In the same cinematic style of Sin City another Frank Miller graphic novel has found its way to the big screen. For those of you history buffs out there, you might recognize this story as the Battle of Thermopylae. Although 300 is large in part fictitious, the core elements of the historical story remain intact, and factual. Regardless of your knowledge of history, 300 is to be enjoyed by anyone, and everyone.
300 is told in a narrative from Spartan orator Dilios (David Wenham, The Lord of The Rings). It begins with a young Leonidas who is in the midst of his typical Spartan training. He is cast out into the wild and survive amongst the beasts throughout the winter, when he comes home he is crowned King of Sparta. Some time goes by and Leonidas (Gerard Butler, The Phantom of the Opera) now the fully grown Spartan King is faced with a problem. Persian King Xerxes sends messengers to Sparta demanding their submission to the Persian Empire. Insulted by the offer King Leonidas kicks the Persian messenger into a pit and the rest of his commandants follow shortly. Leonidas seeks the advice of the Oracle and requests permission to go to war, only to be denied. He then takes the matter into his own hands and gathers 300 of Spartaâ€™s best warriors, to take on the dominating numbers of the Persians. The Persians demand that the Spartans drop their arms but the persistent group of warriors will not let up and they try to hold up knowing that they are facing sure death.
Simply put 300 is a high octane movie, filled with some edge of your seat action and a surprisingly compelling story. But donâ€™t expect a Braveheart where you get a sincere story, instead expect comic book style action. This isnâ€™t a typical epic movie, there are some pretty extravagant elements including mutinous monsters and other over the top characters.
On top of all the great action sequences and a well written story, the real treat of this film was in several of the performances. Most notably were Gerard Butler, David Wenham, Dominic West, and Vincent Regan. They all played extremely convincing characters that added to the believability of the film, and in fact made it more engaging.
So this movie wasnâ€™t as emotional or loveable as Braveheart, not quite as compelling as Gladiator, and not as patriotic as The Patriot, but in its own right it can stand amongst the titans. Just enjoy the action, and maybe this story of 300 underdog warriors might just spark an interest in history for you.
Whether you like the film or not, you can not deny the impressive looking visuals and cinematography of 300. Fortunately Warner has replicated the look nearly flawlessly in this 2.40:1 Widescreen release.
The city of Sparta looks simply beautiful. With subtle detail on statues and walls to the solid crisp colors of the peopleâ€™s cloths, everything looks great. Of course the highlight of the transfer is the intense battle scenes scattered throughout the movie. From the red of the Spartanâ€™s robes to the chiseled detail of Leonidasâ€™s abs, everything here looks perfect.
The print is in perfect condition with no speckling or tears in the print. Grain is apparent throughout the film but this was clearly added by the director as it was apparent in theaters as well. Fans will be delighted with the transfer of 300 as it offers on the most visual pleasing transfers on DVD today.
Warner has included an explosive 5.1 Dolby Digital track with 300, one that will throw you in the middle of the Battle for Thermopylae. Like the video the audio track truly comes alive during the intense battles. The sound of several thousand Persian arrows coming down on the Spartans sounded spectacular as it moved from speaker to speaker. The charge of the Persian army into the strong Phalanx formation of the Spartans used a terrific amount of bass and rear channel support. You can almost feeling the force of running full speed into a Spartan shield, what a great sense of depth. With all this going on, plus the addition of music and dialogue, this is one active track. Surprisingly though, there were no balancing issues between dialogue, music and action sequences as each one flowed extremely well into one another. Warner has provided a spectacular sounding track, simply crank this on up and enjoy the superb sound field of 300.
This two disc set features an impressive amount of extras that fans will want to check out. The best feature of the disc has got to be the twenty-five minute long feature focusing on the real life Sparta.
- Audio Commentary – Commentary with Director Zack Synder and visual development crew.
- 300 Spartans â€“ Fact or Fiction – A 25 minute discussion with historians and creator Frank Miller on the life of Spartans. This feature is extremely interesting as it discuses the factual Leonidas, Xerxes and the Battle of Thermopylae.
- Who Were The Spartans? – Interviews with historians and cast including Gerald Butler on the Spartan army. This feature runs only 4 min and does not add much from the one above.
- Frank Millerâ€™s Tapes – A discussion with Frank Miller on how he began in the Graphic Novel business until the point of creating 300. This 15 minute feature should be checked by anyone who is interested in Frank Miller as it provides a lot of informative information on his work.
- Making 300 – Interviews with cast and crew including Director Zach Snyder and actor Gerard Butler. At 5 minutes this feature has a lot of overlap with the 300 Spartans and Who Were The Spartans? Feature.
- Making 300 In Images – A montage a still photos showing the creation of various battles scenes and sets. This feature would have been a lot better if it had been an in depth discussion instead of a 3 minute snippet of stills.
- Deleted Scenes – 3 deleted scenes with introduction from Director Zach Snyder. 2 of the scenes feature Ephialtes and both slowed down the flow of the movie as explained by Synder. The other scenes feature a giant commanded by the Persian army being taken down by a Spartan.
- Webisodes A 12 part feature that focuses on various production aspects from the visual look to costumes. At about 4 minutes a piece this set offers the most in depth look at the films creation.
The movie itself is quite an action packed adventure, which challenged the borderline of fantasy. Itâ€™s a great watch and has some really interesting cinematography, similar to that of Sin City. So this one is definitely worth the rental, and for those of you who like the genre itâ€™s worth a purchase especially considering its perfect audio and video transfers along with quite an impressive load of special features. Ultimately this disc is worth the purchase for fans of the movie, undoubtedly.