300 Review
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Set in the fifth century, B.C., Frank Miller’s 300 tells the story of Leonidas (Gerard Butler), the king of Sparta. A skilled warrior and beloved ruler, Leonidas isn’t willing to back down when the great Persian god/king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) sends messengers to Sparta, demanding that he yield to Persia—or suffer a quick and humiliating defeat. Leonidas refuses—and he begins to plan the battle against the Persians.

When Leonidas goes to ask Sparta’s ancient—and corrupt—advisors for permission to go to war, he’s told that the gods have forbidden it. The Spartan army is not to fight the Persians. But Leonidas won’t stand by and let Xerxes take over Sparta. So he gathers 300 of his best warriors, along with a few hundred allies, and marches to Thermopylae to meet the 100,000-man Persian army. Meanwhile, his wife, Queen Gorgo (Lena Heady), remains in Sparta to do whatever it takes to convince the council to send the rest of the army to help Leonidas and his men.

  
 
Like Sin City, the 2005 film based on another one of Miller’s graphic novels, 300 is visually breathtaking. The stylized computer graphics are stunning. But take away all the fancy graphics, and you’re not left with much. There’s very little plot—just a scene or two here and there to occasionally fill the time between bloody battle scenes. And, to make matters worse, the battle scenes aren’t all that exciting—or at least not after the first few minutes. With each new battle, the enemy is a bit different—sometimes masked immortals from Asia, sometimes magicians, sometimes guys on elephants, sometimes even a rhino. But the battles are all the same—lots of tough, muscular guys in leather underpants, lots of swords slicing through the enemy, the blood spattering in slow motion. In fact, if it weren’t for the slow-motion blood-spattering, 300 would probably be only half as long.

With its gallons of blood, its scantily-clad women, and its handful of freakish characters, 300 was obviously made with fanboys in mind. But even the fanboys who lined up at the theater hours early for the screening were much less enthusiastic after the movie ended than they were before it began. Because 300 is surprisingly monotonous. After the first battle scene, there’s not much more to see. And even the cool graphics don’t really offer anything especially new or exciting. Slow-motion blood-spattering has been done before. And, really, after you’ve seen one decapitated warrior, you’ve pretty much seen ‘em all.

Although it does have its moments of computer-graphic brilliance, 300 is mostly just two hours of the same battle over and over again. If you’re a fan of computer-animated blood, you’ll be in heaven. If not, you’ll be bloody bored.

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