300 (Zack Snyder, 2007) aka 300 Pahlawan Berani Mati(??)
<I'd probably get flamed for this.>
The first box-office extravaganza of the year. A testosterone-ridden gorefest. Coupled with a fantastic trailer earlier on, how hard can it be for the movie to just kick-ass or at least, be entertaining enough for 10 bucks' worth? But disappointingly, 300 worked better, a lot better, as a trailer than a feature length film.
Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 takes a spin on the legendary tale of the ancient Battle Of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartan warriors fought to the death against millions of the Persian army under the emperor Xerxes. The film stars Gerard Butler (Dear Frankie) as the Spartan king, Leonidas. Like Sin City, the visuals are indeed the main course. So does the perfectly built, steroid-overdose, six-packed Spartans that should very well *appeal* to not only females, but males as well. Straight or gay take your pick, but I'll put my money on the latter to literally go ballistics over Leonidas physical prowess (and *especially* the captain's son, too) long after the movie's over.
As unique and 'cool' as the visuals are, the novelty wears off pretty fast. A fault that is mainly due to the overbundence of 'slo-mo', to the point of exhausting. Imagine every scene (battle scenes or no) there would be a slow motion moment, presumably to parade the stylistic voyeur of the visuals or to give some screen time for the characters to strike the 'coolest', manliest battle poses. Don't get me wrong, there are some truly stirring shots. But I can't shake off the feeling that those scenes just work best as illustrations (the movie just basically lifts off the panels of the graphic novel), not in a motion picture.
Worst of all are the dialogues. Other than the ready-made quotes like "Tonight we dine in hell!!!" and "THIS. IS. SPARTAAAA!!", they're just equal to the standard of a video game. Not to say that those lines are any better, they just have the privelege of being *shorter*. I just wished the characters would just shut up on blabbering endlessly about "honor", "valor", "freedom" (who the hell cares, anyway??) and just get on with the bloodshed. And in that deparment, the film succeeds, if only mildly. The action pieces are definitely well-choreographed, with decapitations and torn limbs abound. But the lack of genuine "thrills" is disheartening. Again, it's the slow-motion's fault. Where's the sense of 'excitement' if the movie took like 10 seconds just to show Leonidas swing his sword. Another 10 seconds to show the head departs from the body. And another 10 for a 'cool pose'. Yeah yeah maybe I'm exaggerating but you get the picture.
The plot is just an excuse for the action to take stage. No surprise there. Very much similar to a video game where the hero move on from level to level, fighting off hordes of enemies with increasing difficulties. And dont get me started on the 'homoerotic' undercurrent. Maybe it's just me, but some of the scenes looked *more* than just "brotherly love". *shudders*
Simply put, this is just another mindless action flick offering. All style and no substance whatsoever. Honestly, I really *do* want to like this movie. I really want to, just to start off a good year for movies. But there's only enough for one can bear.