With the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I thought it would be nice to take a look at some other releases by Zack Snyder before I show my review of BvS. Today, let’s look at 300.
I actually really like Zack Snyder. I think he’s inventive in terms of his filmmaking and that can be clearly proven in his Spartan epic, 300. 300 takes place in 480 B.C. and tells the tale of King Leonidas of Sparta and his fight against the Persians. Along for the ride are 300 of Spartan men who are essentially riding to their doom. They know that the Persian army is too strong, but they still fight all the way to the end. It’s a classic tale of going against an large empire with a small force and I really like that aspect.
The action is incredible when it comes to 300. The backdrop filled with flying arrows and bloody spears makes the landscape feel grand and epic in scope. Snyder did something really cool in this movie when it came to action. He would slow things down to show the setup of the fight in glorious visuals and then speed up the action to increase the films brutality. This effect also has a negative effect, however, because it overly exemplifies the “manliness” of the Spartans (the video below shows what I mean).
I just think Mr. Snack Cider went way too far with moments in the action and that somewhat took the movie out of realism. Though the movie doesn’t focus on realism, I’m still not that drawn into the film’s lore. Films can be drowned in fantasy and still have that sense of realism that draws viewers. However, 300 doesn’t try to make the viewers believe in the world that the movie exists in. Instead, it does the opposite by creating characters that clearly didn’t exist during this time. For a movie that somewhat presents itself as a depiction of something that actually happened (the 300 spartans who challenged Xerxes I in Thermopylae), it doesn’t do a good job in reminding us that this was an event that existed in our world.
Despite its lack of realism, the movie benefits from ready-made one liners that exist in almost every scene of the film. This movie has become on of the more quotable films in recent memory. Lines such as “THIS IS SPARTA” and “TONIGHT, WE DINE IN HELL” are just super quotable. Though they are cheesy, who cares?
The acting also blends very well with 300’s world. Since the movie is super manly, Gerard Butler was a perfect choice for Leonidas. He’s fantastic in every scene that he’s in and he really shows us why Leonidas I is the legend that he is today. Though his acting is over-the-top, the movie itself is over-the-top so it doesn’t feel out of line at all. The inclusion of Michael Fassbender is also interesting. Fassbender doesn’t usually play crazy people in movies and I just thought it was fun to see Fassbender playing a blood-crazed, young Spartan warrior.
While 300 boasts terrific action and awesome protagonists, it lacks a decent antagonist. Xerxes just comes off as weird and creepy. There isn’t any depth at all added to the character – he’s just evil ruler #300 (see what I did there…) and he isn’t great. His grandeur is only seen through his clothing and lines given by other characters. He himself doesn’t appear terrifying when he should be.
Sack of Snyder (pretzels) is good when it comes to visuals, but he just doesn’t do that well when it comes to actually telling a story. This was a major problem in Batman v Superman (the review for that will be up when I’m done with some more Tic-Tac Spider reviews).
Overall, 300 is good if not just okay. It benefits from wonderful action, awesome one-liners, and fairly good acting. It also features director Zack Snyder’s ability to portray epic scope and grand visuals. However, it fails to present a coherent plot and values visuals over storytelling. That’s it for 300 then. Next time I do a Zack Snyder review, it’s going to be for Watchmen.
What do you think about 300? Do you like Zack Snyder as a director? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks!
Categories: Movie/TV Reviews