sure critics tore "300" to shreds, calling it "overscaled and overwrought" and a "visually dull picture." the fact that the movie then quickly banked $70 million speaks volumes. all i have to say is that the critics must be totally high. actually, this movie is so masculine and so heterosexual you can smell the spartan testosterone all the way from the audience. no wonder the critics hate it so much.
300 is based on frank miller's graphic novel which is based on the ancient battle of thermopylae in which king leonidas (deftly portrayed by gerard butler) and 300 spartans fought to the death for democracy and freedom against the "godking" xerxes and his massive persian army. yes, this is a film based on a graphic novel. that is the beauty behind 300's incredible film techniques which mix live action and virtual backgrounds to bring the novelist's vision to life.
from a catholic perspective, it is an emotional portrayal of a cohesive unit. spartan boys are trained to live and fight as "one" and to live or die for one another. the women wait for the men at home, caring for their young ones. but, heads up, ladies: some of the most intense scenes involve the fiesty queen gorgo (played by the beautiful lena headey - whom i remember from the merchant-ivory classic "remains of the day"), the embodiment of the strong, sexy spartan wife and mother. king xerxes and his minions are portrayed as whorish, evil, and eerily effeminate. caveat: after you get a look into the debauchery that lies in xerxes' camp, you may have a sudden urge to take a shower to remove the grit.
smockdaddy, who has read several accounts of the battle at thermopylea, has seen the epic twice and thinks it's a visually stunning film with incredible battle sequences and shakespearean dialogue. i think it is a very seductive, very intense movie that i look forward to seeing again...hopefully at IMAX. how coolmoe would that be?
the bottom line: this movie is an intense action film about a very bloody battle and it does not disappoint.
*rated R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity.