Monday, March 12, 2007

300 Blood Drops Per Minute

My parents left me. They returned home to chilly Michigan leaving us to enjoy our 60º sunny day and an evening showing of 300. We did more talking and eating before they left, but you don't want to hear about that, do you? Nooooo, you want to read a movie review? Oh. You don't?


So, first off, every frame was stylized to the hilt. Much hay has been made of the film's look - the blown-out highlights and exaggerated shadows, the burnished gold color cast, the desaturated color with rich textures of iron shields and rough robes - oh, and leather speedos. The film is beautiful, and I spent much of it trying to analyze how they created such gorgeous look. The story is an OLD story, done once again, not much deviation from form, but done rather well, I thought. The music and probably many of the stylistic elements on the Persians were anachronistic, but they worked with the stylization, and really, that's what you paid for. In fact, for its mix of electric guitars and plainsong solos, the soundtrack flowed well and added the bombast needed to make the look work.

The gore? Gory. They break up the battle sequences by focusing on the home front's political problems, so that helps, but it is not for the faint of stomach and most certainly not for anyone who thought they might be overplaying the gore factor in the previews. It's very balletic violence at times, but it is no less violent. I'm sure the CG people spent more time rendering blood droplets than just about anything else.

Honestly, I don't know what to think of the graphic novel's creator, Frank Miller. I didn't see Sin City (anther of his graphic novels adapted to film), but Hubster said the look of the film was incredible, and that he enjoyed it. If you don't mind gore, you liked the aesthetic you saw in the previews, and you've got $10 burning a hole in your pocket, hie thee to the cinema and see it. Otherwise, stay home and read Homer or something.


Jackscolon said...

I went and saw it this weekend also, and while I was probably more pumped for the release than you were, I left the theater feeling a bit... underwhelmed.

IMHO, the film needed the following elements:
1) Dialogue
2) Some sort of armor in or around the chestal region
3) Better narration
4) More sweet phalanx action- less "balletic" violence, but what can I say, I'm a purist.

Sin City was a much better movie.

J. Morgan Caler said...

I haven't seen it yet, but I am willing to bet that this movie gets a "zero" for historical accuracy. If it were accurate, it would be boring and wouldn't be called "300." That said, I'm not sure it makes any pretense at historicity. Aesthetics rules the day and that means aesthetics at every level, "what happened" not least of all.

Inviolable said...

JC: Dialogue? If we take the director's slavish adherence to Miller's comic, then any additional dialogue would have caused my 'crappy turn-of-phrase-ometer' to hit 11. I thought that some of Gorgo's worst moments were in her speech before the senate; as they reduced a nuanced character to a formulaic orator.

I can't stand those quick, 0.02 seconds per shot battle scenes typical of these sword-and-sandal epics. Call me jaded, but I've seen plenty of swordplay in plenty of movies and I'd much prefer an extended 'scripted' shot to 15 individual stabbings.

JMC: Don't expect *any* historical accuracy. In fact, don't expect anything. Not because the movie isn't a blast, but because I read a couple (erroneous, IMHO) reviews prior to going and I wasted too much time looking for things that weren't there. Its a spectacle, its an epic, and it is enthralling enough to be a must-watch movie.