Thursday, May 29, 2008

Review of "300"

We watched "300" on HBO over Memorial Day weekend, a modern take on the Spartan's battle against Xerxes. Wow, was it bloody and gory. Also quite a few unclothed women. I thought the actors did a great job, all the way around, even before I knew that it was filmed mostly on green screen.

The story kept reminding me of The Lord of the Rings...a small group of people going off to defeat absolute evil and a massive army. There's even a "Golem" creature who betrays the 'fellowship' of Spartans in exchange for a uniform, a sense of belonging somewhere:
I thought the different cultures that were part of Xerxes' army were interesting. There were African-style warriors with a rampaging rhinoceros (and a "Legolas" type character that brings it down with a thrown spear). There were Oliphants (massive elephants)...those are supposed to be from India, right?

There were Middle Eastern scimitar folk. There were Asian (Japanese?) ninja folk:

Oh, and there were north steppe horse riders (Tartars? Mongolians? who knows?) :
There's enough arrows to literally block out the sun and the one-liner "Well, at least we get to fight in the shade!"

Xerxes has a few underling bosses that come to the Spartans with each wave of warriors, and they are increasingly decked out in finery. The last one before we meet Xerxes reminds me of "The Mouthpiece of Sauron." These underlings are carried along on little thrones.

And then comes Xerxes. Wow, was he perfectly constructed as a Goa'uld. He's covered in golden glittery body paint, wrapped with gold necklaces in a mesh on his head, around his throat, around his calves, arms, everywhere. He's got cheek piercings, eyebrow piercings, lip, nose. He's wearing some sort of loin cloth but I don't really remember it at all b/c all that gold-glittery-toned muscle mass and his stark bald head is what you're looking at instead. Xerxes, who is carried on a massive shiny metal stage with a big staircase up to his throne dais. It's so over the top that it's perfectly done. The stage is carried on the hunched-over backs of who knows how many dozen slaves.

And then as King of Sparta hurls his last-chance spear before he dies, he misses Xerxes and just scratches his cheek instead of impaling him. That bites. Then, one year later, Xerxes is still trying to conquer Sparta but at least the death of the King of Sparta got the entire Greek army rallied together, right?

No comments: