Movie News

Another spy fought in the shade and won a ticket to an early screening of 300!!!

Published at: Nov. 17, 2006, 3:52 a.m. CST

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with yet another glowing review of 300. This one is so glowing, so delerious in love that it should be a plant. If it were any other movie, I'd probably just print this out and use it to fertilize the lawn, but not only is this review echoing the word from almost everybody else that has seen an early cut of the film, but having seen the footage (and reaction to that footage) at Comic-Con, I have no doubt the movie is as kick-ass as this guy says it is. I absolutely can't wait!!

Hey there Quint, Moriarity and, of course, Head Geek! This is Randy of AFTimes. I last dropped you a report on an advanced showing of Miami Vice back in the spring. I'm back-with one of THE Geek movies of 2007! Since its actually based on a historic event, I don't think you can spoiler the movie. That being said-I'd call this a non-spoiler review. These are the days I love living in SoCal... even if I AM unemployed. Thanks to my friends ROBIN and ROSE, I made my way to the Pacific Winnetka on this balmy November day (95 degrees!) to see one of the anticipated films of 2007: 300 After the usual line then wait in the theater, which passed easily in pure uber-geek conversation with fellow viewer Corey, the film got started about 7:35pm. The Basics: In ancient Greece, King Leonidas(Gerard Butler) of Sparta who, with 300 of his personal guard, held off the invasion of his land by King Xerxes(Rodrigo Santoro) and the overwhelmingly superior number of the Armies of Persia. The movie ran approx. 1 hr. 50 min., seemed about 95 percent done with only a few VFX to be cleaned up. Opening and closing credits were in place and though the soundtrack was in place, I don't know for sure if it was Tyler Bates' finalized score. It's been a good year for me-two of my favorite comics/graphic novels have been brought to the screen well- V For Vendetta and 300. So you can see up front that I'm biased. I LOVED Frank Miller's graphic novel(actually, comic book as I bough them as individual issues). I was jazzed for the movie adaptation. I was at SDCC and saw the footage which became the trailer back in July. Three times. I was hooked. So let me tell you the tale of 300. Not the story but the tale-and that's the important difference in this movie. Several years ago, several best-selling books were published that told the story of the Battle of Thermopyale in 480 BC between the Spartans and the Persians at the Hot Gates. But that's not 300. 300 is the tale of Men defending their way of life against an unrelenting, unstoppable force, not because they would win but because there was no option to lose. This is a tale because, unlike the books that were written, it is not about telling a story based in the real world. 300 is about what tales represent, what they bring to those that hear them. The Spartans are considered great soldiers of history. But in 300, these Spartans are much more. They are Champions of War, seemingly chiseled out of the rock of Greece itself. Creatures of such power and grace, that they don't wound a soldier with a sword, they cleave a whole limb. They don't run into battle, they smash through battle lines. They don't jump into a fight, they gracefully leap into throngs of soldiers killing two at a time. These are not just men, not just soldiers. These are Heroes. 300 is about a different time and way of thinking. It's about reminding us of what courage and sacrifice mean, about backing up one's words with actions. It's not surprising that I had moments that brought to mind not only Gladiator but The 13th Warrior, Excalibur and Conan the Barbarian. This is tale where everything is in bold, stark capital letters-Men, Women, Honor, Glory, Bravery. And I think those have been sadly lacking in movies lately. Because of the nature of this kind of storytelling, I can understand that some might see the performances of Gerard Butler, David Wenham, Dominic West as being too stoic, too curt, giving very little in the way character development. But I don't see that as a flaw in the script by writers Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon. These are forthright, plain-speaking people, who do not waste words. These are men of action. Gerard Butler stepped up into the role of not only king but a man you'd follow into death and beyond. I wasn't sure he would be right for this(Clive Owen came to mind) but he sold me on one moment. During a battle, his face covered in shadow, only his eyes and tooth grimace/smile stand forward-it's chilling, full of equal parts love and menace at what he must do. And while it may seem trivial, I commend him and all the actors for working out as much as they did-it shows in not only the look but in their performance. For that reason alone (and Butler being nude), this movie will appeal to others on a completely different level! I cannot help but mention Lena Headey who plays Queen Gorgo. While Gerard Butler may have the most fun playing the Spartan king, Lena Headey show what a Spartan woman is like, a mirror of the fighting man whose strength of character is no less strong then that of the men. She gives both a warm and flinty strength to the Queen. And she shows to NEVER underestimate the cunning and ferocity of a Spartan woman! I think her upcoming stint as Sarah Conner in "The Sarah Conner Chronicles" is excellently cast. The action scenes are very well-done, getting two or three of the four spontaneous outburst of applause during the film. The first battle between the Spartans and the Persians gives you an amazing feeling of the power behind an army when it connects with another. I will say that the amount of under and over-cranking of the film speed does start to tire but I believe it fit with what the nature of the film. With only one or two exceptions, I felt that I never lost track of what was happening in the action as has been the case in some of the fights sequences in Gladiator and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So well done director Zack Snyder! You didn't screw this up... which easily could have happened. He followed his own advice about making movie adaptations of graphic novels: The images are already on the page so stop f-ing it up by trying to change it. (A paraphrase of his from Comic Con). 300 was shot on green-screen stages with background put in, like Sin City. But this is night and day in comparison! There are images that I very nearly could name you the issue and page it was pulled from! But it never took me out of the action, which is the biggest worry when using this kind of technology. My suggestion to Warner Brothers is to sneak this movie a week or two before release, to whip people into a fervor. This is a movie that is Big, not because of budget or cast but because of the tale is tells. "Go, stranger, and tell the Spartans that we lie here in obedience to their laws." And I tell you that you must see 300 in March 2007. Worth Paying...Evening Prices What About Toys? Coming from NECA in February 2007 - and PLEASE make a 18" talking King Leonidas! ADDENDUM-I also have to mention something interesting that happened afterwards. While you see the Suits at these screenings, you also sometimes see the director as well. Well, in the lobby, I was surprised to see, hiding under a trucker hat, King Leonidas himself-Gerard Butler! So Mr. Butler, in case you are reading, I was the one that walked up, shook your hand, looked you square in the eyes and said "Amazing" and walked away. Thanks for being cool about it. Thanks for reading! Randy of AFTIMES (www.aftimes.com)

