Monday, January 08, 2007

For And Against Zack Snyder's 300

There have been some early complaints that Zack Snyder didn’t keep the tone of Frank Miller in his adaptation of 300. I don’t think this is true at all, but as I had more time to digest the film, I realized Snyder had cut more out of the book than I thought.

While I think the Spartan camaraderie and warrior ethic comes through, I would like to have seen more of it. The movie feels too rushed towards the battles. I wanted to see some of that grueling march to the Hot Gates, I think Miller rightly emphasizes what hell the Spartans go through even before the battles take place. A few scenes would be all it took. I was disappointed the “Stumblios” story was cut entirely, as one of my favorite parts is when Leonidas finally calls him Stelios. I wrote in my earlier review that Leonidas is not necessarily front and center of this film. Perhaps Snyder wanted to keep that tone and that’s why this storyline was cut, but it was a moment in the graphic that really established the awe the Spartans hold their King in. And that’s something that is slightly lacking for Leonidas in the film.

There's some stuff that is just too freaky--those giant orcs/trolls/zombies or whatever are just really out of place and ridiculous. Leonidas fights the big one from the promo poster and all I could see was Aragorn fighting the troll before the Black Gates--it was so obvious Snyder had that in mind. Again, I would have preferred more from the book and less from Snyder's "Whoa, that would look COOL" imagination!

There’s been a lot of hype about the sex scene. I’m not saying this as a Gerard Butler girl, but just about every press report and test review I have read has mentioned how 'hot' it is. I was disappointed. The snippets we saw in that high octane trailer at ComicCon and the various reviews that mentioned it led me to think it was going to be a lot sexier--raw and fierce like the movie is. The love scene is very slow, lots of (for lack of a better word) "flowiness." Basically, what you see in all those trailers is it, there's not much more. It's very romantic and touching, but I wish it had been a little more intense. I wanted it to have the feel of a man who knows he's going to his death--and a woman who knows it's the last night she has with him. Instead, it’s something like you might have seen in Lord of the Rings if Aragorn and Arwen had gotten around to it—albeit with more nudity. For a film willing to go all out in every other respect, I wish it had maintained it when it came to the sex.

I don’t want to sound like I am ragging on the film—I still feel 300 is one of the coolest rides you will have in 2007. It should satisfy just about everyone, from the Gerard Butler lovers to the Frank Miller fans. There’s just no way to hate a movie where a volley of arrows really do blot out the sun.

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