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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.06%
Just Average: 8.33%
Pretty Crappy: 14.22%
Sucks: 21.57%

10 reviews, 144 user ratings

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by David Cornelius

"It's super, thanks for asking!"
1 stars

“300” looks great. It looks so great, in fact, that you could ignore everything else (not a difficult task at all) and focus entirely on the look of the thing. One wishes there was a way to savor the images one by one, perhaps in book form. If only it were possible to collect illustrations of the images and, by placing them in order, tell a story of some sort. A “graphic novel,” if you will.

But I kid “300,” which was, of course, adapted from a comic book by Frank Miller, the popular artist behind “Sin City.” That comic series was also made into a movie, in which actors read lines in front of a green screen, with all the backgrounds added in later, all in an attempt to make the movie look exactly like the comics, frame for frame. “300,” directed by Zach Snyder, does the exact same thing: chroma key, digital sets, elaborate replica of the printed page.

This is more than merely making a movie look somewhat like a comic book; this technique involves using the original comic as an unbreakable point of reference, developing scene after scene to accurately mimic the original illustrations. What’s curious about this technique is that it has garnered much praise from fanboys who demand point-by-point translation in their movie adaptations, so much so that the sheer movieness of the new work suffers in the process. The director is no longer a visionary, but instead an art student assigned the task of making a careful copy of someone else’s work. The story is not allowed the chance to breathe on its own as a movie; we are merely watching comic panels projected forty feet high.

“Sin City” worked despite these limitations because of the manic energy of the story, and despite my grumblings, I will admit to being wowed by the inventiveness of the concept. “300,” meanwhile, suffers because there’s just no story here to hold up what now comes off as an already tired cinematic gimmick. It’s sloppy seconds. Snyder is a terrific filmmaker - his “Dawn of the Dead” remake was outstanding - which makes the failures of “300” all the more depressing. He’s stuck playing translator for Miller’s creations, while the lousy screenplay corners him into rehashing the dopiest of action movie clichés.

It helps nothing that the movie is also so very, very hilarious. Deliciously, gloriously, unintentionally hilarious. Here we have a movie in which well-oiled hardbodies run around in leather diapers and scream in erotic glee as they penetrate each other with their shaft-like weaponry, and then call it a celebration of hetero manliness. Here is a movie frantic in its attempts to not look like the very parade of gayness it actually is: women writhe around topless, manly emotions are hidden behind militaristic grunts and cheesy macho sloganeering, and, just to make sure we’re all on the same page about this movie Not Being Gay At All, our hero dismisses a rival tribe as a bunch of “boy lovers,” because, you know, the other Greeks were a bunch of faggy wussies, but not the Spartans. Not in this movie.

Yeah, sure. Let’s face it: there’s not a frame in this film that’s not showing off some inadvertent gay euphemism. Our main villain is a drag queen at her most glamorously bitchiest (complete with a fabulous solid gold cod piece). The king spends his nights strutting around naked, pausing to show off his finely-toned ass. Two pretty young studs share on the battlefield the kind of quick-lipped banter worthy of a romantic duo. Phallic symbols abound, as do the parade of musclemen flaunting their greased-up pecs.

Why is this funny? Because the movie is trying so hard to be Not Gay, the merest implication of something even vaguely homoerotic earns massive giggles. Not only has Miller’s story (adapted for the screen by Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, and Michael B. Gordon) intentionally erased all mention of actual Spartan homosexuality, but it then goes out of its way to be pointedly homophobic - the “boy lovers” line, the notion of major villains as womanly, un-macho prissies, the long, spiteful orgy scene where we boo and hiss at the Persians’ sexual deviancy (all the while lingering over shots of lesbians going at it, because dude, lesbian sex is cool). There are tinges of despicable anti-gay sentiments throughout, and let’s face it, few things are as funny as gay bashers who wind up looking extremely gay.

There are, in facts, many scenes - and by “many” I mean “all” - that easily could end with one character offering manual stimulation to another. (“Hand jobs for Spartaaaaa!!!”) Because here in “300” we have one of the most sexualized displays of warfare ever put to film. The men are ripped beyond necessity (even the mutant hunchback has abs of steel!), and the camera loves it, offering slow, lusting shots of them all.

