Thursday, 19 March 2015


300 is not a good movie.

In fact, I'd be willing to go so far as to call this a bad movie. Although I don't think the word bad quite covers it. Neither do the words terrible, horrendous or even atrocious. There needs to exist a word that combines all of the attributes of the previous words into just one word. I'll come back to that later, for now let's just get through this movie shall we?

Not even into the menu and I already hate it. Why is United Kingdom on the last page? It's just frustrating.

The movie starts with an admittedly cool voiceover about the Spartans and how all of their babies were inspected at birth. Those that were small, sickly or mishapen were thrown off of a cliff to die. Although all I can think about during the scene is that the pile of bones would probably have been eaten by wild animals long ago.
Seriously, it's like an all-you-can-eat buffet of dead babies.

The movie then goes on at length about the child being trained to be a true Spartan. You don't have to pay attention during this bit, the characters yell about it enough that even the densest individual would get it.

Eventually the boy undergoes his final test, wherein he has to battle a wolf with nothing but a spear.
Literally. Not even a cape to protect him from the snow. That ancient Greece was so well known for.
Also, he should be dead from exposure.
Luckily for Leonidas, the wolf loudly proclaims its' intent with a growl. Something wolves are known for. It's part of their regular attack strategy. (Spoiler: It's not.)
Even more fortunately, the wolf traps itself with a suicidal lunge into a cavern, allowing Leonidas time to kill it.

Finally the actual plot gets underway with Persian messengers riding into Sparta.
In the friendliest manner possible of course. Good thing Spartans are in the habit of letting heavily-armed strangers ride right up to the palace steps.
Also, Spartans wore armour.
Sure is a good thing that today's lesson was about respect and honour. Imagine if they were scheduled for next week.
Leonidas then meets the messenger, who tells them that the God-king Xerxes wants to rule Sparta.
Xerxes is referred to as God-king a lot in this movie. But a simple Google search reveals that the highest title he referred to himself as was 'King of kings' (A title that would later be stolen by some other dude who did call himself a God).
Why he had to stand in front of the well to deliver his message is never explained.
The Spartans of course don't like surrendering without a fight (Or even with one) and say so.
Then murders the messenger in cold blood. Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen.
Although, why did the well have to be so big? Or deep? There's no winch to lower and raise a bucket. No fencing around it either, which is dangerous considering how much the Greeks liked to get drunk.
Leonidas then decides to go see the oracle in order to get her permission to go to war.
Apparently he doesn't like stairs.
"You could have just used the stairs dumbass."
Leonidas argues with the old men about whether he should battle or not (Should have thought of that before kicking the messenger into a well). The old men say that the festival of Carnea is approaching and that Sparta never goes to war during this time. 
This is true.
However, the festival of Carnea lasted until the 15th of August. The battle of Thermopalye started on the 20th August at the earliest.
Making this scene entirely pointless.
Don't worry, there's a lot more of this movie that's utterly pointless.
For example, this scene is both pointless and gross.
I think the only reason this scene was included was so that Frank Miller could see boobs. There's a theory on the internet that Frank Miller thinks there are only two types of women, little girls who need to be protected and whores. I'm not sure which the oracle is, but judging by the voice-over during the scene, she's going from one to the other.
Leonidas then goes on to ignore the oracle too. But that's a good thing, since we then discover that the old men had been bribed by a servant of Xerxes!
Why do his eyes glow? Human eyes don't do that.
Not that it matters since this guy never appears again.
We then get treated to a sex scene that adds nothing to the movie.
Twenty minutes in and we've already seen two sets of boobs. Yep, it's a Frank Miller movie all right.
Spartans armour was actually very advanced for its time.
Leonidas inspects the troops, all 300 of them. Some other old men have a go at him, but admittedly Leonidas is pretty badass in how he gets around the ban on war. Not that the political intrigue goes anywhere. It's also unneccesary since, historically, Athens had already agreed to battle against the Persians. Themistocles led a naval battle to help prevent the Spartans from being flanked.
But that would mean someone other than Leonidas would get glory and we can't have that now can we?
Some other Greeks do appear though, ready to battle to defend their home.
Greek armour was layered. Did you know that?
But Leonidas calls them wimps and they get ignored for pretty much the entirety of the movie. Historically there were 7,000 of them and they held the line when the Spartans got tired (There were 3 full days of fighting and even Spartans are human). But Frank Miller doesn't care about them so only one got any more lines, all of which are cowardly in order to make the Spartans seem more badass.

