Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Movie Review: 300

There must be an internal competition in Hollywood for the most dead bodies and/or soldiers in one shot, and 300 is defiantly leading. The movie, with its blood splatter title promises action, blood and… more action. It delivers stunningly. Arthur Millar’s graphic novel sheds the confines of pages and comes to life with a distinct comic book flavour in this action flick.

The movie as not nearly as stylized as predecessors like Sin City, but still makes you feel like you are taking part in a good graphic novel. Each shot is well planned and well staged, like a picture. With the constant slow motion you have plenty of time to appreciate the frame and small details of the shot, as well as marvel at the amount of buffing up the actors had to do for this movie. The action sequences are cleanly shot, full of body and, of course, blood. The filmmakers don’t follow the cheap strategy of shaky camerawork and constant angle changes to represent action, but instead depend on the physical power of their actors, extras and stuntmen. This approach to filming makes for beautiful and rewarding action sequences. The movie’s stylization also makes it more accessible to the viewer who might have found the style of Sin City or Sky Captain too heavy. By weaving between the harsh and noble sides of Sparta, the movie establishes a very dark theme. The opening shot of baby skulls, already sets you on the track for a dark and gloomy story. The storytelling itself captures comic book elements through a overlooking narrator and short, to the point, dialogue.

The overall dialogue in the move is very weak. The constant mismatch between the characters’ personas and words beg for a better writer. Every word uttered is needlessly dramatic, and quickly looses its effect; much like people that overuse powerful quotes, the writers have squandered all the drama inherent in their words. Thankfully, the story is not word driven, but action driven.

The story itself is well known and predictable. You never face surprises, and everything is clear cut and expected. The only thing that can surprise you is how many kick ass moves the choreographers can imagine. It feels like the writers tried to incorporate surprise and shock into the story, but they failed at it. The story is interesting, and hints at history, but in general is lacking.

In the end, you don’t watch this movie for dialogue or story. This movie was created for watching muscular men and women in kick-ass action scenes. The movie achieves everything it promises, but does not excel past this. This is perhaps the only reason it can not rate about a four on my scale. However, all in all this is a wonderful movie, and I recommend it to all action fans.

For a more positive analysis, read Oliver’s review.



Blogger Oli said...

Good review. You got a lot things I didn't end up mentioning, and I think we were thinking along the same lines.

Man...I'd cite one of the scenes/action sequences, but there are too many good ones...

10:28 PM  

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