It is porn without the sex. (Actually, it’s gay porn without the gay sex; there are ridiculous amounts of Not Gay At All, Look How Hetero This Is sex throughout.) But what will replace the sex? Violence, of course. You could even call this movie a shiny example of “war porn,” a collection of blood-soaked images designed only to titillate. Sexual penetration is replaced by the ripping of flesh and the removal of limbs. Beheadings come by the bushel. All to arouse, all without consequences.

Ah, yes, those pesky consequences. “300” is meant to be an action extravaganza, all killer and no filler, yet it still falls into that classic action movie trap: we cheer as bad guys are slaughtered by the thousands, yet are asked to weep for the one or two heroes who don’t make it out alive. It’s a problem that admittedly has shaken even the best of movies, but here, in a film whose lone point is to witness death and mayhem on such a massive scale, it’s ridiculous.

Yet it fits perfectly with the rah-rah mentality that also permeates throughout. The screenplay punctuates is battle sequences with catchphrases straight out of a recruitment film, with soldiers shouting meaningless phrases about freedom and liberty and justice, and when words fail them, a simple “hoo-rah” will suffice. The silliest of these comes when our heroes toss out that most shallow of all bumper stickerisms: “Freedom isn’t free!!” To think that thousands of years ago, ancient soldiers were waging war to the tune of an absurd George W. one-liner.

It’s tempting to find a metaphor for our own present-day war in this tale, but “300” isn’t deep enough a movie to demand such study. It is, as Snyder himself has freely admitted, an action flick that plays fast and loose with historical accuracy just so it can “look cool.” And that’s fine - nobody should be coming to this thing expecting a history lesson, just as nobody should be reading “Hagar the Horrible” to bone up on that final exam that’s coming up. Still, Snyder’s comments reveal a flaw in the movie: it’s so concerned about looking cool that it refuses to bother with interesting, or even entertaining, storytelling. The actual plot (the legendary tale of the warrior king who led three hundred Spartans in defending their land from thousands of Persians) is so flimsy it could be used as one of the see-through gowns the ladies wear in this picture. Characters are even fluffier, with everyone who is not the king or queen relegated to being viewed by the audience as “that one guy” and “the guy with the beard” and “that other guy.”

Which is funny, because the screenplay really, really, really wants to be an important part of the overall project, instead of just being the random excuses for the action. It fails. A conspiracy-back-home subplot is as hilarious as it is worthless. The queen-holds-her-own subplot is a weak attempt to apologize for earlier scenes of complete misogyny (the best thing the script has to say about women is that they are only good because they provide wombs for future men). The long speeches about honor and sacrifice and duty are so poorly written that you feel a little sorry for David Wenham, who’s suckered into reciting such words. (Gerard Butler, as the king, is the lucky one: he just has to mumble some crap about freedom, then stab somebody. Lather, rinse, repeat.)

OK, even for all this, even if we take out the crazy homoerotic homophobia and the hollow sloganeering and the lousy scripting, surely a movie this amped up on pure adrenalin can provide wicked awesome action thrills, right? Sadly, “300” can’t even get that right. For a movie that is essentially one gigantic fightfest, it’s ridiculously boring. Snyder is so locked into Miller’s imagery that the most he can open up the action is to throw us the old slo-mo/not-slo-mo/slo-mo trick. Blood spatters and swords clank, but not once is there any heft to the proceedings. You never feel the thud. And by the one-hour mark (this blasted thing drags on for two), you’re so numb by so much violence that the impact is completely gone - these villains, these hordes of bodies, don’t seem like anything anymore, just randomly shaped blobs of matter that our hero army can slice and dice ad nauseam.