Readers Talkback

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  • Nov. 17, 2006, 3:58 a.m. CST

    300th?

    by Jubba

    or first?

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 4:03 a.m. CST

    Can't frickin wait

    by themanlikedave

    for this flick.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 4:14 a.m. CST

    For those who can't wait for this flick....

    by Wave Motion Gun

    Run out and buy the book 'Legend' by David Gemmell, which was inspired by the Battle of Thermopylae - ie. warriors defending their homeland from an invasion force and outnumbered 100:1. They know they can't win, but they stand and fight anyway. Awesome book.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 4:21 a.m. CST

    "Legend" - great read

    by Randy of AFTIMES

    I really enjoyed that book. I did think that it jumped ahead of the story to get to "the good stuff" several times. But it has an appropriately epic quality especially with such a great characer like Druss.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 6:12 a.m. CST

    Pacific Winnetka Multiplex 5000

    by Uncapie

    And I remember when that area was a drive in theater. "300" will do great.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 7:04 a.m. CST

    How much is this movie going to suck?

    by kwisatzhaderach

    A lot. And it will be a huge flop, just you wait and see.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 7:16 a.m. CST

    Good Review

    by CrowManiac

    FOR A PLANT!

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 8:24 a.m. CST

    How are these 300 reviews positive?

    by genro

    Everyone one of them has a Knowelsian qualifier on it, but AICN represents it as glowing. These are not reviews. These are subjective opinions. The two are not the same.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Saw the trailer with a friend of mine...

    by Kid Z

    ... who is Iranian (Persian). Her comment? "They didn't look like that back then! What is this movie?" Don't suppose it matters, but for fans of historical accuracy (or nitpickers), don't go if you expect more than a complete fantasy vaguely based on historical fact. By the way, loved the graphic novel. But I wonder if the dialogue which works on a comic page is going to work on screen? For instance, I love Sin City, but the dialog in the film version sounded so stilted it was almost Ed Wood-level laughably bad.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 11:26 a.m. CST

    What's with all these cartoon/live action movies?

    by Pipple

    Choose one and stick with it.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 12:10 p.m. CST

    The acting in these green screen movies...

    by rbatty024

    are always a little off. Even if the actor has done good work in other movies, he or she just can't seem to make it work staring at nothing. Star Wars Prequels, Sky Captain, Sin City all had some good actors really struggling. This might make it difficult for Miller's dialogue because, as someone already mentioned, his dialogue works better when it's on the page. The hyper-serious tone of the trailer also does not bode well for the movie. I'm hoping against hope this film is better than it should be.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 12:33 p.m. CST

    You know this is gonna be at BNAT

    by johne5

    ...and I must find a way in....

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Question....

    by Kevin

    For all the "geeks" that were in attendance last night at the screening, how come none of you who approached Snyder mentioned Watchmen to him? By the way, Genro, I completely agree with you. These aren't reviews as much as they are subjective opinions but then again aren't reviews just that to begin with? Whoever said this movie is going to flop, I doubt it. Sad to admit it but IMO a film such as The Fountain, which is a MUCH better film, will flop more so than this one will due to the hype it is receiving. What a shame. On a sidenote, apparently Snyder was recruiting for this film himself by approaching people waiting in line for the PS3 at a nearby Best Buy. I wonder how many people got out of line to see this film. Hahaha, yeah right.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Clank, clank

    by Redundant23

    "This is tale where everything is in bold, stark capital letters-Men, Women, Honor, Glory, Bravery. And I think those have been sadly lacking in movies lately." I could go the whole rest of my life without seeing another movie in bold, stark capital letters. I'm smart enough to get things without being hammered on the head. What's wrong with subtle and ambiguous?

