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From The Digital Sweatshop
The Music, Art and Travels of Alan D. Oldham a.k.a. DJ T-1000.

Three-Fucking-Hundred.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I know I'm way late on this, but I saw "300" today at the Sony Center.

OK, let me get this part out of the way for the cynics: we've basically seen bits and pieces of this movie before. "Gladiator," "Troy," "Alexander," "Kingdom of Heaven," even "Stargate" and "The Ten Commandments" (sexually-ambiguous, vaguely Egyptian warlord-slash-Pharoah-slash-rock star-slash bad guys).

But it's not about the influences, it's how they executed the film. And it was the complete shit.

The cinematography and direction of this film was hot, all CGI a la "Sin City" (another Frank Miller creation). This is ultimately what sets "300" apart from all those other sword and sandal movies. If it had been shot straight, it would have been boring and probably would have flopped like most of the movies listed above did.

I loved the washed-out colors and visual textures of the piece. They shot this movie like hell. There was also extensive use of post-"Matrix" slow/fast, stop/start action/battle scenes, which I loved. I still think those "Matrix" effects can be hot in the right context.

The CGI blood splatters were the shit too, especially when the drops hung there and the camera moved through them.

Another thing that struck me was the fucking MOMENTS in the film. Like freeze-frame, movie poster moments. Like they stop the story for a minute to show you how bad-ass King Leonidas is. I didn't count, but there were a lot of those moments in the flick. Wait 'till the DVD so you can stop it and see for yourself.

I think another one of the reasons "300" got over was because it was a rock-hard ab fest. Giaxia e-mailed me she saw the movie in Chicago, and went insane. In the original comic, the Spartans were naked under their big, red capes. I don't think the ladies (or men for that matter) could have handled all that dick flying around.

Speaking of dick, there are no awkward, unintentionally-funny homoerotic moments in this movie like there were in "Alexander" and others of this genre. It's established right upfront in the narrative that these 300 guys are straight, damn it, all with wives and sons that can carry on their names.

Storywise, it followed the comic pretty closely. A few shots they lifted right out of it. There was a "Gladiator"-esque subplot with the Queen that wasn't in the original, though. It ends with a real female-empowering moment.

Also dug the end credits, directly inspired by Miller's cover art.

People on the Internet have read into "300" that it's an allegory for US foreign policy. King goes to war against the wishes of his senators, defends "justice and reason" against dark, swarthy, decadent hordes who practice "mysticism" (a.k.a. Islam).

Calm down, people. Miller wrote this thing back in '95, deep in the heyday of Bill Clinton. So everybody relax.

But then again, there's got to be a reason why "300" opened at $100 million in the States.

Maybe it was the abs.

-AO :: 5:35 PM ::

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