I am a big sucker for period movies. And because I heard very average reviews about 300, I was looking forward to watching it with less than average enthusiasm. Well honestly, I enjoyed the movie. It was not the lesson in greek history which made it interesting, it was the cutting edge use of CGI ( computer generated imagery). Its absolutely stunning and never has a battle scene looked so good.
Now for the storyline. 300 is based on the true story of the ‘Battle of Thermopylae” – when a group of a few thousand men of Sparta and Greece stood agaisnt the Persian attack of demi-god Xerxes I. The movie opens with a snapshot of the life of the average Spartan male – born,bred and trained to be ruthless soldiers. When Persian messangers bring the ultimatum – surrender or perish- the brave King Leonidas I decides to do the latter – for the sake of glory and freedom. He is determined to retain the freedom of his country and men from the large armies of Asia, led by Xerxes. Unfortunately, the Oracle that leads Sparta, predicts that Sparta will lose the war and the ephors ( priests to the god) refuse to give permission for the King to go to war. Leonidas senses the corruption in the religious orders and takes his 300 personal body guards to the Hot Gates – a strategic pass that is so funnelled that the numbers of the asian army will not matter. He is joined by the other greek armies and what follows is a spectacular 3 day battle where the few thousand wage havoc on the 100 odd thousand soldiers of the asian army. Alas, it is a losing battle, and as no support comes from the council of sparta Leonidas knows his time is limited. A traitor betrays their only weakness and seeing the sure defeat , Leonidas retains only 300 of the spartan soldiers and sends the rest off. These 300 soldiers become sympbol of freedom vs tyranny for Greek history forever. They lived and died by spartan law – either win or die on the battle field but never surrender.
Now the interesting thing to note that the movie is quite true to the actual account even down to some dialogues. The most famous one – when the Persian army warns Leonidas to surrender his weapons and he replies – “Come and get them”. This is actually inscribed under his statue in Greece. The details to the costumes,sets and the actual fighting techniques is informative and interesting. And the when the story is on the universal theme – Good vs evil, freedom vs slavery, emotions run high. Its also a story of inspiration of what motivated men can do to retain their freedom.
The casting is good. I am not familiar with any actors but the performances were brilliant. Also the typical saga of indescretions and conspiracies in the court of the king add spice to the story. There is not much of a story then the basic story of that one battle – its all fight scenes and special effects. Lots and lots of gory bloodshed.
Verdict- I enjoyed watching it. But is not a must watch. Gladiator and LOTR were better.