familiar with SIN CITY... tell you how awesome the movie is. And they do say it's awesome. Mark my words, squirts. 300 will be the beginning of next year's geekasms, hopefully running all they way through SPIDER-MAN 3. Enjoy the reviews. If you want to keep pure you should be warned of spoilers below!!!

Guys...HOLY SHIT...I saw this movie tonight and I am still in heaven...hope you can use this...call me Actionman! Thanks for all the great stuff!

So where to begin. Tonight, I had my face blown off in a movie theater. When the lights came up, I had to look on the floor to find my face and then put it back on. What movie could have done this you ask....Zach Snyder’s masterpiece 300, based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Let me set the scene quickly...never before have I seen security at a test screening this high. 4 separate groups of screener peeps came over and asked a variety of questions, really trying to weed out the industry types. It was made clear while we were waiting: NO cameras in the theater. nothing...no exceptions. metal detectors. bag searches. After getting a perfect seat, the emcee got up and made the point that we were the first audience ever to see the movie, anywhere. Big round of applause. The usual followed...this movie is not complete, the score is temp (notied a lot of Thin Red Line and Black Hawk Down cues), some of the effects aren’t done, etc. Then, the movie....

Simply put, it fucking pains me that I have to wait until March of 2007 to experience this complete triumph of art and commerce again. Because that’s what this is. This is a tight, spare, slightly less than 2 hour piece of ART. EVERY SINGLE FRAME OF FILM IN 300 IS GLORIOUS TO LOOK AT. IT’s like a painting you would see at a museum, except, it has come to life. It’s smolderingly gorgeous. Suffocatingly sexy to behold at times. It is, after first viewing, one of the coolest movies I have ever laid my eyes on. All I can think about is how much BETTER the movie will be when they are done with all of the effects and laying in the score...I mean this is a 5 time in a theater kind of flick. But what’s it about....?

Most reading this will know but 300 is the story of the Spartan army, lead by their king Leonidas (Gerard Butler), who goes to war against Xerxes, the ruthless Persian king. What raises the stakes is the head count...300 Spartans VS. 1,000,000 Persians. So, basically, it’s a test of balls...of manliness...of not backing down and kicking everyone’s ass who is in your way. And then pushing their bodies over a cliff. There are some subplots as well, but the thrust of the movie follows Leonidas and his brave soldiers as they absolutely kick ungodly amounts of ass. The action in this movie is simply astonishing...YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS TYPE OF ACTION BEFORE IN A MOVIE.

Let me also say this...I am new to the Frank Miller universe. I was familiar with the Sin City books and the 300 book, but wasn’t an invested fan, like so many people are. I loved every second of Sin City the movie, so when I heard that Snyder--who I thought did a fucking awesome job with his first movie, the Dawn of the Dead remake--was making an all CGI-background ancient battle epic, I immediately became interested. But when I saw that much-buzzed about 5 minute clip they showed at Comicon, I was sold. And tonight, I got a movie that blew away my very high expectations.

The action scenes in 300 are going to amaze people. Intensely violent, EXTREMELY stylized, epic yet intimate, they are some of the most stunning sequences of action I have seen in years. The Scott Brothersyou’re gonna love this. Tarantino and Rodriguez--bring a change of shorts to the theater. McG--take some fucking notes. I’m really trying to hold back on the spoilers, as I want people to have as much fun with this flick as I did. But needless to say, there is a liberal amount of decapitations (some in such detail that I doubt the MPAA will allow it all), a serious amount of limbs are hacked off---this is gritty, violent, dark shit. And done all so beautifully, that 300 transcends this genre and becomes something else...a revolutionary piece of filmmaking. My only complaint at the moment (and I still need to sleep on the film, I literally got out an hour ago) is that I wished it was longer. Not that anything felt slighted or incomplete, but that I was just in movie heaven and I didn’t want it to end. The awesome opening did feel a bit rushed maybe, but that's a minor quibble. The stuff with a young Leonidas taking on a vicious wolf at night in the snow is sensational.

