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March 10, 2007

Dave at Garfield Ridge Saw 300 (That Bastard)

No, I didn't see it last night -- I was still feeling too sick from my standard knock-me-on-my-ass CPAC flu.

And now I'm finding it's sold out, at least in IMAX, which is how I'd wanted to see it. Unless I make the commitment to drive an hour and a half to Manchester, CT, there's no way I'm going to be able to see it in IMAX this weekend.

Dave's review is here. He likes it, with some reservations.

Without having read his review yet, I see a couple of things likely to make me not love this movie. The surrealistic all-CGI background thing worked pretty well in Sin City, but I think 300 may take this style to an excess which I won't enjoy. Even Sin City, as terrific as it was, sometimes grated in its hyper-stylization.

Although this hysterical review at Ain't It Cool News says it's the "most ass-ruling" movie ever made, I have a feeling that two straight hours of almost uninterrupted decapitations and slow-motion eviscerations will grow wearisome for anyone who's over the age of 15.

And the dialogue -- I appreciate the sentiment behind heavy-metal slogans like "No retreat, no surrender" and "Tonight we dine in HELL!," but I have a feeling I'm going to be hearing just far too many of such Megadeath choruses, and that, too, will begin to grate. It makes sense for guys in combat to constantly psyche themselves up for battle by repeating such battle-cries, but it's not the most interesting dialogue I can imagine.

I'm not bothered by the fact the movie "departs from history" -- I hate to be a douche, but I don't buy much of this early "history" anyway; studying Roman history I was taught that "historians" basically made up simple-to-grasp, dramatically-satisfying, suspiciously-"Hollywood"-style clever tactics that won this or that war, when the truth was that the tactics employed were pretty much the same in every battle (and, besides, "amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics") -- and so I don't mind, in principle, the story is about the mythology of the battle, the battle of Thermopylae as it resonates in the collective unconscious and all that jazz. That said, I'm not sure I'll really be on board with pushing the battle as far into fantasy mythology as far as the movie seems to.

As some have snarked, no one has ever mentioned actual Dungeons & Dragons ogres as having been in the Persians' order of battle.

None of those taken together will be enough, probably, to make me dislike the movie; but I'm seeing it with reduced expectations, because I think they will ultimately make me like it less than Sin City.

Now checking Dave's review, he writes, as regards the buff, practically naked Spartans:

I can't vouch for anyone else, but I definitely felt a lot more gay while watching this movie. I mean, I've never found British actor Gerard Butler (veteran of such awful schlock as Dracula: 2000 and Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Shite) to be a good actor, but while watching his Leonidas strut onscreen, I admit, I was pretty turned on throughout the movie. Not in a gay way, mind you-- I was turned on like a Viking.

Eh, I like Butler a lot, and I really enjoyed Dracula 2000. Schlock, yes-- but well-done schlock.


Bottom line? 300 is about as far from history as you can get, but damn if it's not a great time in the theater. For some reason, while watching it I kept thinking of just how much manly fun a movie like Conan the Barbarian was-- you feel your testosterone surging simply by sitting in 300's audience.

Dave also notes that the film is occasionally funny, which is something I didn't expect it to be, and I thought all that nonstop "Molon labe" talk would make it a bit too solemn for my tastes. Glad to hear there's a bit of humor mixed in with the beheadings.

Then again, in an email to me, he mentions one of my pet peeves:

I'm sure the fighting sequences will grate on you-- more of that super-cut editing again that you (and admittedly, I) hate-- but overall, the vibe is pretty cool.

As a rule I hate what I think he's talking about, but who knows, Snyder seems to know what he's doing, and maybe he's made this sort of fight-editing actually work for a change.

So I think I'm in a good position to review this movie, if I can actually get tickets for it: I'm interested in it, but not really filled with the sort of terribly high expectations that are inevitably disappointed.

As the studio is expecting a big opening weekend -- and the large number of sold-out shows seems to confirm -- if you want to catch 300, you might want to start thinking about buying tickets well in advance. Like, it's not too early to buy tickets for a midnight showing tomorrow.

I'm even looking on Craigslist for scalpers' IMAX tickets. IMAX is pretty much impossible to see at this point, at least for the next couple of days.

Okay, I'm Bailing: I'd wanted to see it today, just because I want to, plus I wanted my review to be more timely as regards the opening weekend, but I give up. I'm seeing tomorrow night at 9.

Honestly, the studios ought to give out free passes to bloggers likely to promote the film. Of course this is a self-serving complaint, but do they want to take advantage of internet buzz or not? How difficult is it to arrange a single early screening in each of the big cities, anyway? Of course they do it for movie critics; in case they haven't noticed, people are reading them less and bloggers more.

It's simply a fact: I reach more people on this stupid moronblog than any of the various smaller-market movie critics they're arranging critics' screenings for. So do all the other mid- to big bloggers. No, we're not as big as the critics at the huge papers, but all those local papers? A much bigger readership.

Self-serving, I know, but also true. And not completely self-serving, because, truth be told, I can easily wait mid-week to see this movie. I just had wanted to review it in a timely fashion, to actually have a review posted before the bulk of readers inclined to see it had already seen it, and also to help the movie's opening box office (assuming it deserves to be helped).

I can wait 'till Monday to do it. Just figure it would be better for the studio if I could have gotten a review up Friday.

I guess I'll just see Zodiac today (again, not very timely) or get Hollywoodland on PPV (very untimely indeed).

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posted by Ace at 02:49 PM

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