Five Easy Pieces

September 6, 2007


Filed under: Movies — danletscher @ 8:04 am

The hype was huge, the marketing endless – starting at the Super Bowl, a good month and a half ahead of the release date in March 2007.  This was the next picture from the graphic novelist Frank Miller – think “Sin City”, if you saw it you know the comic book stance it took, if you didn’t, adjust your perception and watch it, it’s a great flick.  Directed by Zack Snyder (now anchored to the film version of “Watchmen”, the mecca of comic book novellas), “300” is an action flick, no doubt about it.  It’s gory, bloody and somewhat gratuitously directed at everything with a penis.  The (1) half-naked oracle who predicts Sparta’s fall to the Persians and (2) the debauched harem of Xerxes, the self-proclaimed Persian god looking to wipe out Sparta and all of Greece, are the two signs that the filmmakers wanted to be sure every male would come to the theater and not feel like they were lured into a gay recruitment demonstration (think “Airplane”, the comment about Gladiator movies, you get the idea). 


Seriously though, it was an Ok film.  I was a little tired of the slo-mo battle after a while.  The camera tricks, quick zooms, slo-mo-to-to-really-fast-mo-and-then-really-really-slo-mo, you know what I mean.  The battles were brutal and bloody.  The courage and honor of the Spartans are things of lore – so unbelievably deep and unyielding that death is but an expectation.  You almost think they have a chance when you see the tactics and discipline of their battle manner.  But the end is already determined and predictable even at that time.  It still is impressive to watch in such a manner as Frank Miller presents.  I read the book (or graphic novel if you please) before I saw the film and it is amazing how well it is captured on film. 


King Leonidas is an iconic leader, devoted and rock-hard in his stance of giving no deference to Xerxes, ruler of the Persian Empire.  Gerard Butler is a brute force as an actor in his portrayal.  If you watch it, look at his eyes, forget the beard and listen to his voice.  It’s Mel Gibson before he got all crazy with the Lethal Weapon sequels and 90’s junk.  Mel came close to this intensity again in “Signs” but hasn’t done much worthy of his capabilities in a long while.  (And after catching “Braveheart” here and there on cable, that flick’s lost a LOT of its luster.  The battles are impressive but give me “Rob Roy” any day of the week over “Braveheart”).


The movie drags a little and could have been 20 or so minutes shorter.  But it was a worthy diversion from reality and a visual feast of effects.

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