14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is SPARTA!
Frank Miller adaptations are on a roll. First we got "Sin City," and now we have the story of three hundred Spartans who repelled a massive invasion.
And the adaptation of "300" is a stunning one -- literally stunning, since it bombards the viewer with larger-than-life characters, smashing visuals and tight direction. It goes a bit too fast for its own good,...
Published on Jun 6 2007 by E. A Solinas
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Image Quality
I have several bluray movies of various genres and '300' has the worst image quality by far. The image has more detail but also more noise. I think the dvd version would have been a better buy.
Published on Jan 6 2011 by Semyaj
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is SPARTA!,
And the adaptation of "300" is a stunning one -- literally stunning, since it bombards the viewer with larger-than-life characters, smashing visuals and tight direction. It goes a bit too fast for its own good, but it's a truly epic film that takes the historical war movie to another level -- all the more so because it actually happened.
As the introduction tells us, the Spartans were the ultimate warrior people. Babies were inspected for weakness or faults, and killed if they had any; as they were growing up, they were taught and toughened by a savage regimen. Their only true hope was to "die beautifully" for their land.
A Persian messenger arrives, telling King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) that the god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) wants the Spartans to bow to him. Leonidas' response: shove the Persians into a pit. But before he can go to war, he must consult the corrupt priesthood of Ephors and their beautiful Oracle. She predicts that Sparta will fall and the gods forbid war at the approach of the Carneaian festival -- courtesy of a hefty bribe from a Spartan traitor.
So Leonidas takes out three hundred of his best men, along with their nervy Arcadian allies, and begin trouncing the Persians. But they are being sabotaged, both by a hunchbacked outcast and by a treacherous councilor, whom Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) is battling. And so at Thermopylae, Leonidas prepares for a final battle against the monstrous Persian Army -- knowing that their story of freedom will live on.
This is not a "sensitive" movie where you have any appreciation for the bad guys -- it's a glorification of three hundred soldiers who died for their land and freedom. It just wouldn't work otherwise. It doesn't blindly adore the Spartans -- we see their darker side in their "weed out the weak" policy -- but it does appreciate them. They respect and care about each other, and Leonidas is as kind as he can be even to Ephialtes, the traitor.
And it's done in a manner appropriate to its comic book origins -- grimy, bloody and epic, but with a stylized look that is almost like CGI. The battles are shockingly good, and full of fantasy-ish creations like the monstrous creatures or the silver-masked Immortals. Even a wall of corpses. But we also get some beautiful visuals as well -- roiling seas, sunlit battlefields, Spartan cities, and the drugged Oracle in her white veil.
While the script gets a bit over-the-top at times, it's hard not to be moved by dialogue that can be darkly funny ("It's just an eye. The gods saw fit to grace me with a spare") or stirring ("He did not wish tribute, nor song, or monuments or poems of war and valor. His wish was simple: "Remember us." That was his hope, should any free soul come across that place, in all the countless centuries yet to be").
Butler and Headey are simply great as Leonidas and Gorgo -- they're both strong, passionate and fearless, and they both do a great job in their separate storylines. But the movie is filled with good performances -- David Wenham as the narrator, Dominic West as a disgusting traitor, Santoro as the decadent, arrogant god-king, and many others.
"300" is a unique, stirring, stunning movie that pushes the action-movie envelope, and gives a thrilling edge to a real-life story of overwhelming edge. A brilliant movie.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frank Miller's tetosterone intense take on the first great last stand,
The Battle of Thermopylae was fought in 480 B.C. The Persian army of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) is invading Greece with the largest army the world has ever seen. With the Spartan army prohibited from marching north because of a religious festival, King Leonidas (Gerald Butler in fine form) heads for the natural bottleneck on the main road between Locris and Thessaly with the 300 men of his bodyguard. After three days of battle the Spartans were betrayed by a man named Ephialtes who showed the Persians a mountain path that led behind the Greek lines. While the rest of the Greek soldiers retreated, the 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians were slaughtered to the last man. Simonides composed a famous epigram that was engraved as an epitaph on a commemorative stone placed on top of the burial mound of the Spartans at Thermopylae: "Go, stranger, and tell the Spartans, That we lie here in obedience to their laws."
