cross the threshold

Prepare for glory

After a number of disappointing trips to the Cineplex--the latest being the shameful waste of time and money that is Ghost Rider--300 delivers on the promise of its enticing advertising and marketing.

I admit I went in with high hopes, despite myself. But, when the theatre brightened, after the end credits rolled, I sat in my seat thoroughly wowed. 300 paints a gorgeous canvas and conjures a thrilling and satisfying adventure. Most of all, it captures the exhilaration of reading Frank Miller’s graphic masterpiece on which it’s based. Not let that sway you from seeing this film. You don’t have to be a Miller fan or have read the source material (or looked at its cinematically drawn panels) to enjoy this celluloid excursion.

We’ve seen before filmmakers push the boundaries of actors-against-green/blue screen creations, manufacturing the hyper-reality pseudo-photo world of comics in CGI. 300 owes much to Tron, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and last year’s Sin City (Miller’s other triumph). Like those films, 300 foregoes settings on location with its actors in real environments, instead it digitally heightens performances for dramatic effect and inserts backgrounds, landscapes, and its blood and mayhem.

What 300 surpasses in accomplishing is not only to render Frank Miller’s artistry in motion effectively, but also to reinvent classical mythic storytelling as few films have achieved. It’s played with all the force and verbosity of a Greek tragedy, sumptuous and imaginative with both its digital and practice production design, cast with actor who not only look the part but also can act, and does not shy away from the blood and carnage a against-all-odds movie like this must have.

Curious about critics’ reviews, I checked out Yahoo! Movies’ 300 webpage. Needless to say, the number of negative and mixed critiques disappointed. Many critics acknowledge the visual mastery of 300 but condemn its characters as underdeveloped and its tone as over-the-top and stilted. They rail against the testosterone portrait of the Spartan ethos.

These critics miss the point that it’s a mythic story (actually, one of the great literary archetypes) of legendary larger-than-life heroes. Though based on actual events, at its core 300 is a morality play about loyalty, sacrifice and defiance when freedoms are threatened. It is not history. It is the stuff that inspires others to shape history. It’s the campfire story told on film—and if you see the movie, the filmmakers demonstrate this point literally.

Critics and their opinions aside, I believe generations to came will be watching 300 and filmmakers will be forever attempting to recreate it.

Directed byZack Snyder
Produced byGianni Nunnari
Mark Canton
Bernie Goldmann
Jeffrey Silver
Written byScreenplay:
Zack Snyder
Kurt Johnstad
Comic Book:
Frank Miller
StarringGerard Butler
Lena Headey
David Wenham
Dominic West
Rodrigo Santoro
Andrew Tiernan
Music byTyler Bates
CinematographyLarry Fong
Editing byWilliam Hoy
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date(s)Flag of Greece March 8, 2007
Flag of United States March 9, 2007

Flag of Australia March 22, 2007
Flag of United Kingdom March 23, 2007
Running time117 mins.
CountryFlag of United States United States
Budget$65 million
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