First let me preface this write-up by saying I’m very much a fan of the movie Sin City based on Frank Miller’s work. I think the movie did many things well and was very entertaining to watch. That being said, we move to a newly envisioned movie based on Miller’s graphic novel that is named 300. 300 is a movie that has just been released in theaters and its being hailed as a masterpiece, etc. It recounts the tale of an actual real life battle that occured in Thermoplyae where 300 spartans (in addition to ~4000 other soldiers) held off an army of 200,000 – 2 million. This story surely is one that’s ripe for epic storytelling. (Wiki Entry here)
Having no prior knowledge of the film, except to expect a movie of Braveheart/Gladiator proportions, I went to see it. This expectation turned out to be its undoing. Unlike Braveheart or Gladiator, 300 would probably best described as a film of the genre of magical realism. The reasoning behind this is due to the stark contrast between very believable elements in the story to elements which push the boundaries of (and sometimes break it) suspension of disbelief. It is though the film suffers from a split personality as I will try to explain. The film had great potential for being a very gripping entertaining film, however key issues inhibited the actualization of its potential.
To try to boil the issues down into its core component parts I chose a bulleted listing:
- The graphics of some elements in the movie seemed rubbery and fake, reminiscent of late 1990s graphics (ex. decapitated heads, some scenery, some texturing). Yet some scenes, action sequences and special effects seemed all too real.
- I did not care for the creative direction when it came to the film style, including the over exposure of scene elements. It made it difficult to focus on the apparent subject of the scene and forced attention off screen. (ex. the tree of slaughtered greeks)
- Normally I have no problems with nudity in a film. However in a film like this I expected that if there was nudity, it would somehow be relevant or underscore some important aspect of a scene. The scene in question is the oracle scene where the oracle is entranced and writhes about half naked for several seconds. Why? What significance is there for this? This seemed like nudity just for the sake of nudity.
- The dialogue at some points seemed well written, smart, witty and even meaningful. Yet in other scenes the dialogue was diluted and corny. I cannot account for the dichotomy of the dialogue.
- The narrator, which we assume is a reliable narrator brings up an issue of consitency. In the film the narrator was sent home from the battle to recount the tale. However, the narrator left before the end of the battle but yet recounted the tale as if he were there. If he was a character in the story, can he also be omniscent? If the end of the movie was not being retold by the narrator then in my opinion there wasn’t a clear enough demarcation between the shift in point of view.
Having only seen this film once, I may have misinterpreted or incorrectly remembered some of the scenes. That being said I will probably see the film again when it hits DVD to be sure my analysis is correct.
Well, suffice to say, I did not like this film and I think its the worst film I’ve ever seen. Having seen some of the worst films of all time, I was surprised at the fact I was actively repulsed by the film 300. I would rank this film somewhere below Killer Clowns from Outer Space, which to my recollection was pretty bad.