Monday, February 26, 2007
300 - /* this is Sparta ! */
Tonight we dine in hell!
Devotees of graphic sex and blood and violence should have no qualms with the spectacular success of Frank Miller's 300.
In a time long long ago there is a king - a mighty king who commanded and inspired the respect the loyalty of his soldiers. And not just loyalty but love, and he loved his soldiers back openly and warmly.
The magnificent Gerard Butler freshly chiselled from Beowulf and Grendel [and Phantom of the Opera]is Leonidas - the King of Sparta.
Since the age of seven until the age they become men, the boys have been inured and thrown into the rigours of training and pain against each other. Learning stealth and courage. And they grew up to be men. And he to become King.
With the forces of the outside world pressing upon his borders, an emissary from Xerxes of Persia a human who dared to think himself a god came to ask for an offering of earth and water from Leonidas - and in turn his land would be spared, his people saved from the tyranny of slavery, the woman and children unharmed. Contray to the saying do not shoot the messenger, the emissary and his entourage are shoved into the bottomless well. This is the world where only the hard survive, and actions whether they be cruel or kind are decisive.
"THIS IS SPARTA!"
This is the world of 300 - Frank Miller's newest adaptation blazed across the screen. Any fan of Frank Miller's Sin City have even more violent action and vim and vigour to look forward to. Blood flies without mercy or remorse from the soldiers.
Leonidas is a king among kings - he is cut, buff, strong, he commands his troops with a mighty voice and an open heart - he shows wisdom and courage - he is decisive, he is strong, he is a skillful lover of his Queen who has already borne him a son, a son ready for the trials son who someday will be the next King. He is mighty with shield and sword. With but a handful of 300 of his finest soldiers, he sets out in defiance against the keepers of the oracles [ the most beautiful of Spartan woman who have been brought up to speak as the voices of the gods ] who stay the army itself from marching with Leonidas because it is the high holiday. The story of the 300 is of daring and fortitude and defying the odds - 300 against the legions of Persian ships and the milliards of soldiers they bring. The 300 fight not only with only shield and sword against just Persian men and arrow but the Immortals [ the most cunning and deadliest of the Persian army ] as well as fantastical and phantasmagorical creatures not seen on this earth since the Lord of the Rings. The amazing score reinforces the total sense of nobility and majesty.
The landscape of 300 stretches far and wide in the mountainous valleys where the Spartan army hopes to hem the Persians in - funnel them into the chasm so that the foes' numerical superiority will not matter. The colours on screen are burnished in a patina of golden brown and red. Tanned muscles ripple in amazing one on one battle scenes showing the Spartan soldiers skill with sword and shield, their utter speed shown in stop time, in defence formation their resolve shown in the savage thrust of spear into horse and muscle as wave of soldiers and calvary come upon them or one Spartan against many. And on the first day they are victorious, and build a wall of their fallen foes. But for how long can they last in the face of an endless enemy? Can the Queen persuade the Spartan senate unknownst to them led by politician corrupted by Persian gold to let the Spartan army march north in time to save and aid her King?
Lovers of Sin City will find 300 an enthralling tale of the exemplary example of heroes fighting for their country - with honour and dignity to the end - adhering to their creed: no retreat no surrender that is Spartan law - to be remembered for all time.