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 1:17 p.m. CST

    RANDY of AFT TIMES. Some advice...

    by uberman

    aside from your review, you stated several things of interest. 1. You are unemployed. 2. You read comics. 3. You hope the come out with Toys! of these characters from the movie. Now, whats wrong with this picture? Perhaps if you spent less time on childrens toys and more on busting your ass looking for work, you might do something. ALso, who pays your rent? Mommy? Daddy? Just wondering...

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Veryexcitedindeed

    by Reelheed

    cantwaitforthistocomeout

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Nobody's unemployed and happy in SoCal

    by WhoDis

    Unless you are a trust fund kid.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Snyder

    by The Winchester

    I was also there last night. My review is up over at moviesonline.ca , and it's pretty much the same. This movie kicked my ass hardcore. I couldn't believe it. And I did see Snyder afterwards, and I told him how much I dug this movie, and how much I can't wait for Watchmen. He thanked me, but had to get going before I could ask him anything about it. Still, a rally cool guy.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 3:57 p.m. CST

    rbatty024

    by kwisatzhaderach

    is spot on, green screen movies = shitty acting and this looks no different.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 4:38 p.m. CST

    i went too

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    i showed up an hour and 15 minutes before the movie, and there were already 340 PEOPLE in front of me. I go to screenings about once a week, and I have, never seen a turn out like this. I still got in though, the director himself gave me a golden ticket for that.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 9:19 p.m. CST

    Not just The Man, he's the uberman.

    by TheRealRatigan

    If you're so motivated and upwardly mobile, how do you justify spending valuable productivity time here? You must have better things to do than reading Cool News, especially the TalkBack posts by anyone like Randy...right? Perhaps if you spent less time trolling the internet and amusing yourself taking easy potshots at sitting ducks, you might do something, like find a reason for being.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 9:32 p.m. CST

    Redundant23...

    by TheRealRatigan

    With this story, at least this telling, I think you miss the point. It's the tone over everything that gives us all of it in those bold, stark, capital letters. That's what makes this a capital 'T' Tale.

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 10:30 p.m. CST

    THEREALRATIGAN....

    by uberman

    FISH ON!

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 10:48 p.m. CST

    ...Really? "FISH ON!"?

    by TheRealRatigan

    Alright, then. Oh yeah, FLAME ON!

  • Nov. 17, 2006, 10:53 p.m. CST

    Wait, no, I still don't know what you mean.

    by TheRealRatigan

    ..."FISH ON!". But...good one... I guess.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Therealratigan and Randy of AFT...

    by uberman

    first, Randy...I was wrong to be snippy and sarcastic about your review. I wish I had seen the movie. Sounds good. Again, I was wrong to be an asshole, and had I met you in person I would not have been. Its easy to be a jerk when you can be anonymous, but its also pretty lame, hence...I was lame. And Ratigan, your right, easy target. I used to just come on the site and read the reviews to get the advanced word on movies, and in general, I do. Then, I became a talkbacker, which can be pretty tempting when you just wanna spew out whatever crap comes to your mind. Why'd I read this talkback? Because the movie sounds like something I would be interested in and really, I'm glad there are guys like Randy who will take the time to post their thoughts and give somewhat of a heads up. I was wrong, your both right, and again, I should not have been an ass. Peace.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 6:12 a.m. CST

    Xiphos

    by Killah_Mate

    "Gates of Fire" is of course great for facts, but I don't think anyone is really expecting historical accuracy from this movie. Which is kind of nice, because it means the average moviegoer is smart enough to tell the difference between a historical account and a legend inspired by history. Bodes well for the elections, I guess.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Answering back.

    by Randy of AFTIMES

    YackBacker-Thanks. Still writing there about more than a decade. Come by again when you can. CrowManiac-Keep flapping your gums, boy. I know where you sleep. ;) Genro-I believe that reviews are always subjective. I just want to put it into context for readers so they can see if their take on movies bears any similarities to my taste. BUT if I start using the similar sexual "metaphors" as Harry in a review, then feel free to kick my ass! Redundant23-I like subtle as well in movies. But not in all of them. This is one of those times where it isn't as needed. WhoDis-You can't have moments of happiness in bad times? Xiphos-I can understand being picky about a historical quote. I couldn't remember the exact quote as delivered in the movie. There are multiple translations listed on the wikipedia listing for the Battle of Thermopalye. So I used one of them that sounded best. Mea culpa. And uberman? I accept what you said in your last post.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 11:54 p.m. CST

    Randy of AFT. Thanks.

    by uberman

    Your a bigger man than the Uberman for accepting my apology. It means alot to me. I got your back. Uberman.

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 2:51 a.m. CST

    Best acting in front of green screen EVER

    by Photoman

    This has to be, hands down, the best movie that has actors so obviously acting on a sound stage in front of a green screen that has EVER been captured on hard drives!