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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 June 6 2007 by E. A Solinas

versus
1 of 2 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!, June 6 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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, 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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Sparta!, July 9 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Ce commentaire est de: 300 (Full Screen) (DVD)
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, 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.
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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, Aug. 2 2007
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Before going to see "300" in the theater I watched the 1962 film "The 300 Spartans." I have a strong affection for the marching music in the film and the shot of Leonidas leading the Spartan phalanx for the last time, plus an enduring sense of injustice at the Persians dispatching the last Spartans by wave after wave of cartoon arrows. I had read Frank Miller's "300" when it was first published in five issues so I knew what to expect. This film is not history: it is art. Granted, we are talking post-modern art, but that still counts as art in a world where computers are as important as cameras when making a movie.

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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, Dec 7 2011
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 300 [2012] [Premium Collection SteelBook] [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [UK Release], July 25 2014
By 
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
300 [2012] [Premium Collection SteelBook] [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [UK Release] Adapted from the book by Frank Miller, this is a modern retelling of the Battle Of Thermopylae of 480 BC, when the 100,000 strong invading Persian Army of King Xerxes was held back in a narrow mountain pass by 300 Spartans. King Leonidas [Gerard Butler] is given four days by Persia's King Xerxes [Rodrigo Santoro] to lay down his arms and surrender. Rejecting the proposal, the battle ensues, and the Spartans are only defeated by the treachery of a local shepherd Ephialtes [Andrew Tiernan], who shows the Persians a secret route, enabling them to outflank their opponents.

Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Giovanni Cimmino, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro, Stephen McHattie, Michael Fassbender, Peter Mensah, Kelly Craig, Tyler Neitzel, Robert Maillet, Patrick Sabongui and Leon Laderach

Director: Zack Snyder

Producers: Bernie Goldmann, Gianni Nunnari, Jeffrey Silver and Mark Canton

Screenplay: Kurt Johnstad, Michael B. Gordon and Zack Snyder

Composer: Tyler Bates

Cinematography: Larry Fong

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English: 5.1 PCM, English: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, German: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian: 5.1 Dolby Digital and French: 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish

Running Time: 118 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – Adapting novels for the big screen has always been an imprecise art. Due to inherent differences between the two mediums, inevitably major chunks of the source material get left out, to varying results. Perhaps that's why Hollywood has seen so much success with its adaptations of graphic novels in recent years.

With their thin text, and their bold, image-driven narrative style, even the most niche graphic novels are arguably more camera-ready than your typical best-seller. And with recent advances in CGI, there's no limit to how fantastic the images in these novels may be in fact, if box office receipts are any indication, the more outrageous the imagery, the better.

For these reasons alone, in retrospect, it really shouldn't of surprised me that '300' turned into the sleeper blockbuster of 2007. The original graphic novel, sprung from the mind of Frank Miller ('Sin City' and 'The Dark Knight'), and is like 'Gladiator' on steroids and seemingly tailor-made to get blown up to mega-screen proportions. Enter director Zack Snyder ['Dawn of the Dead'], who’s decision to marry live-action with an intensely graphic visual style was the ideal interpretation of Miller's sensibility. Using every trick of the modern cinema trade to not only bring Miller's comic book panels to life, but to elevate them even further to the level of pop culture myth.

The characters were only thinly sketched-out in the graphic novel, and they're only slightly more embellished in Zack Snyder's vision. King Leonidas [Gerard Butler] is the ostensible hero, who (in very Russell Crowe/Maximus style) has dreamed his entire life of defeating the Persians. He gets his chance after a group of arrogant messengers from the Persian army arrive in Sparta, offering its people the choice between surrender and death. Leonidas has the messengers slaughtered, and decides to amass his 300 strong army at Thermopylae pass, a narrow corridor between the steep cliffs of the Aegean Sea. The plan is to limit the Persians' access, thereby making their massive numbers meaningless. As they come through the pass, Leonidas and his army will clobber them, one by one.

And so the stage is set for '300's almost non-stop second act cavalcade of phantasmagorical violence, bone-crushing gore and CGI wizardry. Miller turned his Persian warriors into a bizarre, surreal stew of iconic archetypes from deformed warriors to bizarre African animals, raging wizards to the elite guard of the Immortals (complete with scary death masks right out of a 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' movie). Zack Snyder both plays up the fantastical while also stripping the imagery down to its bare essentials. It's all heaving bare flesh, strategically-placed costume details, and bold, digitally drawn-in backgrounds.

Upon its theatrical release, reviewers levelled a number of criticisms at '300': some said that it was gratuitously violent; others felt that its characters were paper thin to the point of abstraction; and still others felt that it was either the most homoerotic mainstream movie ever made or the most misogynist. But while each of these concerns is certainly valid, ultimately they all get crushed under the sheer thrill of Zack Snyder and Frank Miller's bombast spectacle.
'300' is visually dazzling and at 118 minutes you feel you have been part of the awesome battle. Simply put it, I feel Zack Snyder did a brilliant job and should be totally proud of his work. But of course there is a minority out there that say ‘300’ call it sadistic, with extreme portrayals of death in many forms. But at its heart, it's a story of people. People coming together to fight a common enemy, people with a purpose. It's not about a presumptuous king sending his armies to fight faceless men who hide in caves. This is a story about people who, when annihilation is brought to their doorstep, did the brave thing, against all odds, and won a greater victory than any single military mission could ever have brought them. By fighting for their lands and their brethren, they found glory.

