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300 Film Review

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Introduction

300: The modern day reimagining of an ancient David vs. Goliath Battle! Director: Zack Snyder Based off of the comic by: Frank Miller Actors/Actresses: Gerard Butler, Lena Heady, David Wenham, Dominic West, Vincent Regan, Rodrigo Santoro Release Date: March 9th, 2007 (March 7th in Greece) Rating: 5 smiley faces out of 5 Ancient Greece, 480 BC. The age of great mathematicians, scientists, engineers, philosophers, artists and virtually the beginning of every modern marvel we take for granted. However, 240 km from Athens, there is a small city-state of Greece known as Sparta. Sparta is the antithesis to Athens, a land of warriors. Even so, 2400 km east of this military state, is the Persian Empire getting ready for war. Think of it as the ancient world's version of the British Empire, or the more contemporary USA, It is the superpower which spans nearly 8,000,000 km2 of land and contained 44% of the world's population at the time. Oh, and by the way, it looks to increase these already impressive statistics by swallowing Greece. Who ever said history was boring, eh? 300 brilliantly captures the setting it is based on. It is a live action adaptation of the graphic novel by Frank Miller, but who bothers reading anymore when there is an Odeon on every street corner? ...read more.

Middle

While Xerxes marches his army towards Sparta, the 300 men set out on their suicide mission. This battle of epic proportions will nearly 2000 years later be known as the Battle of Thermopylae. Snyder and Miller have clearly set out to recreate one of the most famous ancient battles of all time, albeit with a Hollywood sensationalist makeover. Much of the film's backdrops are computer generated, with the actors acting in front of a green screen. Also, while the film is for the most part historically accurate, it is not a documentary. The creators are out to make money, so there is a hit of fantasy injected into the jugular vein of this film. Most notably is the depiction of the Persian army. They are shown to have many fantasy based creatures. From soldiers known as 'Immortals' who have the faces of monsters to obese humanoid executioners that has knives for arms. I won't even get started on the startling portrayal of Xerxes yet. This exaggerated portrayal of Persians has angered many - guess who... Persians! Yes, this film has been highly controversial and a hot topic for debate in the Iranian media, who see it as the West picking on the East once again. In fact, this whole battle is the very definition of East meets West - the Persians won the Battle of Thermopylae (hey, I can't spoil a film based on non-fiction, can I?) ...read more.

Conclusion

This is clearly intended by the director to show Xerxes to be akin to God who is genderless. Nonetheless, Leonidas does make a promise during an impassioned speech to Xerxes that before the battle ends, '...even a god-king can bleed.' That sent chills up my spine. You'll have to see if Leonidas fulfils his promise for yourself. This film will at first appear to be very biased towards the Spartans. It shows the Persians to be not much more than barbaric slavers in fancy clothing, when in fact it was Persians who gave Jewish slaves their freedom and kick-started human rights long before the United Nations. Why then, this gross misrepresentation? In my view, it is simple. This whole film is an allegory disguised as a historical action flick. An allegory that even if a few free men stand against many tyrants, as long as they have a noble cause, even if they fall in battle, it will be their truth that ultimately prevails. Beautiful sentiment, don't you think? But whether this film has a deeper philosophical meaning is beside the point. In short: if you want to sit down with a bag of pop-corn and watch a truly exciting action film with limbs constantly being dismembered for the next two hours then by all means purchase your ticket now. If not... I think there are a few new rom-coms in cinemas too, aren't there? ...read more.

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