Miller was inspired by historical events but was not constrained by it in telling his story. In his version Ephialtes (Andrew Tiernan) is no longer a poor shepherd but a deformed figure who was born to parents who fled Sparta rather than leave their infant on a rock to die, adding elements of pathos and irony hitherto unseen with regards to the character. Nor is this movie the attempt to faithfully bring Miller's art to life that we saw with "Sin City," which is perfectly fine with me. Besides, director Zack Snyder's film reminded me more of lots of other films, from "Gladiator" to "Hero," more than it did "Sin City." I want to say that what we saw of this type of modern filmmaking in "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" has been refined, but that would be quite an ironic comment to make about such a gory and gritty film. Ultimately, the movie is rather impressionistic in nature, emphasizing graphic images over everything else, which brings us back around again to the idea that "300" is art and not history.
I was quite pleased the overall "300" met my expectations. During the first part of the battle Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead") resorts to the rapid series of cuts that I have come to deplore in contemporary action films because I can never tell what is happening. I understand that a battle is a sea of chaos, but if I cannot tell what is going on I become distracted. I want to see what is happening in order for the scenes to become memorable to me. Fortunately the rest of the movie takes full advantage of slow motion technique we see in the trailers and television spots for the film. In fact, "300" makes better use of slow motion than any film I can remember, mainly because the point is not to prolong the suspense (e.g., the end of the fight in "Rocky II"), but to let you see what is happening (e.g., River's fight scenes in "Serenity"). Think of watching big hits in football in slow motion replay and you get a sense of how Snyder is able to strategically slow down the action to see not only the power but also the grace of the violence.
Looks are everything in this film, so the Spartans fight bare-chested, the better for their muscles to ripple, while the Persians might be the most overdressed warriors in cinematic history (although I admit that I have to wonder where the Spartans were hiding their helmets on the long trip from Sparta to the Hot Gates). "300" is a film that glories in visual excess as the army of Xerxes becomes a computer generated million man march and the pass at Thermopylae exists between towering pillars of rock. This may or may not be the most computer generated figures on the screen at one time in the history of the world, but I have to believe "300" offers the biggest piles of corpses we have ever seen. As if quantity was not enough to overwhelm the Spartans, Leonidas and his men are confronted by a towering Xerxes and a host of monstrous men and animals. The net result may well be the best comic book movie to date, despite the fact the hero is a historical figure and not a superhero.
This adaptation plays up a subplot regarding what is happening back at Sparta while Leonidas and his body guard face annihilation as Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) attempts to play politics with Theron (Dominic West), who complains about the legitimacy of the king's actions rather than deal with the reality of a Persian army coming to crush Greece. But it is hard to care about such machinations in the face of the historical record and the fact that the drama is happening at Thermopylae and not back in Sparta. There are notes sounded about saving Greece from the Persians and civilization from the evils of Asian mysticism, but the legacy of the Spartans has nothing to do with their role in the development of democracy. Almost two millennium before the Alamo there was this story of a group of warriors that sacrifice their lives in a battle so that their people could win the war. The story of the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae is that of the first great last stand.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome,
This review is from: 300 (Limited Edition SteelBook) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)This is just a review of the steelbook, not the film, however the film is great. Anyway the steelbook is gorgeous, you Canadians get all of the best steelbooks, damn you. It's region free so great news for everyone who is like me, from the UK and like all Canadian steelbooks, you don't get the horrible blue bar across the top of the front, instead they are on a separate card that wraps over the top with all of the details and specs on the back. I always like to keep these to give my steelbooks a little protection from scratches when they're on the shelf (very sad I know). There is artwork on the inside and a cool picture of a Spartan helmet on the back. Check out any review on Youtube, don't confuse it with the German version. Overall a very nice steelbook. If it's a good price definitely get it. For those ordering overseas I recommend bulk buying because of the shipping costs and one thing I never thought of, is that you have to pay import tax. For 3 steelbooks it cost me £9 but it can go up or down. From ordering to receiving, the whole process took a week from Canada to UK but when I tracked the parcel it was in a warehouse in the UK for two days as the company didn't deliver over the weekend, so really just under a week.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still no menu on the disc.....,
