Movie Details

300

This action adventure is faithfully adapted from the graphic novel 300 by Frank Miller in which Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his 300 Spartans fought to the last man against Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive army. Facing insurmountable odds, the Spartans` heroism and sacrifice inspires all of Greece to unite against the Persian invaders. The story is loosely based on the Battle of Thermopylae which took place in the summer of 480 BC.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: M18
Release Date: 8 Mar 2007
Genre: Action / Drama / War
Running Time: 1 Hour 57 Minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West
Director: Zack Snyder
Format: 35MM

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Review
Writer: Lim Chang Moh

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Watch this if you liked: "Sin City" and "Dawn Of The Dead"

"300" is the second of Frank Miller's graphic novels to be adapted for the big screen - after "Sin City" of 2005 - and Miller should not have any complaints about how Zack Snyder has visualised his sword-and-sandal epic. Snyder has not only been faithful to Miller's style and vision, he has also provided the adrenaline and testosterone thrills - plus a whole lot of graphically realistic violence and blood-letting (hence the 18PL classification).

Based on the Greek legend of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, the movie opens with a brief introduction to the militaristic traditions of Sparta where children, like Leonidas, are taught the art of sword-fighting as soon as they are old enough to hold a sword. They also learn about personal honour and respect - and never to yield to the enemy.

When he becomes king, Leonidas (Gerard Butler) receives word from a Persian emissary that Sparta and all of Greece should pay homage to King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) as ruler of the world - or face invasion by his massive army. When Leonidas refuses, he not only incurs the wrath of Xerxes but also that of his own council members for going against the exhortations of the Oracle (Kelly Graig) forbidding him from fighting the Persians.

The rest of the story, about how Leonidas leads 300 men against the hordes of foreign invaders, is now legend. The word 'Spartan' is synonymous with 'practical, simple and disciplined.'

'Spartan', however, does not describe the way Snyder brings the graphic novel to life. Most of the movie is filmed against a green screen backdrop where computer-generated backgrounds are incorporated into the print, giving the movie a surrealistic, comic book effect (just like what we got in "Sin City"). In filming the battle scenes, the camera is speeded up and slowed down, providing slow-motion close-ups and fast-paced shots of limbs and heads being severed -- with blood splattering all over the screen. There are also many shots of dead bodies being piled up - just to emphasise the results of the battles.

For the first half-hour or so, these graphically violent scenes are cool to watch but Snyder tends to repeat them throughout the movie - numbing the audience to the brutality in the process. The Spartan warriors are all about glory and sacrifice - and the cast, including Vincent Regan as Captain, Andrew Pleavin as Daxos and Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes - are suitably gungho to pass themselves off as sacrificial lambs all ready to accept Leonidas' invitation to 'dine in Hell'.

Snyder alternates the battle sequences with those of Queen Gorgo's (Lena Headey) attempts to rally the treacherous Theron (Dominic West) to her side and persuade the Council to send reinforcements to her husband. However, this political wrangling could have been developed and expanded to heighten the suspense and tension in between the battle scenes.

Avid cinema fans would also be reading about the touching love scene between Leonidas and her queen - and the nude Oracle scene - which had been exorcised from our cinemas. But never mind, there are enough thrills and spills and eye candy here for fans of Frank Miller to enjoy on the big screen. "300" is a visual feast that should excite our senses.

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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