Then there's an entire scene about a small child dying in Leonidas's arms, but since it adds even less to the story than the sex scene, we'll skip over it.

The Greeks eventually reach Thermopalye (30 minutes in) and see the Persian ships (despite the fact that historically they marched around the Agaetean Sea in a rather impressive manner). Somehow it goes from roughly noon to night-time before the ships can drop their soldiers off and they get destroyed by the fury of Zeus, to the wild cheers of the Spartans.
Seen here, somehow not dying of exposure.
To be fair, this is awesome.

But enough of Xerxes army disembarks to cover the Northern landscape with men. After a little argument and another genuinely cool line (Spoken by someone other than Leonidas no less) Leonidas meets the hunchback of Notre Dame. I mean Sparta.
That's him, the Gollum wannabe.
His name is Ephialtes, who historically had nothing to do with Sparta. Certainly wasn't deformed. But I guess 2,000 years of being demonised does that to a man.
Leonidas notices that Ephialtes wears the clothes of a Spartan (He says armour, but nobody seems to wear any so why he says it is a mystery) and we get his life story. All he wants is to fight and die for Sparta.
Leonidas says that since Ephialtes can't lift his shield high enough to protect the guy to his left, he can't fit into a phalanx and therefor can't fight for Sparta. Remember that. It's important. 

It doesn't occur to Leonidas that Ephialtes could go on the far left, where the cliff wall is, or the far right where the regular Spartan wouldn't have anyone defending him anyway.

So Leonidas sends Ephialtes away as useless, somehow not hearing Ephialtes screaming to the heavens that he will have his revenge.

Leonidas then has a conversation with the Captain about the secret path that leads around their blockade. The Captain voices concerns about Xerxes finding it but Leonidas says that they're safe as long as no-one tells Xerxes.
"As long as that hunchback whose dreams I just crushed doesn't sell us out, we're golden." - Leonidas
Then the fighting finally starts (40 minutes into the movie) and it is boring. Lots of yelling, lots of people getting stabbed and not much else. Until this happens.
Seriously, look up Spartan armour on Wikipedia, it's a good read.

Leonidas strides out in front the phalanx and fights Persians. Nobody's protecting him, he certainly isn't protecting the soldier to his left. Makes his whole speech about how important it is to be able to raise your shield rather hypocritical and stupid.
In fact, this guy doesn't deserve to be called Leonidas. The real Leonidas was a great warrior and gifted strategist. This man's an idiot. In honour of the great Linkara (Whom you should all be watching anyway) I rename him Bearded Idiot.
For example, this scene, wherein the Bearded Idiot tells his men to push the Persians off the cliff. Realistically, this would open up their flank to the rest of Xerxes army and allow for a counter-charge.
But instead Xerxes decides that since they're all wearing nothing but their underwear, he'll just shoot them.
It turns out that, mathematically speaking, you could fire enough arrows to block out the sun. You'd have to have a lot of them and would have to aim far over their heads, but it would be possible. And heck, it might even distract the Spartans long enough for that counter-charge that should be happening.
After the battle Xerxes meets Bearded Idiot to attempt to intimidate him into surrender.
No historical basis for that palanquin either
This is where we get our first good look at the film's primary antagonist.
The God-king Xerxes and his cod-piece of Godliness.
Yep, he looks just as ridiculous as everyone else in this movie. For comparison purposes, here's what the real Xerxes looked like.
How Frank Miller went from that to the giant dildo wrapped in gold chains is a mystery for the ages. And Miller's psychiatrist.
Bearded Idiot basically tells Mighty Codpiece to shove it where the sun don't shine and they part ways. More battles happen wherein Bearded Idiot and his men completely ignore the phalanx formation.
Seen here battling some Power Rangers villains.
It's like if Sauron wanted to capture Angel Grove.
But didn't have the budget.
If Xerxes could get on top of the cliff, why didn't he take some archers with him?
Miller apparently doesn't know the difference between Asia and Africa.
There's also a fight against a rhino. Although rhinos were never used in warfare since they can't be trained, their skin is sensitive, their eyesight is terrible and they're more likely to charge their handlers than the enemy.
These guys are throwing blackpowder. When I first saw this scene I wondered if the Persian empire went far enough East to have access to China. Turns out that yes, it did.
About 1,000 years before the invention of blackpowder, but it did.
They also forgot how big elephants actually are.