On the other hand, that gold cod piece was sooo to die for.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15601&reviewer=392
originally posted: 03/16/07 07:46:02
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good movie skip the sequel 4 stars
3/17/16 Charles Tatum You just can't get past those visuals. 4 stars
10/12/13 David H. Historically inaccurate, but has great eye candy. 3 stars
10/21/12 Sean Harrison A bit corny, but still entertaining. One of the better graphic novel based movies. 4 stars
9/10/11 Captain00Kirk Over-rated, too much slo-mo and low on story. www.youtube.com/Captain00Kirk 3 stars
9/10/10 Barbara Leaf Not my type movie but I LOVED IT. Sex, gore....I couldn't get enough. 5 stars
5/31/10 User Name With it's cheesy lines and stylized violence, 300 reaches guy movie greatness. 3 stars
3/20/10 J-Dawg Sex, violence, and mindless action. Pretty much sums up 300. 1 stars
9/12/09 R.W. Welch Stylized but still effective treatment of legendary battle. C+ 3 stars
8/20/09 Monday Morning I haven't seen so many 6-packs since my Miller Brewery tour. 4 stars
8/15/09 Jeff Wilder A popcorn film that's actually entertaining and doesn't insult one's intelligence? Here! 4 stars
4/28/09 Dr.Lao Idiot machismo and cartoony violance with pretentions of being, "art" 2 stars
3/07/09 Rigato Horrible. The Spartans themselves were homosexuals, or at the very least bisexual... 1 stars
2/06/09 man great 5 stars
9/14/08 Samantha Pruitt thought it would be better, needed waaay more blood! 3 stars
9/03/08 Alexandru Totir I found it to be very entertaining to watch, quite good, and the actors look stunning & hot 4 stars
8/06/08 Shaun Wallner Bloody Awesome!!! 5 stars
7/21/08 Bob? Hilarious review. Nailed it. 1 stars
6/28/08 AnnieG A good adaptation of a graphic novel, but would have preferred to see a historical version. 3 stars
6/13/08 Karrie M action packed and the guys were HOT, loved it 5 stars
5/25/08 Max Sloppily over the top, and dripping with ugly, heavy-handed right wing propaganda. 1 stars
5/07/08 Crispy Plenty of you ignorant fools will lap this up and Hollywood knows it 2 stars
5/02/08 Greets "the film is simplistic, vapid, soulless, boring" I agree, although I liked the first 20m 2 stars
4/19/08 mark madsen this a good movie. alittle far fetch. 4 stars
3/06/08 Matty! this movie was awesome. just because we don't all hug trees like you tards... 5 stars
3/03/08 europa America should embrace the Spartans "Newborn Policy". 5 stars
2/01/08 surfer Thinly veiled glorification of fascist ideology - perfect aryans against subhuman cripples 1 stars
1/28/08 Rollie It's as if Cornelius is trying to say Frank Miller didn't get it right the first time. 5 stars
1/13/08 David Graham Visualy glorious and entertaining war movie, THIS IS SPARTA. 5 stars
12/08/07 Keystra Williams THIS IS SPARTA! 5 stars
10/26/07 tracey chambers eye candy for sure. worth checking out 4 stars
10/17/07 TreeTiger ENTERTAINING..!!! 5 stars
10/11/07 Spliff Well and truly entertained me, but not as good as the original 4 stars
10/10/07 Bitchflaps The men are fuckable, but the film is simplistic, vapid, soulless, boring and ugly. 1 stars
10/07/07 Vincent Visually stunning, very entertaining flick 4 stars
9/23/07 Jason Great movie, but perhaps a little overrated 3 stars
9/10/07 JeromeBoch This movie did what it was intended to do; it entertained the Hell out of me! Loved the CGI 5 stars
9/09/07 QC Extraordinary. Revolutionary cinematography. The best movie of the year so far. 5 stars
9/09/07 Blitcher God, what a waste of resources, digital or not... 2 stars
8/31/07 I-K Mysogyny, demonised enemy, rank exaggeration... EXACTLY what a war story retold would be! 5 stars
8/28/07 mb Truly Terrible and Not Recommended 1 stars
8/14/07 vinman29 Fell asleep twice--repetitive battle scenes 2 stars
8/12/07 Joe Smaltz They didn't say it was a cartoon 1 stars
8/08/07 Ron People never cease to amaze me. I wonder what kind of crap movies they like 4 stars
