Sunday, March 02, 2008

Humor amid chiseled abs

300 (2007, USA, Director Zack Snyder)

I avoided watching 300 when it was released in 2007 because I didn't expect much from the film. The trailers gave a sampling of the rich computer generated visuals while I figured the rest of the movie would be more slicing, dicing and chopping. Well, I finally decided to forgo my low expectations and give the film a viewing. In a way I am glad I saw the film because otherwise I would have missed the following:

  • Freaks and more freaks:

  • 300 does a great job of collecting more freaks than found in some alien movies. And although the 'bad' guys contained more freaks, it was good to see the film-makers ensure that the 'good' guys also contained some abnormal characters.

  • Plenty of humour:

  • I had no idea that 300 was such a hilarious watch. Right from the first frame, the film provided as much humour as a B grade movie with plenty of bad acting, comical dialogues and more bad acting. I don't believe Frank Miller's graphic novel was meant to be this funny. But Zack Snyder ensured that 300 felt like a spoof film. I suppose given how many cold hearted dark films came out in 2007, Snyder felt that his film should provide some light hearted humor despite its darkish tones.

  • Great Character study:

  • It was fascinating to watch the powerful well built men strut around but bogged down by insecurity. The insecure feelings were best personified by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) who needed to utter "SPARTA" every chance he got lest he forget who he was or where his roots lay. Also, it was interesting to observe the sheer arrogance of the SPARTANS. Even the Spartan narrator could not resist making fun of the Acadians who were risking their life to help their fellow Spartans. That is because the Spartans considered all other men weak and puny. I suppose only real men do not have any chest hair.

  • Degrading the enemy:

  • Had I not seen the film, I would have missed the humiliating extent to which the 'enemy' was depicted. I would have missed how the powerful king Xerxes was shown as a transvestite, further ensuring that Leonidas would never give up to such an unmanly person.

    Overall, I would have missed such a great example of B grade cinema.

    Rating: 4/10

    Note: Having watched 300, I am dreading what Zack Snyder will do to the intelligent graphic novel Watchmen. Alan Moore's Watchmen is a fascinating story which is packed with multiple complicated layers of politics & relationships. However, I am afraid that Snyder might only extract a tiny portion of the story and film that for the 2009 film version.

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