-Spartans, what is your profession? (King Leonidas to his retinue)
-Ahuou (300 Spartans scream together)
-You see old friend, I brought more soldiers than you did.
King Leonidas to a Greek general, complaining of the lack of Spartan soldiers.
This movie is based upon a graphic novel written and drawn by Frank Miller (300, Published by Dark Horse Comics), and painted by Lynn Varley in 1999, 300 recounts the efforts of the last great battle of Sparta against the millions of the Persian Army of Xerxes. This battle is known as the Battle of Thermopylae and took place historically in the Antiquity in 480BC. Frank Miller and Lynn Varley do great work, if you are interested you should also check out the marvelous graphic novel Elektra Live Again from Epic Comics, an old Marvel Comic Imprint.
All of these scenes were filmed in a warehouse. None of the backgrounds are real. This helped the movie producers minimize costs as they did not have to hire thousands of extras or go on location. This movie surprisingly opened with 70 million dollars at the American box-office in its first weekend. It had cost 60 million to produce, in a bluescreen film studio in Montreal.
The story revolves around King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae. The Persians were invading from the north and King Leonidas asked the oracle for the right to go to war. His request was refused and King Leonidas went for a stroll with 300 bodyguards.
At the pass of Thermopyale, the Spartans stood their ground and fought for a few days, repelling the Persian forces that numbered in the millions. They battle cavalry, the Persian Immortals, rhinos, elephants and all sorts of crazy creatures, yet they still survive to construct a wall out of the bodies of their slain foes.
A hunchbacked Ephilates betrays the Spartans, after being rejected from battle because of his defects by Leonidas. He betrays the Spartans to the Persians.
In the movie, the Persians are portrayed as despicable hedonists, indulging in every whim. The Spartans defeat the Persian Immortals as well as anything that the might Xerxes can throw at them.
In the end, the Spartans give up their lives while the Greek flee back to warn their fellows. Queen Gorgo tries to muster support for her king, but to no avail. At last, a traitor is revealed in the Spartans’ council chambers.
The Spartans die, but they come back to defeat the Persians at a later battle.
* * * * *
This movie is a correct adaptation of the comic book. Basically, the scriptwriters tried to follow panel after panel in their script design. The comic book was special, because each 2 pages were one large comic-book panel.
It is an enjoyable movie and made me read up on this battle and a few other battles, like the Battle of Marathon in the Antiquity. What really fascinates me is Leonidas and other great generals of the past and how they managed to defeat a vastly superior enemy with an almost minute force.
I liked the movie, though the super slow motion shots were just a tad too many in this feature. Maybe this movie isn’t historically correct on some facts, but it served its purpose. What really is surprising is that the movie was completely shot in a warehouse in Montreal.
You can notice this because some of the voices are reflected sometimes when the actors scream, which happens a lot. The sound doesn’t flow natural and is bounced back off the set.
There is some nudity in this movie, and it’s not distasteful. Frankly I was surprised that there wasn’t even more nudity. We all know that the Greeks liked to wrestle naked.
Between this movie and Sin City, I liked Sin City a lot better, by far. But Sin City was a lot more complicated. This was a battle between Titans, not complicated but very enjoyable. I recommend it.
A really interesting fact I found on wikipedia:Xerxes I remained incredulous. According to another account, he sent emissaries to the Greek forces. At first, he asked Leonidas to join him by offering the kingship of all Greece. Leonidas answered: “If you knew what is good in life, you would abstain from wishing for foreign things. For me it is better to die for Greece than to be monarch over my compatriots.”
Then Xerxes I asked him more forcefully to surrender their arms. To this Leonidas gave his noted answer:
- Μολών Λαβέ
- (pronounced: /molɔːn labe/),
meaning “Come and get them”. This quote has been repeated by many later generals and politicians in order to express an army’s or nation’s determination to not surrender without a battle.
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