A rather appalling technical innovation that makes a mockery of film form, film language, film aesthetic and film ethics. Quite an achievement, in other words. Technical comic-driven lustre bombards the viewer with crypto-fascist imagery of virility (masqueraded through ancient Greek history) and a horrendous depiction of Persians. Thus, the entire venture reduces history to an 'occasion' for vacuous spectacle.
Younger viewers may not realize that, upon release, "300" was lambasted by some critics as an implicit endorsement of Bush's foreign policy and the pre-emptive strike on Iraq. Somehow this reading, along with the film's troubling depictions of Otherness and masculinity, are just part of why Zack Snyder's speed-ramped, Grecian gorefest remains such a compelling and provocative film experience some twelve years later.
8 years later Snyder's bloodbath graphic novel adaptation holds up extremely well. Yes, it's all style with little substance, but what style. Oft copied since it's extreme use of green screen and visceral violence is still jarring but often exhilarating and somewhat sensual. Performances are as much rendered as the effects......'this is sparta'....'tonight we dine in hell'...
Ancient history and bloody violence has always been a winning combination. "300" knows this, and it delivers without feeling the need to disguise its true intentions with some half-assed political or family drama at the center, which is one of the reasons I like it. Not to mention, its depiction of the Spartan lifestyle is a lot more accurate than you might think -- "Braveheart" this ain't.
I was entertained but mostly annoyed. I felt choked on testosterone instead of roused by it. The subplot invented for the film of the wife and the senate had not bearing whatsoever on the main story. Merely there to show us more Lena Headey and pad the running time. The slow motion action was fun but got tiresome.
This is why Zack Snyder has become the go to comic book movie guy. Coming off of the success of what Robert Rodriguez did with Sin City, Snyder delivers up another badass Frank Miller comic utilizing the brilliance of the green/blue screen and not being afraid of getting a little gritty. Also this is when Gerard Butler became a badass.