Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Movie Reviews

Getting Two-Thirds Of ‘300’
By Mark Moran

Every year the American public is bombarded with a slew of Hollywood epics that promise to be bigger, better, and flashier than anything you have seen before. The film, “300”, written and directed by Zack Snyder, easily falls into the category of aspiring Hollywood epics by telling the story of the Spartan nation fighting against all odds to defeat the Persians who wanted to enslave them. "300's" advertisements convey this message not so discretely with the tag line “Prepare for Glory!” Unlike many recently released epic disappointments (cough-King Kong-cough) "300" delivers its promise of glory, for the most part.

In every frame, Zack Snyder paints a visual masterpiece worthy of wall space at The Met. His use of vibrant yellows and reds offset the more muted gray tones in this moving piece of art. The direction and cinematography is beyond any critique. While some may say "300's" visuals take away from the film's story, it actually further emphasizes the Spartan ethic. With images so vivid, one can almost smell the crimson blood on the warrior's swords, feel the cold metal of their shields, and have their stomach's growl at the Spartan's hunger for victory. The aesthetics alone are worth the price of admission. It has been a while since a director has made such a bold and stunning movie. Like a classic painting, "300" has the tendency to take your breath away.

Although a painting gains value, mostly from a visual standpoint, a film must have a good story to back up the pretty pictures. This is where "300" seems to stumble. Battle after battle we see the Spartans fight against all odds and win. We also see their victory from a mile away. In almost every battle sequence, the odds of our heroic Spartans winning seem slim, but they do win and we know they will do it again the next time they encounter the Persian army. When a new battle begins, some may find themselves wondering if the only difference between each battle sequence were the Persians' costumes. The end is almost anti-climatic due to the film’s predictability. Let's just say you see it coming. However, the movie's plot doesn't seem to be based on whether the Spartans will win, but on Spartan honor and ethics. It seems "300" wants to reveal the stoic honor code of these legendary warriors rather than leave you on the edge of your seat. For some, this could result in boredom. For others, this could make the movie more meaningful than a dozen plot twists.

The bottom line is "300" is worth seeing. It may not be the best screenplay ever written, but is surely a stunning work of cinematic art. Although the story could be better, it still has compelling characters and a decent plot line. Nevertheless, what 300's story really has to offer is a glimpse into a legendary nation of warriors with unwavering honor and ethics. "300" isn't going to win best picture at the Oscars, but it is a good popcorn movie.

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