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300 (2-Disc Edition) - 14.98

Like Sin City before it, 300 brings Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's graphic novel vividly to life. Gerard Butler (Beowulf and Grendel, The Phantom of the Opera) radiates pure power and charisma as Leonidas, the Grecian king who leads 300 of his fellow Spartans (including David Wenham of The Lord of the Rings, Michael Fassbender, and Andrew Pleavin) into a battle against the overwhelming force of Persian invaders. Their only hope is to neutralise the numerical advantage by confronting the Persians, led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), at the narrow strait of Thermopylae.

More engaging than Troy, the tepid and somewhat similar epic of ancient Greece, 300 is also comparable to Sin City in that the actors were shot on green screen, then added to digitally created backgrounds. The effort pays off in a strikingly stylised look and huge, sweeping battle scenes. However, it's not as to-the-letter faithful to Miller's source material as Sin City was. The plot is the same, and many of the book's images are represented just about perfectly. But some extra material has been added, including new villains (who would be considered "bosses" if this were a video game, and it often feels like one) and a political subplot involving new characters and a significantly expanded role for the Queen of Sparta (Lena Headey). While this subplot by director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) and his fellow co-writers does break up the violence, most fans would probably dismiss it as filler if it didn't involve the sexy Headey. Other viewers, of course, will be turned off by the waves of spurting blood, flying body parts, and surging testosterone. (The six-pack abs are also relentless, and the movie has more and less nudity--more female, less male--than the graphic novel.) Still, as a representation of Miller's work and as an ancient-themed action flick with a modern edge, 300 delivers. --David Horiuchi

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.0):

Rating: 5:
Where can i start ? : The film was simply breathtaking... Each wonderfull set of CGI fight scenes to the wonderfull backdrops was perfect.. I went to the flicks expecting an average film, and what i got was a film that is probably my fav film all year with the exception of transformers... I had no idea of the history of 300 and to be honest, you dont need to know. It really was that good... My only complaint could be that the blood was not like real dark red blood, but filmed within the colours surrounding the shots at the time... I KNOW ! thats how it was ment to be !
Buy it and watch it again and again !

Rating: 5:
Fantastic! : Excellent stuff. The fight scenes are in particularly useful, especially if you work in a secondary school, like I do.

Rating: 4:
THE BATTLE AT THERMOPYLAE... : This film recreates the events that led up to the battle at Thermopylae, the battle itself, and its aftermath. It tells the story of how King Leonidas of Sparta with 300 of Sparta's best trained warriors fought a battle to the death, fending of a horde of thousands of soldiers lead by the Persian King Xerxes, who was intent on conquering all the Greeks, literally heading them off at the pass at Thermopylae. Greece, at the time of the battle, was not a single entity but, rather, a compilation of city states. Spartans were known for their highly developed physical attributes and their well trained phalanx of fighting men. The Athenians, on the other hand, tended to be the scholars and philosophers.

The general story is well told, and the cast is superlative, giving excellent performances. Special kudos go to Gerald Butler for his portrayal of King Leonidas, a man for whom duty and honor is everything. Also noteworthy is the beautifully nuanced performance of Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo, wife to King Leonidas. In her hands, the queen comes alive as a vibrant, intelligent, helpmate to the king, unafraid of voicing her opinion and capable of doing what is necessary to ensure that the King is well-served. Lest anyone think that contemporary norms are what drive her portrayal, one need know that Spartan woman held a position of respect in their culture.

What I found distracting about the film were the special effects, as it had a somewhat jarring effect. At times, I felt as if I were watching one of my son's video games, as that is what it resembled, especially during the battle scenes. It was somewhat cartoonish and, I felt, diminished the film. Of course, the film is based upon the graphic novel, "300", by Frank Miller, which is pretty much a hardcover comic book, and it appears that the director of the film stayed to true to the source of his inspiration.

The battle at Thermopylae, however, is one of history's great stories, and it is a shame that it had to be reduced to something simulating an arcade experience. I venture to say, however, that that is one of the attributes of the film that others may really enjoy. It is simply a matter of different strokes for different folks, and viewers will probably divide on this issue along generational lines. No matter which side of the divide in which one may find oneself, one will, undoubtedly, enjoy this well-acted film. I know that I did.

Rating: 3:
meh its not that good : i would get this film based on its visual effects and cgi backgrounds but the film is a bit long and drawn out so it can get very boreing

Rating: 5:
THE FILM IS FANTASTIC! (or should that be Spartantastic?!) : Don't listen to any of these negative reviewers, this film is absolutely FANTASTIC. I saw it in the cinema and I am literally counting the days until the DVD release.

For the girls, this film contains some of the most lucious examples of buff blokes I have ever seen (better even than Brad in Troy because there's so many of them!) but for guys the film is an action hero spectacular. I don't know a single person, male or female, that didn't rave about this movie when they saw it (even if it was for different reasons!).

Could this be the ultimate couple friendly movie? Action for the boys and eye candy for the girls?

I'm off to pre-order my copy now!

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