300 (2007)

When there is nothing more to life than eating and cutting…

300 is, basically, one of the very greatest “guy movies” of all time. Everything it promises, it delivers in spades: Violence, things looking all cool and badass, slow-motion shots of things looking all cool and badass, slow-motion shots of violence, sexiness, grossness, Spartans having the perfect reparteés to any comment that needs one, a simple but moving story, and lots of heroics. Nailed it all. This movie is great.

Every single frame looks like a piece of stylized art, it seems. The actors are impeccable in their trade, and most of them are so muscled and bronzed that my body feels even more twig-like and translucent than usual. The score fits the mindset of 300 like a glove, although I’m not sure what the size and shape of a mindset is; nor how many fingers it has. The music ranges from ethereal and thoughtful to a snazzy crescendo of aggressive rocking out. And, often, there is no music or background noises at all; many of the slower-paced scenes are left to carry their own weight entirely on the credit of the performances and visuals. I loved it.

One problem, and one problem only: The countless sprays of blood all disappear before hitting the ground. I mean, literally, you can see a whole bunch of blood falling through the air and then it VANISHES before it can slake the thirst of Greece’s blood-parched dirt. Since the focus of those shots is infinitely more interesting than watching where the blood goes two seconds later, it’s rather a minor complaint.

There are quite a few monstrous creatures that seem to be almost like men. And the most hideous, unnatural-looking one of them all – a large, squat-looking dour lump of a man who has had his hands removed and a pair of sharp, wicked-looking blades chained on instead – is only in the movie for about three seconds. I have not read the graphic novel that spawned this movie, but I found myself very curious about this fat, sinister executioner. Why was he all fucked up looking? Did he really just stand around and chop off heads all day? He clearly didn’t seem to be much use at anything else, and I was a bit mystified as to why such a unique individual was handed the screentime of an extra. Some time and effort obviously went into making him for the movie, but… why? It is, so far, a mystery to me.

And I got to thinking. Did Xerxes have a whole dinner crew of Super Funtime Mutant Lunchroom Workers such as this? An army of hundreds of thousands would take some seriously dedicated muscle to work the mess halls. And, in a movie such as 300, I really do mean mess halls. Blegh.

But I had a more homely, Ethel-and-Fred mindset when drawing the picture. That big dude with sword-hands must have had an interesting family life.

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