300, A Review

I was lucky enough to be invited to a press screening of ‘300‘ at the BFI Imax. It seems that us bloggers are now ‘digital press’, which, if it means I get to see free films is something I am more than happy to be.I’d like to make something clear, I don’t normally review films and I don’t read many, if any, film reviews. So what follows is my very individual take on the film. You may find it useful or interesting but at the end of the day it’s my views on the film and not an attempt to write a ‘proper’ film review.First off – if you ever get the chance to see a film at an IMAX, go. The screen is huge, the sound loosens your bowels (in a good way), and for film that has been specially filmed at 70mm the resolution is superb. The chairs are also rather comfy.As to the film itself. First off there is no plot. Oh sure, there is some vague attempt at a sideplot with what is happening in Sparta while the men are away fighting. The plot can be summed up as ‘300 Spartans fight off hordes of Persians and are an inspiration to the rest of the Greek people’. But you don’t go to a film like this for a plot, you go to a film like this to watch people fighting.There is lots of fighting.It is shot very prettily though, a vast majority of the scenes could be printed out as posters, the lighting and composition reminded me a lot of Caravaggio, and the comparison doesn’t end there with the large amount of stabby, stabby and beheadings in the film. Almost everything is shot on a ‘virtual set’ and this gives the film an unearthly feel; which somewhat serves the legendary setting.I’m not going to moan about the lack of historical accuracy, it’s been mentioned in other reviews by reviewers far clever than I. What I will say is that there is plenty of fighting with very stylised lighting and visual effects. That and there is so much slow motion that if it were all shown in normal speed the film would be half as long.So I enjoyed it – it’s a flashy rock video that really needs to be seen on a big screen rather than on a TV screen. Even better if you can see it on an IMAX (Which if you are in London or Manchester, you can).So in the end, I liked it, but I won’t be buying it on DVD.A few points.1) It seems that the Persians have a more inclusive role in the society for the disabled, yet they are the bad guys.2) Spartan men do like their beards and unshaven faces – but there wasn’t a single chest hair amongst all 300 of them. Being slightly cruel I’d also suggest that the makeup highlighting their abdominal musculature did bloody well not to run in the rain.3) Frank Miller’s politics are fully on show here. For something written long before the Iraq war, it fits some people’s perceptions of America’s place in the middle east rather too uncomfortably.4) After a big intro where it is made very clear that the Spartans are a bunch of child abusing nutters, the hero of the piece is seen kissing his son rather than throwing him to to wolves to see how tough he is.5) Rhinos and elephants were huge in olden times, the ones we see now are mere shadows of the Persian war machine.6) The costumers must have had an easy time of it – 90% of the costumes seems to be Cameo-esque red thongs.7) Most of the blood is CGI, but there isn’t enough of it – flecks of blood here and there when someone gets decapitated is not how things work in the real world. I’m guessing that too much CGI blood would have made the film an 18.8) It’s real easy in olden times to tell the bad guys who will betray you – they are ugly or disabled.9) 300? I barely counted 30 Spartans at any one time. Of course they all looked the same with their beards, shaved chests and red thongs.10) If you are a gay man who likes beefcake, I would imagine that there is a lot of eye candy for you here.11) Xerxes has a voice (and demeanour) straight out of the Go’uld from the Stargate TV series.Next – ‘Sunshine

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