7/15/07 the young one yes the lack of armour was rather bad but i guess the whole plot seemed very nice to me 4 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega It's no "Lord of the Rings", and really shouldn't be. 3.5/5 4 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger visually stunning yes. acting and script? total crap 1 stars
7/09/07 GS2 Worst movie of the year, maybe more. Starting with the name, they should have called it 25. 1 stars
7/02/07 William Goss A traditionally gripping epic tale wrapped in modern visual splendor. 5 stars
7/02/07 lotr fan i asked for mayo...THIS IS TARTAR 5 stars
7/02/07 Tanya g very hollywood 2 stars
7/01/07 Lydia Helton Edges out Alexander among just-watchable ancient historical dramas. 2 stars
6/18/07 Abs This Movie revels in it's Machoness!!! 5 stars
5/28/07 fools♫gold REMEMBER this film; think about it. That's all that the "Spartans" wish. 5 stars
5/14/07 movieman lame 1 stars
5/08/07 Anthony A contender for not only worst movie of the year, but worst movie of the decade. 1 stars
4/27/07 Straight guy guys, it's only gay if you're a little 'curious' and want to hide that. great entertainment 5 stars
4/26/07 Dude lame 1 stars
4/25/07 Dave gay war porn 1 stars
4/25/07 Nicole M No naval battle, no armour, no realism... no point. 1 stars
4/23/07 Stevo UK Complete bullshit. 1 stars
4/21/07 UvIndex Dumb movie. Nice graphics, and nothing more than that. 2 stars
4/19/07 grendel73 This movie was awesome! The action sequences were amazing. Great cinematography. 5 stars
4/14/07 Maverick Unrealistic?!.. no, comics are realistic. i suppose Sin City is unrealistic too, or Batman? 5 stars
4/11/07 Jake Unrealistic battles, and SUPERGAY. 1 stars
4/11/07 Indrid Cold Weak story, but the most intense, visually stunnning battles since Saving Private Ryan. 4 stars
4/10/07 Double M Stunning cinematography, visuals and some of the craziest, most intense battle scenes ever 5 stars
4/09/07 Kelly loooved tho action! nothing can beat Gladiator though 4 stars
4/08/07 Will Prepare for Honor! Prepare for Glory! A good ol' spleen-stabbin, leg-choppin action film 5 stars
4/08/07 Vin Passionate & hardcore....makes GLADIATOR look like sesame street! 5 stars
4/06/07 Pooly Actually Peter, I enjoyed Troy more than this! 2 stars
4/05/07 Sumixam Great movie - Visually stunning 5 stars
4/04/07 Anthony 300, how bad is thee? Let me count the ways . . . 1 stars
4/02/07 Joe Amazing, really pushed the bar with visuals 5 stars
3/30/07 Alice Loved Sin City but this was crap. CRAP ! 1 stars
3/30/07 M Amazing.... the only ppl who wont like it are those who loved "little Man" & "Borat" 5 stars
3/29/07 Grigory Unintentionally hilarious; lady with mole was ugly. 2 stars
3/28/07 Stephen Outstanding. Not as historically inaccurate as some make out. Definitelty big screen, big s 5 stars
3/28/07 malcolm decent modern take on an ancient culture and historic event 4 stars
3/28/07 Ruperd those men r do sxy!!OH ye and ur all gay 1 stars
3/26/07 Rachel Hilarious. (Not to mention sexy man candy). 4 stars
3/26/07 Obi Wan Must See! Great eye candy and best action scenes in a long time! 5 stars
3/25/07 euge That was so fucking awesome...NOT 1 stars
3/24/07 Steve Newman what a load of crap 1 stars
3/24/07 Pandababy Some good scenes, but full of dumb crap 3 stars
3/23/07 DEREK most amazing movie ever, who ever gives it less then 4 stars is dumb. 5 stars
3/23/07 Jim Gordon This is the worst film ive seen in my life, total crap 1 stars
3/23/07 Renae It was *intentionally* hilarious and awesome. 5 stars
3/22/07 David Worth a look, a little too much video-game not enough movie though. 4 stars
3/22/07 Johnny Well its awful and sad at the same time, it glorifys militarism, its for simpletons. 2 stars
3/21/07 ES 3/4 of the best movie ever commited to film and then it falters like a dying spartan 4 stars
3/20/07 Jake Bluez Outstanding. Style, action, romance, visually stunning, good actors, great fights. Wow! 5 stars
3/20/07 carniv4 This had to be one of the stupidest movies ever. 2 stars
3/20/07 gatz Genuine adrenaline. 4 stars
3/20/07 SoStraightItHurts Wow... I can't wait to see the gay porn version... oh wait... Did I? 1 stars
