King Leonidas and his Mighty 300
So there is much hype surrounding Zach Snyder-directed 300, which opened on March 9. Since then, it’s gone on to gross more than $70 million in it’s first weekend alone, smashing multiple box office records along the way. Many have weighed in on the movie, attributing
its success from everything to a compelling storyline and characters to mere eye-candy. The Yahoo! critics rated the movie at a B-, while everyday yahoo! users rated it a B+.
Largely to blame for the absence of any ‘A’ ratings is the fact that the plot is straight forward, and with that, I would agree. However, I will say that you really can’t fault the movie, or it’s makers, for not presenting an ‘interesting’ or ‘captivating’ plot to the audience. At the other end of the spectrum, many critics claim that the movie wasn’t historical enough. To that I will say this: “It’s an adaptation of a graphic novel, get over it”. For those who don’t know what a graphic novel is, it’s simply a comic book (pictures and all) for adults. This means more pages, bigger words, and more complex plots…but it’s essentially a comic book.
Movies made from comic books are not meant to be historically accurate. I take, in particular, issue with one critics statements on CNN that Xerxes, the leader of the invading Persian army, didn’t look “Persian enough”; which is to say he was neither dark, nor short enough, to be convincingly Persian.
Well, how else do you portray a “God-king, ruler of all Kings” other than tall, heavily made-up, an adorn with all manner of rings and other jewelry? Also, please keep in mind that the movie is an adaptation of a graphic novel, not some dusty manuscript dug up in some Tehran library (or Athens library, for that matter).
Despite, however, all the critics nit-picking about this, that, or the other, the numbers will never lie; 300 delivers exactly what audiences expected from it, outstanding graphics, a story that’s true (enough) to history, and plenty of blood.
Also, I must make mention of the scoring of the movie. Movies are told through music as much as they are told through words, and Tyler Bates delivers some of his best work today. This is saying a lot, considering his library of films includes Dawn of the Dead, Get Carter, and others. He is as talented as he is versatile, and the marriage of rock/classical/middle-eastern rhythms and melodies that make up the 300 score points to this fact.
This very comic book-esque retelling of King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae really nails its target market of male 20-30 somethings. It’s graphic, deliciously violent, but, above all, the movie has a heart. It’s not all brutes , blood, and babes (though it has plenty of those to go around). What does it have? I’ll leave that for you to find out.