Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I am not reading another word about this one, personally. I know I want to see it. After seeing Zack Snyder again last week and seeing a half-hour or so of the finished film, I’m so sold on this it’s ridiculous. I hope the final film matches up with what we’ve seen so far, and we’ll know soon enough. March is going to be a fairly groovy month in theates this year. Here’s a review that contains some sound advice:
Hey Quint, I read the review you posted today on 300, and having been at the same screening…I felt that a more balanced review was needed. You see, 300 was definitely an awesome experience, but the previous reviewer has inflated 300 so much that I feel people will be let down if they go in with these GREAT expectations. Let me start with a warning: I WILL NOT BE ISSUING SPOILER WARNINGS THROUGHOUT THIS REVIEW. So here it is: SPOILER WARNING!!!! That's the only one you get. I walked into the theatre last night without any prior knowledge of the story or graphic novel. I knew it was written by Frank Miller, but I had never read it…and I had only seen the trailer on Apple.com. I walked in with low-expectations because I commonly find that movies that look as beautiful as 300 are never nearly as well thought out when it comes to actual CONTENT. This looked like a tremendously epic and serious movie, and I was afraid that it was going to check humor at the door, and throw character development into the trash. The good news: 300 exceeded most of my expectations. The bad: only most…not all. The first thing to notice about 300 is that the composition and images are some of the most unique eye candy I have seen in a long while. You could tell that every shot was given the care and love of an individual painting, and it really paid off. The one problem I had with the visuals is that some of them were SO fantastic, that when you saw something that wasn't perfect, it almost emphasized the mediocrity because of the comparison. An example is the deformed Spartan hunchback who asks Leonidis if he can fight. They chose to go with a suit, and it just really looked like crap. With all of the amazing CGI throughout the movie, I found myself wondering why they couldn't have at least enhanced the texturing on him or something. It really took me out of the moment when all I could notice was how his hunch looked like a wad of foam rubber. Another aspect that took me out of the moment, is that many of the rock formations looked like built sets. They had an inherent smoothness that just doesn't seem realistic…who knows, maybe they used real rocks, and I'm just nitpicking. But it definitely seemed like most of the movie was on a set instead of in its own world. This might have also been aided by the lack of above-ground level shots. Most of the shots in the movie are on the ground with the soldiers, and you never really get a good sense of their surroundings. The fights are also obviously one of the GREAT parts about 300. I haven't seen slow-motion utilized in such a great way since the matrix. They constantly adjusted the speed at key points of the moves so that you really got a sense of what it is like during a battle. It would go super slow while the Spartan soldier took in his surroundings and planned his next move, and would then speed up to super-precise hits for the actual fighting. There were so many "fuck yeah!" moments and just plain awesome sequences. Throughout most of the movie, you could almost hear the audience licking their lips from all of the blood being fed to them….and it was strangely satisfying, however gruesome. I would like to point out that during most of these fights, I did agree with one of the other reviewers in that the 300 did not look like 300 people. I never really got a sense for more than 40 or 50 of them….again because we rarely see above-head shots that would reveal the size of the army. Another aspect that really helped me enjoy the film was that they added just the right amount of humor into the movie. When it was serious…it was SERIOUS…but then a small look, impossible fighting move, or witty phrase would catch you off guard and relieve you of the serious tone for one moment. That is something I find many action films lack. Movies that take themselves too seriously really annoy me. So with all this praise, where is this "balance" that I promised? Okay, now for the complaints. I have two major ones: character development, narrator. While I did love many of the lines, and the delivery from all of the fantastic actors (as everyone before me has said, Gerard Butler rocked)…I couldn't help but feel something was lacking in the characters. I knew they were warriors…but I never got a sense of WHO they are. The only thing I know about Leonidis is that he is a great leader, a king, he shouts a lot, and is really good with coming up with inspirational words. And so, as much as I liked him…I didn't suffer when he died. Oh, and don't get me started on his son. I don't