This review is from: 300: The Complete Experience (Bilingual) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)I owned the steelbook dvd of this movie and it had a killer menu. You could hear Leonidas shout 'Spartans prepare for glory!'and then a fantastic score.What a way to get into the movie feeling without even pressing the play button. So when i bought the blu ray(first release) i was dissapointed about both the dvd - bluray transfer and the lack off that fantastic menu. Then i heard about this release and thought this must be a renewed transfer with more extra's and an actual menu, but no. What a dissapointment again. I still give this release 4 stars because the booklet packaging is amazing! Plus the bluray live features make up for a lot of it. Overall if your thinking of buying this release when allready owning the bluray, don't do it for the quality improvement (which is not there) or the extra features (only for players with BD live option) because you would only end up with a different keepcase.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, normal Blu-ray quality,
5.0 out of 5 stars really good movie,
5.0 out of 5 stars barbaric,
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!,
4.0 out of 5 stars Heroism or Distortion,
In this highly-stylized version by Zack Snyder questionable distortions and exaggerations are sometimes hard to swallow, especially the demonization of the Persian invaders. The depiction of Xerxes as an effeminate pervert is almost laughable. Other historical inaccuracies include the presentation of the Spartan warriors without body armour or helmet plumes (except King Leonidas), and ignoring the significance of a simultaneous naval engagement. Of course these and other liberties were taken by the filmmakers for dramatic effect but they probably go too far.
Positives for the film are its pacing, superbly executed action scenes and the narration which gives it the sense of a fireside epic. The historical importance of the battle, fought in 480 BC, was its inspiration for the Greeks who united long enough to defeat the Persians at Platea and Mycale a year or so later.
Despite its faults, the movie does convey the spirit of Thermopylae in an entertaining form. In its own way "300" extols the courage of King Leonidas and his Spartan bodyguard who gave all to defend their homeland against overwhelming odds. It just seems a pity that so much history had to be sacrified in telling their story.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GLORIOUS,
It is 480 B.C., and the Persian Army sends emissaries to Sparta to ask them to surrender peacefully to Persian rule. Insulted by the Persians contempt for the strength of the Spartan Army, the Spartan King Leonidas refuses to kneel before Xerxes - the King of Persia and self proclaimed God. King Leonidas chooses 300 Spartan Warriors to stop the entire Persian Empire from invading Greece. The Spartans assemble at the entrance to a narrow passage in an attempt to stop the Persian Army's advances. 300 Spartans stand fast, holding off hundreds of thousands of Persian Warriors known as the Immortals. Only when the Spartans are betrayed do the finally succumb to the Persian army. Word of their bravery and strength spreads throughout the Hellenic Empire and their story becomes a legend.
300 is a modern classic, a violent and beautiful tale of men who refuse to surrender to a totalitarian regime. It is a war movie with a surreal feel, it is a story that is steeped in mythos, and every chapter of this tale is lavishly brought to the screen in a movie that is as visually stunning as it is compelling.
In movies such as 300, which rely strongly on visual effects to "wow" the audience, the acting and characters usually suffer. This is not the case with 300. Gerard Butler is bold, butch and brilliant as Leonidas; Dominic West is deliciously villainous, and Lena Headey is strong, elegant and regal as Leonidas' Queen. In addition, David Wehham's narration superbly knits together epic battles, traitors and political corruption.
In short, 300 is a visually stunning classic that is filled with brains and brawn. It is a must see for anyone who likes tales filled with heroism, glory, loincloths and six packs.
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300 [HD DVD] by Zack Snyder (HD DVD - 2007)
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