Blu-ray Video Quality – '300' comes to Blu-ray via Warner Home Video in an awesome 1080p encoded image in the film's original 2.40:1 projected aspect ratio, and if nothing else, this is a very accurate reproduction of the theatrical experience of '300.' As director Zack Snyder makes abundantly clear in the included supplements, he intended to jack up the film's contrast and burn down the blacks to better approximate the look of the graphic novel. As such, this high-definition presentation of '300' is predictably flat, with most detail drained from the shadows and highlights lost in a blaze of hot whites. Even exaggerated textures (such as extreme close-ups of flesh, rocky surfaces, etc.) look soft and indistinct.

Colours are intentionally muted, with an almost sepia-toned hue that turns flesh tones into copper and eliminates much of the colour spectrum except for deeper blues and browns. Adding to the film's 2D feel is the fact that the majority of the backgrounds are animated, with the live action shot in front of a blue screen. Finally, a computer-generated "film grain" has been added to the mix, which gives the image a final coating of jumpiness, with obvious noise in every shot.

Yet, despite all this intentional degradation, there is also an undeniable beauty to the rough grandeur of '300's visuals. Sort of like a PIXAR animation on steroids, and the crushed look Zack Snyder intended gives many of the shots great power because they are so simple and exactly like comic book panels come to life. The obvious computer-generated landscapes his digital artists have created also give it that dazzling, pixilated eye-candy look of the coolest videogames.

All things considered, I found watching '300' a thrilling experience and also an enjoyed a good-looking, awe-inspiring high-definition image. But as a representation of the film's style, there's no debating that this Blu-ray edition of '300' delivers, so much so that even for high-definition purist like myself, and it's impossible to ignore the film's intentionally degraded visual design and so just sit back enjoy the ride of your life.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Like the video, again I have absolutely no reservations about stating that the audio on this disc '300' is a real high-resolution scorcher. This is the kind of film that has such a barn-storming sound design that any caveats I might have are all washed away by the sheer bombastic thrill of it all.

Warner Home Video has supplied both next-generation editions with matching 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround tracks, but this Blu-ray is also graced with an additional 5.1 PCM surround option. Right up-front, the PCM sounded a bit louder, but after some level matching, a direct A/B comparison of several scenes revealed only slight differences. Although I'm sure this disc will stir up the whole TrueHD vs PCM debate, either way it is entirely your choice, because the action scenes in '300' delivers the kind of demo-worthy audio that should be pure nirvana for any home theatre enthusiast.

Dynamics are incredibly aggressive, with heart-stopping low bass that gave my subwoofer as good a workout as any next-gen disc I've ever heard. Since the majority of '300's soundtrack was created entirely in the studio, the cleanliness and clarity of the entire frequency range is startlingly lifelike and real. The "wall of sound" effect is in full force, with discrete effects in the rears wonderfully immersive and sustained. Imaging between channels is seamless, so crank up the volume and you'll be treated to the kind of rare, in-your-face 360-degree home theatre sound field that's second only to what you'll find in the actual cinema. Dialogue is also perfectly balanced again, no surprise given that almost the entire movie was looped. But sonically speaking, a film like '300' isn't about people talking to each other, it's about aural spectacle, and when those swords start clashing, this one knocks it totally out of the park.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Commentary with Director Zack Snyder, Cinematographer Larry Fong, and Writer Kurt Johnstad: Snyder, Fong, and Johnstad team up for this commentary. Considering how high octane the picture is, the commentary is very sedate by comparison. Most of the discussion revolves around the technical aspects of the production.

The 300 - Fact or Fiction?: This intriguing feature has many of the film's participants (including Frank Miller), along with several Greek historians, discussing how accurate the film is (or isn't) to the actual events. There's some excellent footage here, both of the participants and actual Greek artefacts.

Who Were The Spartans - The Warriors of 300: A short documentary which has the actors discussing the historical figures they are portraying on screen. They tell us the customs and ways of life of the Spartans and how the actors and filmmakers built up their characters.

Preparing For Battle - The Original Test Footage: See how Frank Miller’s images were used in a Fight scene test and at the same time we get to see some of the demo footage Zack Snyder shot in order to help the Warner Bros. executives understand and finance his vision for 300. This is some really cool stuff, and a must-see.

Frank Miller Tapes: We get to hear the outspoken Frank Miller telling us that he was against any filmed adaptation of his comic work. That all changed when Robert Rodriguez invited him to be a full collaborator on his adaptation of Sin City. Now Miller is much more involved with the cinematic versions of his graphic novels, and this extra details the history of 300 and his involvement with it.

Making of ‘300’: Promo looks at how the film was made.

Making ‘300’ in Images: Rapid-fire stills from the first day of production until the last day of shooting.

