Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, 300 surprised most industry insiders to become the first outright hit of 2007 in the US. I initially became aware of the film when browsing on the net and the publicity stills as well as the trailer looked fabulous. Without a star-studded cast or a prominent director, 300 relied on stunning visuals and the Frank Miller fan-base for a strong turnout. And in many ways, this film provides more mainstream appeal than Sin City (the other highly stylized Frank Miller adaptation).
The film opens with a short introduction about how Spartan boys are brought up to become fearsome warriors. The plot movies quickly and in no time, King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan warriors have set off to confront the Persian army. The film delivers non-stop action that is extremely well done – in fact, 300 offers the best action scenes I have seen in the last few years. Much has also been said of the amount of violence and gore in the film. I didn’t find it that excessive although there were a few beheadings; I found Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto much more gruesome.
Being based on a graphic novel, 300 doesn’t really pretend to be an epic film or an accurate historical. As a fantasy film, I find it compares favourably with Conan the Barbarian (which incidentally, I consider to be a landmark sword and sorcery film). It does not offer the scope or the visual finesse of the Lord Of The Ring trilogy, but on the other hand, the film does satisfy with more immediate thrills.
Verdict : Very highly recommended. One of the best fantasy films ever.