63°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

300

300
King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) leads his Spartans into battle
300

Frank Miller’s 300, for those that don’t know, is the big screen adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. Miller’s Sin City series of graphic novels were a hit with fans and critics alike when Robert Rodriguez adapted them into movie form in 2005, leaving big shoes for writer/director Zach Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) to fill, and he doesn’t disappoint. 300 tells the story of a group of Spartans led by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) who face overwhelming odds to defend Greece from the invading forces of Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). Leonadis’ 300 Spartans are all that stand between the marauding Persian war-machine and the destruction of Greece and all of western civilization.

To describe the film’s 300 Spartans as only half naked would be generous; apparently the battle dress of ancient Greece consisted of nothing more than a Speedo and a big red cape. The women of Sparta are only slightly more clothed. There is really only one female character of any consequence in the film, which is otherwise dominated by men that feel really good about their bodies.

300 is a highly stylized, bloody, heart-pumping, and testosterone-drenched retelling of the ancient battle of Thermopylae. The action of the film really kicks off when a Persian emissary talks smack about the Queen of Spartan and Leonidas quickly treats him and his associates to a one-way trip down a bottomless well. From there the Spartans move out to meet the Persians on the field of battle and the entire second act is nearly non-stop action, with only a few brief interludes where the focus is shifted back to the politics of Sparta. There, Queen Gorgo tries to bump and grind her way into the good graces of a corrupt councilman who opposes a troop surge to assist in the battle with Persia. Meanwhile back at the “Hot Gates” Leonidas breaks from turning Persians into human kabobs to growl and snarl at Xerxes’ request that he kneel before the masochistic body and facial-piercing-riddled God-King of Persia.

The action scenes themselves are impeccably cut, alternating between slow motion and hyper-speed, as the 300 Spartans plow their way through wave after wave of faceless Persian spear fodder. That’s when the Persians bring out their WMDs, sending giant badass armor plated rhinos and enormous elephants that would put those pansies from When Animals Attack to shame. The effects of the film are jaw-dropping; the gorgeous computer generated environments are rendered with such detail and care that you might actually take your eyes away from all the dismemberment going on for a moment to enjoy the corpse-strewn landscape.

300 is also graced with a subtle sense of humor toward its over-the-top action such as Leonidas gnashing on an apple and proclaiming “there’s no reason we can’t be civilized” as his Spartans drive their spears through the heads and chest cavities of half-dead Persian warriors.

The final act of the film attempts to establish some type of characterization; there’s betrayal, sacrifice, loss, love, revenge and a hunchback with a harem. These scenes, however, seem to only be there to allow the audience to collectively catch their breath in anticipation of the final glorious stand in the face of overwhelming odds. 300 pulls no punches and definitely earns its R rating, it’s Sin City B.C. with more blunt force trauma. It’s time for all the guys who were dragged by their girlfriends to see Music and Lyrics to get a little payback. I’d give 300 three and a half bloody, mutilated torsos out of five.