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Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, 300 takes over the screen like an invading horde. With all the gushing blood of a horror movie and the scope of a classic epic, the second film from Zack Snyder (who helmed the 2004 remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD) is an impressive visual spectacle. Gerard Butler (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) plays Leonidas, the king of ancient Sparta. The city is famous for its warrior philosophy, and Leonidas won't kneel to the demands of Persia's King Xerxes (LOST's Rodrigo Santoro). I ... (Full plot summary below)
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Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, 300 takes over the screen like an invading horde. With all the gushing blood of a horror movie and the scope of a classic epic, the second film from Zack Snyder (who helmed the 2004 remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD) is an impressive visual spectacle. Gerard Butler (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) plays Leonidas, the king of ancient Sparta. The city is famous for its warrior philosophy, and Leonidas won't kneel to the demands of Persia's King Xerxes (LOST's Rodrigo Santoro). Instead, Leonidas leads his 300-strong army against Xerxes's army of millions. Meanwhile, his wife (Lena Headley, THE BROTHERS GRIMM) campaigns in Sparta for the city to send reinforcements as she butts heads with the treacherous Theron (Dominic West, THE WIRE). With its gore and scale, 300 marks director Snyder as a possible successor to Peter Jackson's throne. Jackson also got his start in horror with BAD TASTE and DEAD ALIVE, and the two men share a penchant for ambitious battle scenes. The huge fights in 300 rival Jackson's efforts in the LORD OF THE RINGS films. David Wenham, who starred in two of the Tolkien-based films, plays Dilios, one of the Spartan soldiers. Though the cast doesn't boast any A-list stars, the actors ably fill their larger-than-life roles. In a film filled with men, Headley stands out as Queen Gorgo. She matches her warrior husband in strength, while showing love toward Leonidas and their son. Though there are scenes that demonstrate the humanity of the characters, 300 is undeniably about bravery and blood, and it succeeds because of the stylish depictions of both.
In this ferocious retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae based on the epic graphic novel by Sin City creator Frank Miller, King Xerxes of Persia amasses an army of hundreds of thousands, drawn from Asia and Africa, to invade and conquer the tiny, divided nation of Greece in 481 B.C. But when the advancing Persian forces enter the treacherous mountain pass of Thermopylae, they encounter Spartan King Leonidas and his royal guard of soldiers numbering just 300. According to legend, their valor and sacrifice inspired all of Greece to unite against the Persian foe, planting the seeds of democracy and ushering in the Golden Age of Greece.
Greece. 480bc. The Persian army of over a million soldiers from all corners of the globe threatens to engulf Europe. Only a band of 300 Spartan soldiers lead by King Leonidas stand between Xerxes' hordes and total annihilation for the cradle of democracy...
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|Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips This is a mixed blessing. For a story replete with open-air combat 300 is strangely claustrophobic. And for a film with lotsa flesh and even more blood, it's light on flesh-and-blood characters.|
|Miami Herald Rene Rodriguez 300 is at its best when it settles for purely visceral thrills, such as Leonidas' battle against a hulking warrior twice the size of a normal man. The movie's broad strokes are all superlative: It's the details that keep 300 from being anything more than a striking curiosity.|
|San Francisco Chronicle Mick LaSalle Significantly, this hyper-stylization of 300 is limited to its visuals. The performances are played straight, and this combination -- straight performances and stylized visuals -- produces an uncanny effect.|
|Austin Chronicle Marc Savlov Not since Mario Bava's "Hercules in the Haunted World" has Greco-Roman movie-house mythmaking been so thoroughly well-conceived and executed.|
|ReelViews James Berardinelli 300 may not offer masterful storytelling in a conventional sense, but it's hard to beat as a spectacle and that makes it worthwhile viewing for all but the most squeamish of potential audience members.|
|Seattle Post-Intelligencer Gianni Truzzi Director Zack Snyder uses his computers to create ferocious and painterly images, with as much attention to each frame as a hand-drawn panel.|
|Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum Look, but don't be touched: There is much to see but little to remember in this telling of a battle we are meant never to forget.|
|New York Daily News Jack Mathews It's impossible not to be moved by its nearly nonstop visual assault.|