The acting is awesome across the board, with Gerard Butler giving his breakthrough performance. This guy has been working hard the past few years (and did a damn fine take on playing the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera) and this is his Russell Crowe-Gladiator grab-it-by-the-balls-and-run-with-it performance. David Wenham plays his friend and fellow soldier Dilios, and narrates the story in poetic and ironic voiceover that adds another exciting dimension to the story. Xerxes is played with great relish by Rodrigo Santoro, who must’ve spent hours in the makeup/wardrobe chair. Lena Headey is Leonidas’s hot, happy to take her top off wife, who is smarter than she appears. Oh yes, there is AMPLE nudity and sex in 300, a quality missing in too many movies thesedays. All of the smaller parts are expertly pulled off by a cast of mostly unknowns and extras.

But the real star of the show is Zach Snyder, who just nails the look of Miller’s book and creates something all his own. There is one sequence in particular I will talk aboutso people who don’t want to know anything about the movie, look away. Snyder does what must be a 2 or 3 minute shot where Leonidas kills about a dozen guys, all in one camera move, panning across the screen, similar to the hallway rampage in Oldboy. However, to heighten the scene, Snyder accelerates the action, the slows it down, and then makes it fast again. It’s FUCKING INCREDIBLE to watch. Limbs are flying, blood is sprayed everywhere, spears and swords and clanking against each other...but all done in such a way that it feels NEW and EXCITING, and just cool as all hell.

And on the way out, to cap it off, I saw Snyder talking with Mark Canton (one of the producers), and couldn’t help myself. I approached him and he was so cool. I told him how much I loved the movie, how it blew me away, and he was all smiles...I shook his hand and told him how it was gonna hurt to have to wait till March to see it again. He laughed and said: “Go home and get on the internet and let ‘em all know!” So here I am, letting you all know.

So that’s it, it’s late, I gotta eat something, and then get up for work in 6 hours. Tonight I saw something special in a movie theater. Something I will never forget. Movies like 300 are WHY I GO TO A THEATER. Ruthless, hard-core, overflowing with machismo, and simply a blast from start to finish, 300 will own all of your asses next year. Mark my words.

Actionman out.

Here's the second review, from the big Frank Miller fan. If we get any more reviews we'll post 'em after this one! Enjoy!!!

Hey Harry,

I just got back from the first test screening of Frank Miller's 300.

I was surprised today when a friend told me he had two passes so of course, I was immediately in. We arrived early where the suits asked us what we study in school or our profession...also told not to write to any movie sites.

Anyways, the WB logo popped up after a short intro where we were told that effects and music were still unfinished. Being a huge fan of Frank Miller's work I was cautiously optimistic. I have one word to say.

WOW.

WB logo comes up and we're introduced to the 300 logo with a bolt of lightning. We start out with the story of Leonidas as a boy. We come to present day where emissaries from the Persian king ride into Sparta to tell Leonidas and Sparta to surrender. This is the first time we see how beautiful the cinematography is. The shot of the horses coming over the hill to look down on Sparta is absolutely beautiful.

I don't want to spoil too much for those who haven't read the book or heard anything about it, but the biggest chunk of the film is absolute non stop action. Again, the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous and they really got the feel of graphic novel down. The dark clouds hovering in the sky with the sun poking through and glimmering off the ocean. Again, absolutely gorgeous.

As for the action...phenomenal. My biggest complaint with action scenes is how they're all edited like a music video these days to the point that you get disoriented and have no idea what's going on. The first minute or so of the first action sequence is like this and I started to get down a bit...and then bam! We see a long sequence of Leonidas taking out about 15 enemies in slow motion with the camera pulled back so you can actually see what's going on. One shot of him lopping off a Persian's leg got a loud gasp from the crowd for how great it actually looked. Also there were some cool shots of blood spurting towards the camera in slow motion. It worked really well.

This is where you could tell that some of the effects weren't finished. Not all of it looked perfect but it was good enough that it wasn't irritating. There will definitely be more work there. Sometimes you'd see a "glow" around an actor which still needs to be fixed.

The bad: I really don't have many complaints. The music was my only complaint but it was said before the show that this wasn't going to be the final music. Some parts had almost heavy metal-like music that I highly doubt will end up in the final picture. A couple of the action sequences, especially with the elephants look like they have work to be done as well. Also, some shots were just still frames for a few seconds. Not much to complain about since all of this will be fixed and finished by the time the film hits theaters.

