300 (Limited Collector's Edition) (2007) Review
(More customer reviews)A more intense shot of testosterone you will not find in any film. Equal parts bravado, guts and glory, "300" is simply the most exciting film to come out this year - or in several. Criticized for its violence and gore, fans of Miller's graphic novels will find that violence and gore to be as beautifully depicted on the screen as in the print version. A highly hyped CGI affair the cast could easily have been overcome by the sheer impressiveness of the physical production. To his credit director Zack Snyder is blessed with and uses a cast every bit equal to the challenge of competing with Miller's dark fantastic take of the Spartan's greatest story.
Gerard Butler (Phantom of the Opera, Dear Frankie, etc.) adds yet another impressive and wildly different character to his arsenal of screen roles. As Leonidas, King of Sparta, Butler is, from his pigtail to his muscled, sandled feet, every inch a king; a true leader of men. His passion and intensity is matched by a splendid performance by Lena Headey as his wife, Queen Gorgo. Though a dutiful wife and a woman in an age when being such was near equal to slave status, she is, in her way, as bold and fearless as her husband/King. Dominic West is properly evil and oily as the traitor Theron and he's as nasty and duplicitous a villain as one can hope for. Rodrigo Santoro as a larger-than-life Xerxes is both comical and fearfully creepy equal parts drag queen and wanna be god. Behind all the glitzy piercings and bling, he is little more than self-inflated egotistical child.
While there is blood and gore aplenty, the film also happens to be emotionally satisfying and I found myself with tears welling up in my eyes more than a few times, as well as wanting to raise my fist in the air along with the jacked-up Spartans! While a macho stoicism pervades their attitudes, there are, to be sure, signs of a greater humanity beneath those ripped abs of Sparta's army - and plenty of heart.
Parallels and allegories are already being drawn between today's warring world climate, super power dominations and the world of ancient Greece and the Middle East. While this provides an interesting commentary, I heartily recommend leaving that baggage at home and appreciating "300" on its own and embracing its escapism.
Larry Fong's cinematography ensures that "300" is eye-poppingly glorious from start to finish - a magnificent feast for the eyes while Tyler Bates's score is guaranteed to keep your adrenaline pumping as it matches - frame-for-frame the visual intensity presented on the screen. While critics are divided on this one, audiences are flocking to it and cheering. For good reason, too: "300" is magnificent old-fashioned story telling wed to the very best 21st century filmmaking has to offer. See it!
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Limited Collector's Edition: 3-Disc Release
Disc 1: * Feature Film. Commentary by Director Zack Snyder, Writer Kurt Johnstad and Director of Photography Larry Fong
Disc 2: * The 300 - Fact or Fiction? - Historians, authors and filmmakers reveal how much of the film was based on fact. (RT: 24:31) * Who Were The Spartans: The Warriors of 300 - Touches on the customs and ways of life of the Spartan culture that weren't explicitly shown in 300 but were used by the actors and filmmakers to help build their characters. (RT: 4:24) * Frank Miller Tapes - Follow the career of one of the most innovative graphic novelists of our time. We'll show how the outspoken Miller continued to push his limits to realize his epic graphic novel, 300, in the world of theatrical film (RT: 13:00) * Making of 300 (RT: 5:40) * Making 300 in Images - Rapid fire stills from the first day of production to the last. (RT 3:39) * Deleted Scenes with Introduction by Zack Snyder (RT: 3:21) * Webisodes - Production Design, Wardrobe, Stunt Work, Lena Headey, Adapting The Graphic Novel, Gerard Butler, Rodrigo Santoro, Training The Actors, Culture of The Sparta City/State, A Glimpse from the Set: Making 300 the Movie, Scene Studies from 300, Fantastic Characters of 300 (RT: 20:00)
Disc 3 (NEW): * To The Hot Gates: A Legend Retold - A comprehensive and dynamic description of the ancient legend, from Frank Millers graphic novel to the creation of Zack Snyder's epic movie. (RT: 30:00)
Plus Premium Collectibles * 52-Page Art & Photo Book with Personal Message from Director Zack Snyder * Lucite Display with Motion Image from the Film * 6 Photo Cards of the Theatrical Poster Campaign * Disc 3 Includes Bonus Digital Copy of 300