Monday, March 12, 2007

"300" - Battle Hardened

Sorry this review is coming in a little bit late. I had to battle my way through Xerxes' army on the way over here, with just one other person at my side.

As LoKor pointed out, "300" was the top film at the box office this weekend. Not a big surprise. Nor, really, is the general reaction to it. "300' is a long, bloody, albeit sometimes very pretty picture to watch. The basic premise is 300 Spartans stand up to the entire Persian army, because they have been ordered by Greek wise men not to engage in a full war.

I think that the best way to review this film is by using the old saying, "you get what you've asked for." Knowing full well that this movie is about 300 men trying to stay alive against insurmountable odds for as long as possible, no viewer should go in expecting anything less than at least 3/4 of the films 117 minute running time to be spent on the battle field. However, that aside, there's no reason why 1/2 of that time had to be spent in slow motion. Sometimes, yes, for effect, seeing a beheading or an impaling in slow-mo can be cool. Yet not every beheading or impaling should be in slow-mo. Slow motion was used so much throughout this film, that I was actually wondering what some of the violence would have looked like in real time. I worked on a film last summer where the director wanted nearly every shot to be a dolly shot. Well, yes, dolly work looks good on the monitor. It will look good every time. However, that does not mean that when all is said and done, he could neglect the fact that he had dollyed the previous scene, and could therefore do it again. The same goes for the use of slow-mo in "300;" it looks cool here and there, but I feel like the filmmakers forgot they had used it 12 times already, so they used it another 48 times. Enough was enough.

In the end, this film, like the Spartans, is strong enough to stand alone... but know what you're in for. It is a very macho, blood and boob filled flick, where when the men aren't engaging in a "mine is bigger than yours" on the battlefield, they're doing so by seeing who can shout the loudest, most manly things. Is it a pretty picture? Absolutely. Is it a pretty good action movie? Yes. Does it sometimes get repetitive? Yep. Did I always understand why the Spartans gave up their shelter and tactical advantages to just jump into the oncoming army and fight? No, there were only 300 of them. That was dumb. Bottom line: see it if you want a good bit of escape for 2 hours, but certainly do not let any hype you might hear influence your expectations. You will most likely be let down.


P.S. Don't you just love it when critics try too hard to come up with a clever title, and it doesn't wind up giving even the slightest hint of what they thought of the film?

No comments: