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CinemaDave - "300" is smashing expectations

Mar. 18th, 2007 02:56 pm "300" is smashing expectations

The fate of the world is full of turning points. Upon
reflection moral clarity seems so simple, whether it
was William Wallace leading the Scots against the
English or Davy Crockett at the Alamo, heroic
sacrifice lives beyond tyrannical actions. While
battles were lost on the field, the war for humane
evolution has endured. "300" is the latest movie to
describe this notion of heroism in the face of defeat.

Perhaps the battle of Thermopylae is the first
documented example of drawing a line in the sand. 300
Spartans prevented thousands of Persians from invading
Greece civilization. Using trees, rocks, canyons as
their ally, the 300 hundred Spartans slowed the
invaders lead by Xerxes (Rodgrigo Santoro), a cruel
leader who believes he is a god. Beyond outnumbering
the Spartans 1000 to 1, the Persians incorporate
showmanship and diversionary tactics into their brand
of warfare, utilizing, ugly giants, raging rhinoceros
and elephants for combat.

Opposing Xeres is King Leonidas (Gerard Butler).
Leonidas is born of warrior blood and is trained by
his father to become a Spartan. At age 7, the boy is
taken to Spartan Training camp where he learns to
control his fear or die. As a rite of passage, young
Leonidas is abandoned in the mountains as part of his
vision quest. Upon his return, Leonidas marries Queen
Gorgo (Lena Headey) and rules Sparta with political
justice, Greek reasoning and Spartan nationalism.

"300" is the movie adaptation of a Frank Miller
graphic novel. The emphasis of this movie is on the
visualization with comic book gallows humor and dark
comedy. The first battle between the Spartans and the
Persians looks like the line of scrimmage of a
football or rugby game. There are moments of balletic
fencing and limb chopping. These scenes are brutal
for the weak hearted, but are artistically rendered.

The turning point of the battle occurs when a father
watches his son get decapitated. As the tide turns,
one sees betrayal that is plausible within the scope
of the narrative. For all of the graphic novel
spectacle on the green screen, "300" is a character
driven piece of cinema.

After years in supporting roles in films like "Lara
Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life" and "Timeline,"
Gerard Butler confidently takes on the leading man
reins as King Leonidas. This Scottish actor in Greek
makeup is reminiscent of Sean Connery from "Time
Bandits." Lena Headey is an equal match for her King
and she provides pragmatic feminism. Narration is performed
by David Wenham, veteran of "The Lord of the Rings" and "Van Helsing."

In eight days "300" has earned nearly 130 million dollars. Most elitist critics
have referred to this box office gross as another example of the downfall of civilization as we know it. It is these elitist critics that do not understand that the history presented in "300" marks when western civilization sacrificed itself against fanatical menace.

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Comments:

From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 19th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)

Excellent

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You are spot-on about the critics and 300. I enjoyed it very much as well!

-Eric (usmc3500@gmail.com)
From:cinemadave
Date:March 19th, 2007 10:40 am (UTC)

Re: Excellent

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Thanks Eric!
If usmc means that you are with the United States Marines, then I am humbled.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 19th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)

the 300 review

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The best review I have read yet. You are SO ON! You expressed things that I felt and thought as I viewed the movie. I ignored the blood spurting and limbs being chopped off and watched the choreography and, of course, Gerry Butler. I am a long-time fan and I am SO GLAD THIS FILM IS DOING SO WELL. I am not into violence; I am a veteran of the Viet Nam war. I was afraid the violence would get to me but it is not that kind of movie. It is artistic with messages and, also, you DO see the horror of war. More people need to see that so we can do away with wars as a way of solving problems or expressing emotions and opinions. This is a balanced film and women who are strong and sensitive will handle it and enjoy it, as I did. Many blessings, Alana
From:cinemadave
Date:March 20th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC)

Re: the 300 review

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Thank you for the kind and thoughtful words.

As the Greek philosopher Socrates said,
"Only the dead have seen the end of war."

My Generation Xers were born lucky, we were too young for Vietnam and too old for Desert Storm. So I am thankful to your contribution in protecting our country when it was not a popular thing to do.
Thank you Alana.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 23rd, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)

Re: the 300 review

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A fine review, Cinema Dave!

Ancient history films fascinate me, because when done well they can come as close as possible to taking us back to those times when civilization was young.

When I was first exposed to ancient history characters in grammar school I would hear the stupendous voice of Richard Burton as Alexander the Great in my head. Rex Harrison, Victor Mature, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston and many other fine artists come to mind when discussing such films. Today's young actors are continuing the tradition.

North Star
From:cinemadave
Date:March 24th, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)

Re: the 300 review

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Thanks North Star!

Burton, Harrison, Mature, Douglas and Heston really owned those gladiator movies. With the breakout success of "Gladiator," a new generation of actors are wearing sandals.

Gerard Butler really looked the part of the Spartan King.
From:yekong
Date:September 19th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)

Flasher in an airplane

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 What did a stewardess say to the flasher when he showed his member in the cabin?
"I asked for your ticket, not your stub tiffany bracelet."
From:hasyer
Date:April 12th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
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Thank you.

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