I feel robbed.

That I spent $11.95 on this travesty of a movie represents a major error of judgment; I’m mortified just thinking of it. From the overwrought dialogue to the ham-fisted acting to the insufferable narration, this movie managed to do what I thought impossible. It undershot my already meagre expectations.

Wait, wait… Let’s rewind a bit. It wasn’t my intention to watch 300. I’d showed up at at the Varsity for The Namesake but the last showing was sold out. Reluctant to return to Brampton empty-handed, I scanned the board and selected 300, a movie that:

  • I had not watched before
  • Was starting fairly soon
  • Had name and trailer recognition

Half an hour in I considered walking out and cutting my losses, but stayed out of a masochistic desire to “get my money’s worth”. Others weren’t so forgiving and chose to escape well before the closing credits.

I wasn’t expecting Oscar-caliber performances, historical truism, or a meaningful plot, but whoever slapped this thing together seemed intent on satisfying their adolescent fantasies. Lots of cutting, thrusting and flying blood? Rah! Plenty of washboard stomachs? Rah! Gratuitous nudity? Rah! And on the topic of nudity…why? I suppose it’s nice to know that the Oracle has a penchant for see-through gossamer and that Leonidas has a healthy relationship with his wife, but in what way did it advance the plot? Oh – I forgot – adolescent fantasies.

It was just…bad. The dialogue, though aspiring – I think – for gravity, was merely pedestrian, if that. It also felt strangely disjointed, an effect compounded by lackluster delivery. The narrator was particularly obnoxious, choosing the most inopportune moments to share the obvious. I remember a particular scene where the narrator breaks in to announce that the Spartans were walking through a valley. I suppose the visuals of Spartans picking their way through razor-edged rocks and bordered by high walls just wasn’t enough. And he just kept doing it, again and again. The characters? They were, by far, the most one-dimensional lot I’ve had the misfortune of witnessing. Did I care if Leonidas lived or died? No. Did I marvel at the bravery, the courage of his troupe? No. Did I care what happened to anyone?

The entire movie felt like an in-game cut-scene that overstayed its welcome, an impression heightened by the visual direction the movie employed. I can’t slag the visual effects though – I thought they were particularly well done – and hope they’ll be replicated in a more deserving venue. And while we’re on the topic of visual effects – what’s with the overuse of slow motion?

Bah. At any rate, the consolation is…

There is no consolation. I want my two hours back.

If you really want to watch 300, download the trailer – it’s better than the movie. If you really want to spend $11.95, buy a child a book. Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to salvage my day by working on Baghdad Express.

1 comment

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  • To each their own I guess :) It thought the film was AWESOME. Having loved the source material (Frank Miller’s comic… my FAVOURITE Frank Miller comic) I went in with high expectations, but also knowing EXACTLY what I was getting into.

    (btw, the comic had a LOT more nudity than the film… mostly guys though… Spartans didn’t wear much more than a cloak)

    Indeed, it’s just violence.. that’s what the film is… but it’s about a BATTLE… nothing more… so if there WASN’T violence (I think back to the original, “300 Spartans” film… what horridness THAT was) it would be kind of silly.

    As for delivery: I thought Gerard Butler was FANTASTIC as Leonidas. Thoroughly convincing in his role.

    Yes, it’s basically a bunch of fighting and shouting and special visual effects galore… but that’s what the film IS.

    But that’s why I say, “to each their own”. This sort of escape from reality that doesn’t require much thinking is something I most definitely enjoy watching on occasion. I can’t take a serious / artsy / thought provoking film ALL the time… it’s just too much.