3/19/07 Stacy There are quite a few laughable, unintentionally gay moments, but it was mostly fun. 4 stars
3/19/07 Andrew Mind-numbing and instantly forgettable. Hooray. 1 stars
3/19/07 Monster W. Kung It's like a Manowar video: big, loud, dumb, and sort-of-gay. But there's worse. 2 stars
3/19/07 Stanley Thai So far, this is the top movie of 2007! Great film! 5 stars
3/19/07 Ephraim Lee I unfortunately went in looking for a story. The action + visuals were nice though 3 stars
3/19/07 Anthony G Looking for a story? Not here. Looking for badass action? Here you go. 4 stars
3/19/07 dude pretty good 4 stars
3/19/07 Dan Great action, but the scenes in Sparta were useless and a little too cheesy 4 stars
3/18/07 Will A visual spectacle. Like a short story. 5 stars
3/18/07 SPARTANMAN300 BEST WAR/FIGHTING MOVIE EVER!! u dont like it, " Then we will fight in the shade." 5 stars
3/18/07 jess if you liked sin city, you'll love 300, if you didn't like sin city, you'll hate 300 5 stars
3/18/07 Simon it's frank miller, so you know it's shallow and moronic. but at least it's sweet-looking! 2 stars
3/17/07 Shobert 300 is the number of brain cells you lose by watching it. 1 stars
3/16/07 Isaac Unintentionally hilarious and cheesy as hell 1 stars
3/16/07 dICK jENN nice obvious use of dictionary to describe the movie . dipsht! 5 stars
3/16/07 pat horse shit 1 stars
3/14/07 Single Malt A Caravaggio painting come to life, the images stick with you long after the movie ends. 5 stars
3/14/07 rex the worst film i've seen .no hope for film. morons takin over world 1 stars
3/14/07 Elder Made Gladiator look phony. Made Troy look amateur. Breathtaking every 5-7 minutes. 5 stars
3/13/07 Mo Fantastic movie. Honor, duty, glory - all things we need more of in the world. 5 stars
3/13/07 Quigley Not up to the hype. Pretty gross at times and repetitive slo-mo battles. Good visuals. 2 stars
3/13/07 Agglepraxis off-putting and atavistic homophobia (decadence=faginess), but some great action 3 stars
3/13/07 Brian Mckay Masterful action scenes, solid acting, and dream-like visuals. Only drags in a few spots. 4 stars
3/13/07 byzinski Best damn movie yet . Mind blowing action. Patriotic to the core. 5 stars
3/13/07 dmitry I walked out after 20 minutes...Totally worthless 1 stars
3/12/07 Leonidas This is the best Beeping movie to ever grace movie theaters. Tonight, We Dine In Hell!!!!!! 5 stars
3/12/07 big dave yo this movie was the best EVER!! IT DOESN'T GET BETTER any one that says other wise suck 5 stars
3/12/07 Jenn blatant sexism, androcentrism, and ethnocentrism 2 stars
3/12/07 B-Nasty Kickass movie. No other word for it. 5 stars
3/12/07 JH Fantastic. A Greek play about the battle on the big screen. 5 stars
3/12/07 Joe if only I could give a negative rating. 1 stars
3/12/07 Chris Not completely historically correct, although a must see, Fear Wrath from a Spartan woman!! 5 stars
3/11/07 Donny M Awesome. Soft cor porn/action=greatness. 5 stars
3/11/07 Tim LOTR: Check. Gladiator: Check. Jet Li's Hero: Check. But OH MY!!! Borrow from the best!! 5 stars
3/11/07 Rob 300 cliches. Cheesy. 2 stars
3/11/07 Kiver Williams Don't get your hopes up insanely high, and you'll have fun. 8/10 4 stars
3/11/07 bytehead A feast for the eyes. 5 stars
3/11/07 Ole Man Bourbon Good, but not enough men in it. 4 stars
3/10/07 Alex Hypnotic-beautiful imagery-brings the comic alive 5 stars
3/10/07 leonhart-less Slightly anti-climactic, but beautiful beyond words! A must-see! 5 stars
3/10/07 Tom Forsdike Very Violent Very Beautiful! With just enough story to keep it all together, I loved it. 5 stars
3/09/07 Vicious Embrace the carnage and this film will astound you. 5 stars
3/09/07 the wizz I am in shock, The best fuckin movie I have ever seen! I feel like I just had an orgasm-!! 5 stars
3/09/07 Todd That was so fucking awesome. 5 stars
3/09/07 action movie fan far from pure cinematic joy. pompous and arty-too often slow-lord of the rings was better 3 stars
3/09/07 Adrian See it in the IMAX or don't see it at all. This is pure cinematic joy. 5 stars
3/09/07 Darren Shea Wow. Just Wow. 5 stars
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