The only part of the story I seemed not to like was with Leonidas' wife and the traitor senator. The queen approaches the council to send the whole army to help the 300 soldiers...but as a viewer, you don't feel for her because the 300 are whipping serious ass without the rest of the army so you have absolutely no reason to root for the rest of the army to show up. You end up just really not caring about the rest of the army...

Xeres was great...big and intimidating. He sees himself as a god and Leonidas at one point promises him he'll bleed. Well, one of the scenes that had the biggest impact on me was when Leonidas cuts the side of his mouth with a spear...the look of horror on Xeres' face is just fantastic...and you actually feel for him.

I know I'm rambling here because I just walked in the door and felt I had to write. I can't emphasize enough how great this film looked and the action scenes were the best I've seen in a real long time. Don't want to spoil too much but the scene with Leonidas fighting the giant ogre is extremely intense. This film really surpassed my expectations which were high for a book as great as 300. Go see it opening weekend.

If you use this, call me Dharma Bum

P.S. For all the pervs who are gonna ask "but are there boobs?"...the answer is "yes".



Readers Talkback

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  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:12 a.m. CST

    Thermopylae!

    by Down_In_Front

    It was the Battle of Thermopylae!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:15 a.m. CST

    "300 will be the beginning...

    by waylayer

    the beginning of next year's geekasms, hopefully running all they way through SPIDER-MAN 2." They're making a second Spider-Man?! Anyone have any idea of the plot? Will Raimi be back to direct? I hope they don't use Venom. *friendswithbenefits.com*

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:23 a.m. CST

    YAY! Boobs & Action

    by b3mike

    Doesn't get any better than that!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Next year's gonna be great for flicks

    by Thenedain

    Or at least it can't be much worse than this year. Anyway, a movie based off the Battle of Thermopylae is pretty much a sure bet to a be a fantastic movie. Very few historical battles can be said to have had the impact that Thermopylae did on the history of the world. Of course, it's based off Frank Miller's take on it, so one can't even begin to think it'd be historically accurate, but it'll definitely be action filled and bloody as fuck. Definitely one to look forward to.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:28 a.m. CST

    by Down_In_Front

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:28 a.m. CST

    by Down_In_Front

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:29 a.m. CST

    re: Gates of Fire

    by Thenedain

    To be honest, I truly believe Gates of Fire would have made the better movie. Though, I'm just happy to see a new movie about Thermopylae made!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:30 a.m. CST

    GATES OF FIRE!!!

    by Anino

    woohooooo!!! This is so going to kick all sorts of ass!!!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Re: Miller and All Star B&R

    by Thenedain

    Ugh... I had so much hope for that comic, but it's so obvious that Miller's just jerking off on my wallet now. That fucking 6 page Batcave spread proved that one to me. Damn, that was such a waste...

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Actionman is green and has no bone structure

    by Knugen

    Thought I had seen them all. Seriously why the need to be planting shit. AICN - come on - this shit is getting annoying.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:33 a.m. CST

    The Hot Gates sound HOT

    by Det. John Kimble

    So looking forward to this.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:33 a.m. CST

    yes, Gates of Fire

    by Anino

    Excellent book. Like Saving Private Ryan meets Gladiator, but better. I too would have loved to see THAT as a movie--but I will settle for 300. I would have loved to see the characters of Gates of Fire on screen--men that were fierce, larger than life--that die valiantly only to become immortal legends. If you haven't read it, go to a bookstore right away or get it on amazon.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:37 a.m. CST

    Thermopylae

    by Thenedain

    For those interested in learning more about the actual Battle of Thermopylae, check out this book which provides a pretty good accounting of what might have actually happened: http://tinyurl.com/jyboc

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:44 a.m. CST

    I am looking forward to this movie...

    by Mr Brownstone

    ... but those reviews give chlorophyl a bad name.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:53 a.m. CST

    A Film For Manly Men!

    by Hal2814

    Didja know the Spartan men were all queer?

