The breath-taking CGI images are flawlessly integrated with the live action. All the actors are excellent in their roles, and Butler IS Leonidas.
The sound design is excellent. The score was recorded by the London Phil with a full chorus and is beautiful to listen to, but is very reminiscent of 'Gladiator' which detracts from the otherwise total originality of the film.
This movie integrates the potentials of film-making and story-telling in a wonderful new way that is the best of both entertainment and artistic achievement. 4 Stars 9-24-07 (Updated)
Though this film is largely style over substance, it does have some deeper themes and what not going through it, chiefly that of fascism. You root for the Spartans, and you're rooting for fascism. Kinda like Starship Troopers though not quite as brilliant. The slow-mo gets a tad overused, and yeah, the Persians are undeniably portrayed as perhaps too fey and sibilant, but hell, this is fun, not art. I actually prefer this to the graphic novel it's based on because this has much more story and depth.
All in all, a bloody good show.
I haven't seen this many six-packs since a fraternity house party. Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel is like his other adaptions -- faithful to a fault. All the shots and scenery are designed to bring Miller's artwork to motion, but as he did with Watchmen Snyder forgets that these are two different media and style doesn't make up for plasticity in character and story. Indeed, Leonidas and his men might as well be professional wrestlers taunting each other before a match.
Miller's refuge to justify the remarkably blood-letting, aside from making all the enemies faceless, is the claim that King Leonidas is fighting for "freedom." But Sparta is portrayed as a monarchy, and despite Xerxes's claims of divinity I fail to see how life under Xerxes would be radically different for the body politic than life under Leonidas. As it is with most politicians' claims about wars for freedom, Leonidas's use of the word is empty, and the people who follow him seem either duped or foolish.
Overall, there's plenty of style and posing and sweaty men in their underwear, but there's nothing behind the pictures but a vapid story with cardboard characters.
Like various other comic adaptations the soundtrack which has been used really makes it so much darker, harder and exciting , much like 'Spawn', 'The Crow', 'Sin City' or 'Blade', the only thing that puts me of is the half naked buffed up men haha also the acting is pretty wooden if truth be told. A great film purely for the fights and looks really, 'Sin City' still just about wins with its plot and characters but this a damn fine hack n slash historical/action flick.
There is a LOT of blood and violence of course, but like in Sin City it looks so surreal and stylized that it's a lot less disgusting than in some recent horror movies.
Some of the really cool fight scenes feel a little repetitive at times, with too much slow-motion used, but at least there is no editing that could cause spasms. The patriotic, death defying lines the Spartans are yelling must not be taken too seriously from today's point of view, just like the movie should simply be considered an entertaining piece of art, no history lesson or with meaning for today's world.
Gerard Butler is very good in the lead role, but I still would have wished for the movie to touch me more than it actually did. The excellent last five minutes finally reach the emotional depth the whole move would have deserved.
Very entertaining and cool eye candy, but not as strong as its huge historical forerunners like Braveheart or Gladiator.
The archetypes often resonate, the honorable king, the loyal queen, the scheming politician. They may all have been 2-dimensional but rightly so.
What we have is a blockbuster action epic, perhaps nothing more but it's nothing really less either.