think I even heard one word out of his son's mouth…There was also supposed to be this emotional father and son connection (the captain and soldier) that was severed when the son was killed…but that's just it. All I knew is that they were father and son…I didn't even remember their names…and had no information about them except that they are really good warriors. I guess when it comes down to it, 300 does not need too much character development. The story is pretty simple…not that complex…and so it doesn't require complex characters. Still, I think that, while it may have worked in a graphic novel…a movie requires a little more depth to succeed. Don't get me wrong…300 is a really good time at the movies…but there was nothing in it that would spark a conversation or argument with my friends afterwards. What are we going to say? "Those Spartans were kick ass!" That's what. My second complaint is the narrator. I did not like his delivery, his voice, and most of the moments they decided to use him. I think the movie could have added some of the needed depth if it had told us what the narrator was telling by actually showing us using characters and dialogue. It just seemed like an easy way out for the director. That being said. I cannot wait to see what Zack Snyder does with Rainbow Six, and future projects. He is definitely quite the visionary, and really knows how to please an audience. As much as I disliked some aspects, I enjoyed the movie enough to buy a ticket when it comes out in March. I also can't wait to hear an actual custom music score to go along with the picture….the music they used for temp was pretty good…but I always find temp music a little distracting cause I recognize it from other sources (contrary to previous previews…I don't just think that it was temp music…I KNOW it was temp music...unless they're licensing out already used music). So go see 300, but go in with moderate expectations and I have a feeling you will be blown away….however, if you go in thinking that it'll be the greatest movie of 2007, you will probably find yourself hating the reviewers who planted those seeds of expectation into your head. HAL1138
Fair enough. I’m currently in that boat with PAN’S LABYRINTH, a film I think is beautiful and compelling, but that is in real danger of being overhyped. It’s a delicate film, intimate, and I think people are going to expect something other than what they get. I think that’s good advice from HAL1138 about pitching your expectations at a reasonable level. Having said that, check out this review from one of the best-named spies we’ve ever had:
Yes, another of what must be a barrage of "300" screener reviews fresh from the Pacific Winnetka in the San Fernando Valley, that's PT Anderson country to you. The theatre was packed with anxious moviegoers who just got our asses blown away by the go-to action movie of the year (or technically next year). The line practically wrapped around the whole theatre and I only got in because my brother fit the demographic WB is in need of filling (35+ males, don't go to a high profile screener without one). If you've watched the trailer there isn't much to be spoiled - it kind of says it all. It is still an experience to see this monster of a movie on the big screen. Action on the scale of the Matrix without the dense... philosophy? Nobility on the scale of Gladiator without the script... running away? And Visual Effects on the scale of Star Wars without ... JarJar? The cut we saw was 95% finished, some of the blood and other FX were not lit to match the scenes quite yet. Barely noticable. There's been a vast array of positive reviews so far and even with my high expectations I was dazzled. I agree with one of the more recent screenies who said it often looked like there weren't exactly 300 Spartans out there, more like a few dozen. Still time to correct that I believe. The only story notes I walked away with was that I never got much beyond a taste of what they were actually fighting so gloriously for. We don't spend much quality time in Sparta getting to know the way of life these Soldiers are plunging head first into hell to protect. The movie tells us Persians are bad because they have soldier-slaves and are maurading the world and most certainly will impregnate your sister. Spartans are good because they vote on stuff. Well, all logic-hammering aside, they also have a badass army of guys tougher than nails who have been able to hand you your ass since they were this many. And that's what it really comes down to, a battle movie that has scope, heart, sacrifice, and glory. To watch these Greeks in training and then in action is nothing short of a triumph. The tactics and killing skill they display will blow your mind. Like King Leonidis says, they fight as one. No Rambos in this war. See it on the big screen, opening night if you can. The crowd will be amped and your girlfriend will have lots of eye-candy to keep her interest. If you use this call me: Jung Like A Horse.