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 3:03 a.m. CST

    300 is already rated R

    by Russkov

    Go to mpaa.org and search for 300. I guess they wanted a rating on content before putting all the special effects in.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 3:05 a.m. CST

    Hmmm

    by DonnieDorko

    Sounds almost as good as Blade2 from Harrys review of it... But still, got my hopes up high for this one..

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 4:31 a.m. CST

    Woo-hoo!!!

    by Cat_Corporation

    Sounds brilliant. Yeah, I think Gates of Fire will have been a better bet for Ancient History geeks like me, because 300 is fantasy - but I don't care. At least I get to see my Spartans wedged in the Hot Gates behind their lambda blazons, openin' that can of whup ass one last time. Now make Seven Against Thebes!!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 4:57 a.m. CST

    Plantcockulous...

    by Darth Fabulous

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 5:20 a.m. CST

    The Biggest Homo Erotic Epic Of All Time!!!

    by MetalWater

    The only thing this movie is missing is Lance Bass coming out of the closet...and Brian Singer directing all the bare chested, bare legged men in this movie to assist him!!! Finally Spartacus has been surpassed as the greatest homage to homosexuality in film history...well, that and Brokeback Mountain!!!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 5:20 a.m. CST

    HAZAAAA!!!

    by Rearden

    I believe every word of it! (... nobody better rain on my parade)

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Can't wait!

    by Rustycat

    I Plugged this article on http://www.theplugg.com go vote!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Looking forwar to a review from a cinema fan

    by CellarDoor

    Not a fan of comic books or someone that writes like a semi-literate teenager.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 5:57 a.m. CST

    I have mixed faith in snyder and Watchmen

    by messi

    I know if a Watchmen film gets done under him, visually it will be like the graphic novel. Just narrative wise not so sure. Either way I am glad this guy is willing to maybe release watchmen as two movies and to also even spend years developing it. 300 looks like it will kick serious amount of brutallity. Finally. Haven't seen a Dick flick in such a long time. Even if it involved sweaty bare chested men, but these men decapitate. so evens out.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 6:08 a.m. CST

    I was at the same screening..

    by Rindain

    As a cinema fan, I was amazed by this film. One of the biggest reasons I go to the movies is see something that I have never seen before, somehting that shatters the old boundaries of the film medium and establishes new ones that others will aspire to achieve...and believe me, this is as big if not bigger than The Matrix in terms of never-before-seen visuals. It was simply astonishing.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 7:37 a.m. CST

    "Tonight I Had My Face Blown Off..."

    by ZombieSolutions

    Anything else get "blown off" at this hardcore butchgay man-meat festival? Seriously, this movie is going to be a HUGE THROBBING HIT in the gay community. All marketing THRUSTS should be targeted specially to PENETRATE the Gay community. BIG BULGING posters should be SPREAD throughout Chelsea. (Of course, I'm sure there are plenty of "straight" guys who find themselves oddly fascinated by the Spartans as well; as they charge, naked and glistening with sweat in the hot Greek sun, thrusting and Thrusting and THRUSTING their hot hard swords into the flanks of their enemies screaming "Helloooo, Sailor!"

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 7:54 a.m. CST

    ZombieSolutions....

    by Buffalo500

    ....you're the type of person who gives homosexuals a bad name.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 7:59 a.m. CST

    But is this movie as good as Krull?

    by stlfilmwire

    Hmm? Hmm? Cyclops with a trident? I think not! ;)

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 8:11 a.m. CST

    Do You Prefer Nymphs Or Satyrs?

    by ZombieSolutions

    In Sparta, baby, its all good!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 8:23 a.m. CST

    First review is a plant.

    by Vi

    But the 2nd one seems spot on. Either way, I am looking forward to this big time.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Are There Boobs?

    by The Ender

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 8:35 a.m. CST

    I was there too - the film SUCKED

    by Hate_Speech

    Frank Miller is not as good as you think. He can't draw for shit.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Consider me excited.