During the battle the Captain's son breaks formation (For the 50th time) and gets beheaded for it.
How he didn't hear the horse galloping is a mystery.
It's supposed to be a tragic moment but it just comes off as contrived and cheesy. Not even the good cheese, the smelly kind that people eat in France.

Eventually the movie takes a break from fighting to check in on Ephialtes, who's being seduced by Xerxes' promises of pleasure.
My notes for this scene simply say "Frank Miller has issues".
Ephialtes gives in and after the way Bearded Idiot treated him, I can't say I blame him.
Somehow the Spartans discover that Xerxes knows about the secret pass and have a discussion with the other Greeks about whether they should retreat or not.
The Spartan idea of a discussion.
Leonidas wants the other Greeks to retreat and evacuate Athens, but they refuse to abandon their allies. Eventually they agree but leave 1,100 men behind to back the Spartans up.

Oh sorry, I was thinking of actual history. Bearded Idiot instead reckons they should all stay and die worthlessly while the others have more than two brain cells to rub together.
This is why you shouldn't get your history from Hollywood folks.

Bearded Idiot then gives a speech about dying for freedom. It's the exact same generic speech we've all heard a thousand times, only with the added hypocrisy of owning slaves.

Look at the symbolism. Look at it!

He then sends Belios (Or whatever his name was, who cares at this point?) to rally the Spartans at home. It also turns out that Belios was the narrator the whole time, which makes this next bit confusing.

Why have those dude on the bottom left got their bows out? They can't see what they're shooting at.
Who wouldn't betray Sparta for a hat like that?
All that for a Klondike bar?
Every time he raises his arms he has to be careful not to tear his nipples off.
You know what helps arrow wounds? ARMOUR!
Yep, Belios manages to narrate something he wasn't actually there for. Dude must be frigging psychic. His voice-over (Which goes on for far too long) states that the Spartans were descended from Hercules himself. Bit of an odd thing for a Greek to say. They called him Heracles.

The film wraps up pretty quickly after this. Belios tells some old people about what happened and he persuades them to go to war, thus setting up the sequel (Which I will have to get for next weeks' review, ugh). All in all a pretty crap movie right? But wait, there's more.

Wait, there's a woman in this picture?
Throughout the entire film we've had cutaways to the Queen and her attempts to persuade the council of old people to go to war. As I've already pointed out, they had already agreed historically. But Frank Miller wanted his Bearded Idiot to be a rebel who sticks it to the Man, since Americans hate the Man. Most of it concerns her trying to get Theron on her side.

This douche-nugget
Theron spends the entire film leering over the Queen. When she asks him for help he decides that he will. But only if he can have his way with her.

My notes for this scene simply state that Miller has serious issues.
But shock horror, when it comes time to go before the council he betrays her. Who would have thought that the sneering rapist would go back on his word? So the Queen does the only logical thing. She stabs him.

Fortunately for her, Theron chose to take his bribe money into the council chambers.
Everyone gets all up in arms about Theron being a traitor. So the Queen has presented evidence and persuaded them to go to war right?
Even with evidence, the council proceed to sit on their collectives arses until Belios turns up and talks a little about bravery and freedom and stuff.
And people look at me confused when I say that Miller is sexist.

This movie sucks. The story is bad, the acting is bad and the fight scenes are just plain boring. It's less historically accurate than Braveheart. There are a few good lines here and there, but they're not enough to save this steaming pile of muck.

The music was pretty cool though.

1 comment:

  1. I'm fully convinced that the only reason people like this movie is the same reason I do. Just to oogle Gerard Butler. No other reason. Or to mock it's historical accuracy (which is also fun).