Flick Reviews: ‘300’ (2006)

As my excitement for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice rises up, I decided to quench my thirst by watching one of its director’s most recognized films. What I’m referring to is Zack Snyder’s historical action pic from 2006 – 300. The film follows King Leonidas of Sparta along with a force of 300 men fighting against the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. I’ve seen this movie a lot of times when I was younger, but after re-watching it earlier, I found it to be quite a regular movie compared to how I looked at it before.

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300 is brave but for nothing more other than to bring relentless amounts of entertainment. While it is indeed historically incorrect in every sense except for the men who call themselves “Spartans”, it should be put into mind that those seeking for historical accuracy shouldn’t be even looking for it in the first place. As it would be deemed pointless for the main goal of the film is to serve glorious, bloody fun and not fill our minds with how these men lived and what they were fighting for. But that is not to say that it is a brainless amusement engine. Though it kind of is like that. Nonetheless, there is still a story running in the background, yet it is kept in the shade of its stark and appealing visuals. Some of which might have just even served as the film’s main focus. 300’s aim is clear and evident and it stood out as a violent feast of comic book-like visuals that rouses the senses. It is simply Zack Snyder’s stylizing of history, and it is almost nothing more than that. He tends to over-exaggerate the characters’ thinking, and it somehow didn’t come out as convincing in spite of looking amusing. The Spartans, while looking valiant and heroic are rather over-glorified. They just seem to get on to the next battle without showing a deeper relationships, tending to make their bond with one another superficial and just for show. As opposed to how they should’ve really looked like.

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The result being, these “Spartans” ended up looking like rather heartless war-freaks and not bold warriors. However, they still delivered endless amounts of fun whenever they thrust their swords. Thinking that the historic Spartans are used for satisfying enjoyment is sad to think about, but for what good use is it when even the screenwriters didn’t seem to care to put those important elements in. They wanted to have fun with these noble swordsmen, and the film somehow somewhat gained from it. Despite the flaws, the film’s errors and mistakes are also quite beneficial to it. Without style and the cool battle sequences, it would be nothing. This is Snyder’s vision, and the film shows that it gains from its flaws simply thanks to how Snyder wanted it to be. Simply stated, 300 is just pure fun from start to finish but only if you try to overlook the bigger mistakes. The characters are all fascinating and are very fascinating to watch – from how they speak to how they think. Gerard Butler and co. were fantastic even if their character depictions aren’t too fulfilling in spite of Leonidas’ epic yells. You will be amazed at these courageous men, but only for how they thirst for blood and most importantly how they engage into war.

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Again, this is a flaw – one that rather stands out. How they quench their thirst for it is not even clearly stated let alone elaborated. While they aren’t anything too care about for too much (like the film almost states), they still could have been given at least a little bit more information about themselves and their cause. Because in the end, we’ll only be thinking of ourselves that “these men shed blood, but for what?” It almost doesn’t mean anything as these battle scenes aren’t given even the slightest of emotional weight for a war movie. Its action-packed moments are exactly like stated, and they never seem to stop. They only pause to let the story get in because it tries to still keep that intact. In the end, 300’s battle scenes are what you will be definitely be staying for until the end. Because then again, what more is there to stick around for? The story is all too muddled and the historical aspect is put in the corner. But again, you should take note that 300 is that movie that you pop in whenever you feel like you are lusting for the blood of armies. It definitely isn’t Gladiator, and it sure isn’t Spartacus, but what it is it its own kind along almost the same veins as its superiors. It stands out for that, and Snyder’s envisioning of the 300 Romans is a difficult task to replicate.

Rating:

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(This was a good movie, but the flaws seemed to bother me as it almost got in the way of the fun.)

Zack Snyder’s newest film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in Philippine cinemas on March 26 from Warner Bros. Pictures. See it in IMAX 3D!

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