Webisodes: An hour's worth of material, in five minute segments, that were originally made for the ‘300’ website. They're all included here, and together make a nice overview of the production. These are the only features not in high definition.

Deleted Scenes: A short collection of scenes with Zack Snyder introducing each one. None feel particularly essential, although like everything else to do with this film, they are so cool.

Finally, ‘300’ is a chest-beating tale of bravery and valour set in Ancient Greece. Zack Snyder took special care to bring Frank Miller's beloved graphic novel to the screen, and his enthusiasm for the material is infectious. The image is just as the director intended it, and the sound is totally awesome and so much that it alone makes this Blu-ray disc worth purchasing. And while this Blu-ray disc has all of the supplements from the previous DVD release, most of them are in HD, they are missing several major interactive features found only on the DVD version. Still, for anyone who only wants to purchase this ‘300’ Premium Collection SteelBook Blu-ray disc is I feel the ultimate version to have in your Blu-ray Collection. On top of all that, when I saw this film at the cinema I was bowled over by the stunning images that were projected on the screen, but now owning my own personal copy makes the wait well worth it and having this Special SteelBook is another fantastic bonus, as it is so beautiful and stunning and is now pride of place in my Blu-ray Collection and on top of all that all the extras is another massive bonus, that will give you may endless hours of pleasure. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is SPARTA!, Oct. 12 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Ce commentaire est de: 300 (Bilingual) (Widescreen) (DVD)
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, 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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Movie Great Purchase, Oct. 4 2007
By 
Joseph Kayne (Victoria, B.C. Canada) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: 300 [HD DVD] (HD DVD)
The dark film grain of this title does not make it the best HD title on the market. The video transfer IS, however vastly superior to the release of this same movie on DVD. The sound quality is unmatched.

The Movie itself is a must own, no matter what format you buy in. This is Frank Miller's epic vision of the historic battle of Thermopoli and the 300 Spartans that died there. The pacing and story telling is superb.

What makes this title stand out, is the excellent bonus features, almost all in High Definition. The most compelling feature of this HD-DVD title is the picture in picture special feature that shows the movie in both the finished version and the pre-special effects version, giving you a dramatic insight into how this movie was made. The commentaries and behind the scenes videos are plentiful, and extremely informative.

If you own an HD-DVD player, this version is an absolute must for your collection. It even comes with the standard DVD version of the film on the flip side, so you can watch it in any player you like, or loan the movie to friends and family that haven't yet gone HD.

If the actual film hadn't been so grainy I would have given it a full 5 stars. Blame the director, not the format.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Visually stunning, great action, historically out to lunch, Sept. 7 2007
By 
Ben P. Robertson "Djangoboy" (Windsor, Nova Scotia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
300 is a terrific action film and no doubt owes a lot to the graphic novel in its visual style. Unfortunately, the film (and presumably the novel as well) plays pretty fast and loose with history. Just to cite a few examples:

- It gives the impression that the 300 Spartans fought nearly alone, with perhaps a few hundred other, less skilled Greeks playing a minor role. In fact, there were probably several thousand Greeks (the estimated numbers vary, but Historynet.com puts it at "300 Spartans, 80 Myceneans, 500 Tegeans, 700 Thespians and so forth, totaling about 4,900."

- The film has the Spartans fighting almost naked, dressed in little leather battle shorts, long flowing red capes, helmets, sandals, and little else, when in fact they were heavily armoured in leather and bronze. The armour of the Greek phalanxes gave them a decided advantage over the lightly dressed Persian forces. The buffed Spartan warriors do look impressive, and no doubt offers a visual treat to those who appreciate such things (if this movie had been about Amazons, I would have said, the less armour, the better!).

- It is unlikely that Xerxes was a 9 foot tall giant.

- The early battle scenes give a pretty good account of Greek phalanx warfare, with the hoplite soldiers arrayed shoulder-to-shoulder, forming an impenetrable wall of shields bristling with long spears. It has been said that phalanx warfare looked like a massive shoving match. Later, however, the Greeks break ranks and fight singly. While thrilling to watch, it is unlikely that they would have done so unless forced, because their great strength lay in the integrity of the phalanx.

Still, all in all, a very enjoyable film, well acted, with strong portrayals by both lead and supporting actors. Incredibly violent, but war is hell. If it introduces a wide audience to the story of the valiant stand at Thermopylae, so much the better (although some earlier posters seem not to have been paying much attention to detail - Spartacus? Spartan invasion of Persia? Oh, well).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GLORIOUS, Aug. 17 2007
It was the time of Gods and Immortals. It was the time of Kings and Warriors. It was the time of King Leonidas and his 300.

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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Action - Highly Satisfying Entertainment, Aug. 4 2014
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
The 3D version was a superb technological accomplishment. Of course, the historical veracity of the narrative was flawed but the final point of the movie was accomplished: a stunning visual and highly entertaining product. Even Eva Green's overacting blended in well with the movie's purpose. I believe that it would be difficult to find a better action movie.
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300 (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
300 (Bilingual) [Blu-ray] by Zack Snyder (Blu-ray - 2007)
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