    by tile_mcgillus

    Stuck close to source material: CHECK! Involved original creator: CHECK! Captured essence of book: CHECK! This movie should be amazing! BTW the new Batman & Robin Frank Miller is by far the worst of Miller's career. Seeing batman through Robin's eyes was the only good part. The Black Canary bar fight scene made me stop reading. Besides his writing works so much better with his art. Jim Lee is a god in my eyes but the comic is like oil and water. They just don't mix.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 9:57 a.m. CST

    first review is a Plant, second might be

    by chickychow

    c'mon Harry and co. weed out these obvious fakes... Get it. WEED Out, eh - Huh? Hey, shut the fuck up! Fuck you, I don't answer to you!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 10:05 a.m. CST

    I worked on it...

    by Bot-Bot

    ...and I can't wait to see the finished film. Mark my words - this film will have an impact on the whole action genre. It was a joy to work on and it will kick major ass.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 10:17 a.m. CST

    too soon ...

    by readyoufool

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Boobs, boobs, boobs...

    by Buck Turgidson

    I like boobs.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Wow..more movie hype...been there done that

    by Bong

    And as we know most of these glowing early reviews usually turn out flat wrong. remember that douche bag that called Sueprman Returns IMAX one of the greatest visual sensory experience or whatever.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 11:50 a.m. CST

    I cannot wait

    by IMScully33

    i saw the trailer at comic con and I am glad to hear the rest of the film matches up to the amazing trailer...I didn't doubt it would, but it's nice to hear anyway. March can't get here soon enough!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 12:21 p.m. CST

    So let me get this straight

    by A G

    So far all of the feedback on this film, especially the comic con footage that many posters and site staff have seen, has been extremely positive and complimentary. It is offical that the film has been screened to certain audiences, who also reacted very positively. Now, regardless of this, SOME OF YOU STUPID FUCKS ARE STILL SHOUTING "PLANT", SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Females like Hot bodies too

    by Arion214

    Not that bulging muscles, bare chests, and sturdy thighs are the only reason I want to see this film but it sure won't hurt by bringing in the female fans of the actors in their small costumes. Not me, though. I'll be there for the cinematic art, the fascinating story, the action sequences. Not just the handsome men and their ripped abs-- really! No, really!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Where...is...HARD...BOILED?!

    by MondoGundark

    Hard Boiled is the movie I've been waiting forever to see, why don't Wachowskis, Miller & Darrow develop that one already... dammit!

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 2:50 p.m. CST

    ...

    by blackthought

    sweet

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Obviously the film is going to be extremely

    by superninja

    violent. But volumes of decapitations for the point of what, exactly? The way they are described seems pointless and also sort of sick.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 6:17 p.m. CST

    I've always wanted to see this battle...

    by alienindisguise

    in all its glory... Of course there's gonna be gay references made by idiotic minds leading up to and after this movie comes out.

  • Aug. 18, 2006, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Do any of you buy those Legacy Edition 12" Figures?

    by kabong

    Many of you are f'cked up, so it seems likely.

  • Aug. 19, 2006, 5:56 a.m. CST

    superninja

    by messi

    does everything need a point. why not just because? there are plenty of movies that don't involve many decapitations, watch them. it's like some people who said ong bak had too much fighting, like it should stick to a formula. if everything followed a point, there would be no risks and movies would all be the same.

  • Aug. 19, 2006, 5:59 a.m. CST

    Plant? Maybe the guy just really likes it?

    by messi

    Guys here are so negative that anything with an ounce of positivity automatically is a plant review. maybe the guy just really really liked it.

  • Aug. 19, 2006, 2:50 p.m. CST

    This movie....

    by Harysuxafat1

    is gonna kick major amounts of ass. I'm not sure about the entire story being told in under 2 fucking hours though. This is cause for concern because there is a lot of ground to cover here and under 2 hours is gonna feel rushed.

  • Aug. 19, 2006, 9:35 p.m. CST

    Will it be gory?

    by NoHubris

    If the film is actually as artistic as the graphic novel and true to Miller's work, then the violence in "300" should be visually stunning rather than gory.

  • Aug. 21, 2006, 12:39 p.m. CST

    tile_mcgillus (All Star B&R)

    by mbeemer

    I haven't been reading it. What was that about a Black Canary bar fight (what issue?) and what didn't you like about it?

  • Dec. 8, 2010, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Where is Asimovlives when you need him?

    by orcus

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