300 bloody, but beautiful

Published 12:07 pm Friday, March 9, 2007


Warner Brothers Films

Directed by Zack Snyder

Starring Gerald Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, Vincent Regan, Rodrigo Santoro and David Wenham

Rated R

3 Stars

Admittedly, the new movie “300” is not for all tastes. This cinematic adaptation of Frank Miller’s famed graphic novel revels in swordplay and stylized carnage. Blood sprays out in a slow motion ballet that is both beautiful and disturbing at the same time. Heads and limbs are severed, half-naked women cavort with mutants and the entire film is touched by an over-the-top acting style that would be laughable in any film other than a comic book movie.

It’s not for all tastes, but if you’re a fan of hyper-violent graphic novels, this may very well be the perfect film.

Gerald Butler stars as the Spartan King Leonidas, a proud warrior who refuses to bow to any man. When the Persian Emperor Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) demands that Sparta yield before his massive army, Leonidas assembles the best 300 warriors to hold them off. This battle at Thermopylae has become the stuff of military legend, as the brave Spartans defended their freedom against overwhelming odds.

 “300” is obviously going to appeal mainly to young men, who’ll get a kick out of the bloodshed, although I’m not sure how they’ll react to the band of half-naked Spartans, which veers dangerously close to homoeroticism at times. Sexual issues aside, the strongest merit to “300” is found in its graphic design. The film looks exactly like the stylized comic book. I loved that the movie version of “Sin City” captured the Frank Miller look, and I’ve got to say that “300” does an even better job at putting the comic artwork up on the big screen.

“300” is bloody, but very beautiful. It revels in heroism, and while I wasn’t all that impressed by the acting, the cast was obviously cast for its physique rather than any acting abilities. Most notably, the art direction is drop-dead gorgeous. It’s early, but I can’t imagine another film coming out this year that will beat these “300” in the art department.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published Wednesdays and Fridays in “The Port ArthurNews.” He can be found weekly on KAVU-TV and KOLE and KVIC Radio. Additional reviews can be found at www.rottentomatoes.com, www.panews.com or at www.seanthemovieguy.com. Sean welcomes your comments via email atsmcbride@kavutv.com.

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