Friday, February 27, 2015

300 (2006)

I didn't plan to review 300. After watching 300: Rise of an Empire (2014) I felt I have to review this too. After watching this I had to change 300: Rise of an Empire review less favorable. Favorable version was never published.

300 is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel which was inspired by The 300 Spartans (1962). All are based on Battle of Thermopylae were 300 Spartans with some other Greek fought against Persian army. Movie was quite popular and resulted few lasting memes.

I didn't remember how much 300 had quiet moments. It is remembered for its over the top graphic violence. Sequel tried to repeat that with out giving us the silent moments or showing us the society. First half of this movie show us Spartan society and their values. At the time I couldn't name any other movie which had favorable view to eugenics. I can't remember any today either.

Movie tried to show us how Spartans saw themselves and eugenics were part of their values. Spartans had to be worthy to survive and their goal was glorious death in battle field. King Leonidas explained how phalanx worked and Spartans used it at beginning of the Battle of Thermopylae. But quite soon the battle turned into one against on battles because that looks cooler. At some parts movie tried to be historically accurate but forgot it for most of the second part. This was more than in Rise of an Empire. If you want to see more historically accurate version of this you should watch The 300 Spartans.

If you watch these movies back to back, correct order is 300: Rise of an Empire and then 300. You enjoy Rise of an Empire more that way. It felt quite good before I saw 300. 300 felt like light years ahead of Rise of an Empire. 300 has more nuances, it has more emotion, more quite moments and more charismatic cast. Every speech felt like they could encourage men to fight against overwhelming enemy. In Rise of an Empire I told 300 was more about fighting as a team. It wasn't as much as I remembered. Phalanx tactics were used and there were no spartan above the rest. But it wasn't much of a fighting as a team after movie forgot the phalanx which Spartans would have used in real life.

Movie caused some controversies when it showed Xerxes' forces as nightmarish group. It was forgotten that Spartans had their own nightmarish group called Ephors. Movie's style was to make everything over the top and comic like. This didn't try to be realistic. More realistic enemy wouldn't have worked in this movie. Movie was Spartan fantasy and it worked as such. This style is problematic in movies that base on real events. Enemies are real people, who don't like to be shown as nightmarish creatures. But then again these things happened thousands of years ago and this doesn't show anyone currently living as nightmarish or anyone who someone currently living has met.

If I ever have to make top 10 list of movies 300 will probably be on it. It is such perfect warrior fantasy in interesting world. It doesn't try to be accurate or politically correct. It has vision and it makes the vision work. It wouldn't get to top places since it doesn't reveal new things on every time you watch it. Best movies do that. It has same spirit as Conan the Barbarian but it looks better and is bit more sophisticated.

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