The epic movie 300 has finally been thrust upon us like a Spartan spear, and I have to say, it freaking rocked.
First off, let me say, this movie is not for the faint of heart. Since its based on a Frank Miller work, you know from the start that its going to be unequivocally violent and bloody, so be prepared for the excess of splattered blood (you may want to bring a poncho or something if you sit in the front row). Throw in Zack Snyder (who directed the Land of the Dead remake), and you have even more cause for blood and gore.
The movie focuses really on two separate (but united in a way) storylines, that of King Leonidas of Sparta, and his wife, Queen Gorgo. With Xerxes and the Persian Empire looking to acquire Sparta, King Leonidas feels that it must be defended, however, without the blessing of the Oracles, Sparta will not go to war. Therefore, King Leonidas takes it upon himself to "take a stroll" with 300 of Sparta's best soldiers, with the goal of defending Sparta from Xerxes procession until Queen Gorgo can convince Sparta that the rest of the army (some 10,000) should march to their defense. Most of the movie is spent with the 300 soldiers, as they face wave after wave of Persian soldiers. Interspersed throughout, however, are scenes involving Queen Gorgo, as she struggles with the thought that her husband might not come back, and a corrupt Spartan who makes it difficult for her to receive any audience with the Counsel to advocate for war.
The story is solid (albeit formulaic, and about as solid as one could expect from a movie like this), and the acting is done very well. Many of the fight scenes really get you pumped, and are very well done. Snyder uses various camera effects (mainly stopping the action, then speeding it up) to emphasize the sheer brute force that the Spartans exhibit to defend their territory. The dialogue is never really cheesy or anything, and the lines are spoken with conviction. All in all, the movie really does an excellent job of conveying the presence that the Spartans exhibit, as the Persian attackers begin to question their advantage, and even fear the mere 300 Spartan soldiers they are fighting.
In the end, this movie really works. There's enough action scenes for the men, and most women I've talked to won't complain about watching 300 barechested (and some CGIed sixpacks) men fighting, so it has something for everyone. I wouldn't expect to get an Oscar winning movie, as its not really going for that. Snyder did a phenomenal job helming this epic movie, and none of the blood seems wasted. What it is going for is a kickass movie where Spartans just go at it, and it definitely accomplishes this feat. I mean, why else are you seeing this movie if you're not in it for the gratuitous violence?
Overall score: 70 out of 100