Friday, March 23, 2007

Special Delivery

Note: Today is a beautiful day in Guelph. I'm sitting at my desk (aka my footrest) with the window open and blasting some of the happiest tunes in my library. Today I cleaned up my room some and bought groceries. Tonight I'm going to see a contemporary production of Romeo and Juliet over on campus. Tomorrow morning I'm heading back to Hamilton for awhile, which will hopefully be a quiet place to learn my Acting monologue. Anyway, last night handed in this review for the film "300". It's actually been out since March 9th, so this is a little behind the times, but here it is anyway. Because of time constraints (procrastination) I didn't get time to edit it, and still haven't done so, but upon a second reading it seems a little flowery with the language. I don't usually write with so many adjectives. Feedback appreciated.

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300
is the ultimate guys-night-out film. Dripping testosterone out of every pore, this is a flick that delivers what it promised without a lot of extras. Co-written and directed by Zack Snyder, (Dawn of the Dead remake) the movie is based on Frank Miller’s (Sin City) graphic novels of the same name. It is classified under the genre of Historical Fiction as it depicts the ancient Battle of Thermopylae with much accuracy, but also with splashes of fantasy thrown in for flare. The number 300 comes from the number of elite Spartan soldiers who step up to defend Greece from the Persian war machine over one million strong. It is the story of their sacrifice.

The film is not a “good” one in the traditional sense. That is, where other films like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy excel in many aspects of the medium, 300 selects only a few. The rest is left by the wayside, which is why not everyone can enjoy this work. The plot, for instance, is fairly simplistic and predictable. It could even be called weak at points when you consider certain details, such as the fact that these Greek people, who founded democracy and believe in honor and justice, are also throwing away babies who don’t look strong enough to grow into Spartan warriors. The character development is also extremely lacking. When one of the “good guys” is decapitated in a surprise attack, we do not feel the remorse for his death that we should – or could.

Luckily for 300, most people going to see it probably won’t care about its failings. Snyder knew exactly who his audience would be and curved every essence of the film’s being to cater to his demographic. For instance, the main feature of the piece is its exquisite visuals, manufactured with blue screen technology to mirror the colour and form of Frank Miller’s artwork. Then of course there’s the action. The film pulses with riveting fight scenes, relentless and visceral, that occupy most of the running time. That said, the gratuitous violence does not come off as being overly extreme by virtue of its highly stylized nature. Films with less killing, like Apocalypto or even Reservoir Dogs, actually leave a bloodier trail in memory than 300 does. They didn’t forget to include a generous helping of sex into the film either, further tantalizing a male audience already drooling with bloodlust.

Yet, above all its other successes, 300’s most potent feature is its steadfast, explicit sense of virility. From the very notion of going up against insurmountable odds, to recklessly ignoring warnings from the wise, to throwing a boy on the threshold of manhood into a fight for survival with a wild winter wolf – all are drenched in unabashed masculinity. It is features like these that call upon the dormant wolf in every man, satisfying some primal lust for blood and glory. Snyder understands this well, and therefore 300 is riddled with these countless virile contrivances.

This focus makes the film very strong in what it attempts to be. Given the context modern films are put in – that is, one that dictates everyone that goes to see 300 knows what to expect – it is unlikely that very many people have been or will be disappointed with it. If that is so, then it must be somewhat “good”, even if it’s only in a certain sense. The bottom line is that it’s not a film for everyone. It’s a film for a particular audience, and for them, (you all know who you are) it will surely be excellent.


2 Comments:

At 10:35 PM, Blogger paul said...

Yea, I'd say you're spot on...Definetly not a chick flick haha. Although.. I've heard from a few girls that have seen it that they enjoyed the view of the mostly naked, rippppped spartans. Makes me jealous of their 8 packs.

I found the music complemented the action quite well, pumping you up even more. Some rock/metal or whatever mixed in with the action. Good stuff.

 
At 1:31 PM, Blogger Spunk Maestro said...

I wonder if I should post my 1000 word review as a comment lol. It totally pwns Dave's thats for sure.

 

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