Monday, March 19, 2007

3.00 Reasons Not To See 300

This weekend I had the opportunity to check out the number one movie at the box office, Frank Miller and Zach Snyder's 300. Here's why you shouldn't make the same mistake:

1.) You hate poorly written and overused voice-over narration.

When filmmakers employ this, it says to me that either they don't know how to visually communicate the ideas of the film or (as I suspect is the case in 300) they don't trust the audience to pick up on what they're shown in the moving picture they are currently watching.

2.) You're expecting anything close to a historical epic.

I know next to squat about Ancient Greece, but even I could tell that 300 has more in common with Mortal Kombat II than the Mediterranean circa 480 B.C.

This movie is a clumsy, unintelligent fantasy that pilfers names and iconography from history in a misguided attempt to lend a sense of grandeur to its proceedings. But when the filmmakers choose to throw in the Lobster-Clawed Executioner, Mutant Lizard Ninjas, Twelve Foot Tall Brazilian Xerxes, and an Unexplained Anthropomorphic Goat (I wish I was kidding), they show their hand, and it turns out to be full of Frank Miller's old Conan the Barbarian comic books. By the third reel I half expected Kull the Conqueror and Swamp Thing to be duking it out on the Fifth Plane (which, as we all know, is the Plane of Sorrows).

3.) You need more than a demo of the latest in Chroma-Keying Technology to hold your interest for two hours.

Yes, computers have come a long way since the days of wowing local tv weather junkies by Removing The Background Behind A Person and Replacing It With Something Else. But haven't blockbuster genre films been doing this for years? Remember Phantom Menace? That movie made extensive use of green screen backgrounds and computer-generated extras way back in 1999, and it sucked too.

For my money, Frank Miller authored a decent "What If Batman Was Old?" story about twenty years ago and has spent his time since proving he's just as capable of writing awful fiction. He can be a great illustrator, but angular drawings of boobs and blood does not a compelling story make. Thirteen year old Xbox Live fanatics can rejoice, however, knowing that 300 is full of both, and won't attempt to dilute its gore-slathered buffet with pacing, suspense, or sympathetic characters.

If like me you shudder at these 3.00 reasons, save yourself 9.00 bucks and either watch an episode of HBO's Rome (just as explicit as 300, but better written and with a semblance of historical accuracy) or play ten minutes of Sub Zero vs. Baraka (like watching 300, but actually kind of fun, and with better fatalities).


Clinton said...

I liked it when there was boobies!!! HOORAY BOOBIES!!!

Oh, but seriously... I liked it better than you did, but I'm fully willing to admit that I'm basically a 13-year-old when it comes to how I enjoy movies that are loud and gory. What actually ended up damning more than anything was that, the night before we saw 300, I finally got around to watching Sin City. Which kicked my ass! Totally dug it, madcore. TO THE EXTREME!!!!

Braden said...

I should have known I wouldn't like 300 –- I hated Sin City.

Okay, that's not entirely true: I laughed my butt off at both films. But I don't want to see either one ever again.

Ms. C said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates when film and TV bastardize history in order to make a quick buck. Do you remember that godawful King Arthur movie that came out a few years ago? Or The Messanger?

Made me want to vommit blood.

Braden said...

Ms. C: Luckily for everyone I managed to avoid both of those; Luc Besson is about as qualified to head up a retelling of Joan d'Arc's story as I am to referee a Chilean chueca match.