"I like to be the race car when I play thermopoly"--Crusader Dave
Whether or not 300 has a political agenda (I think it does) it is a god-damn bang up film. I normally don't like CGI. It looks fake to me. But director Zack Snyder has solved that problem by making the whole film look fake, and therefore the CGI effects don't look out of place. This is kind of a fallback to the old rotoscope epics of animator Ralph Bakshi (Fire and Ice, Lord of the Rings, Wizards), who created some of the most amazing animated mvies by shooting a live action film in a studio and then hand painting each frame to creating an animation cell, creating the most lifelike movement ever seen in animated films up to that point (computers now do this at a touch of a button for insurnance commercials, and you put Andy Sirkis in a motion capture suit and you've got an almost realistic animated monkey or gollum).
As an action pic this film can't be beat. It is all action all the time, but action built around a famous story of heorism and sacrifice. Self Sacrifice--the tracig melodrama--always makes for great cinema. The king is noble, his queen regal, his spartans heroic, the Persians villainous. And the stalized batle scenes just keep coming and coming. I didn't mind at all that most of it was in clow motion, or even that the Spartans kept breaking ranks to make the battles look more dramatic (300 guys standing in a phalanx movint their spears backa nd forth two feet in each direction wouldn't look so cool after ten seconds, let alone two hours).
I don't know if there will be mor movies made like this. I hope not too many, as this is yet another example of how the computer can put a lot of people out of work. (scenic artists, properties people, carpenters, etc.). But this movie opened to $70M this weekend, the fourth surprise hit of the winter film season (along with Wild Hogs, Ghost Rider, and Norbit--though it comes as no surprise to my students, who are usually a better gauge than the critics on just about everything). It's bound to have some influence oh how films are made in the future.
My girlfriend wants me to add the following: it's the best beefcake movie she's seen in years--better than Troy even. It is full of cut men in speedoes (too bad: they should actually be naked, like ont he vases and the David painting). There is more eye-candy for girls and gays than there is for straight males (though what there is is very nice to look at). By Duchess Megan's Movie scale this is the perfect film: hot guys with tight butts kicking ass against the bad guys. A formula for success.
But should we go see such a mindless, manipulative tragic melodrama, which seems to be a propoganda film for George Bush's version of foreign policy (some people have seen George Bush in Xerxes, and he's there too if to you George is a villain, but Termopoly has been seen as a valliant last stand defending Western Europe from all the ordes of Asia--as it is put in the film--for the last 2,487 years, so the political position of this film may not even be intentional but it's there)? Of course we should go! It's a great movie!
Let me put it this way: this weekend I also saw The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo's unapologetically pro-terrorist film from 1966 about the Algierian revolution of the 1950s (it was based on a book by one of the leaders of the resistance, who for the most part plays himself in the movie--it's politics are pretty clear). That was a great movie. A classic. One of the most critically aclaimed films of all time, and (interestingly) used as a training film for both terrorists and at the Pentagon.
I had a lot more fun at 300, and you will too.