March 4, 2007


Giving '300' movie a comic-book grandeur: Director Zack Snyder mixes tricks to create a comic-book grandeur for '300' on the screen (Sheigh Crabtree, March 4, 2007, LA Times)

A pack of tourists and a museum docent fanned out in front of "Leonidas at Thermopylae" in the Louvre a few months ago. Spotting Jacques-Louis David's 1814 oil painting of a buff, naked warrior king preparing to lead 300 Spartan troops into battle, a cheerful young American said: "Awesome. I just made a movie of this."

"Really?" said the docent. "... what does it look like?"

The young man shrugged and smiled. "It basically looks like this."

"Well, those men are all naked," the docent said after a long pause.

"Yeah," the man replied. "That's kind of what the Spartans were all about."

Zack Snyder is something of an expert after spending years creating his own audaciously loud, fast-paced cinematic painting of the Spartans' tale, "300," a $60-million live-action adaptation of Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's 1999 graphic novel.

Snyder has visualized thousands of permutations of the overmatched Greek force that held off hoards of advancing Persians in 480 BC, fighting to the death for their freedom and inspiring the resistance of their countrymen. And for "300," he's developed an inventive visual vocabulary, shooting on film and using a bevy of fancy camera, lighting and sonic tricks drawn from his work in commercials to bring his actors, filmed against neutral bluescreen, to bold life in a moody CGI world.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 4, 2007 8:26 AM

My husband and I are really looking forward to this film. I love the visuals, and the mood of the lighting.

Posted by: Stormy70 at March 4, 2007 10:14 AM

Every classics fan will want to see it. I know what to expect concerning the Spartans, I expect Plutarch. I wonder how the film treats with the 700 Thespians.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 4, 2007 12:58 PM

I just figured out OJ's headline. Well done.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 4, 2007 3:08 PM

Matt: Ditto. Subtle, beautiful--it is the subtlety that is the beauty. It is like reading Alexander Pope.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 4, 2007 5:57 PM

Any of you seen the 1962 film "The 300 Spartans?" I almost rented it at Blockbuster, but it looked pretty cheesy.

Posted by: ted welter at March 5, 2007 12:23 AM

700 thespians is another movie, this one is only showing the battle from the Spartan perspective. It is historical fiction and a comic book to boot.

Posted by: Candide at March 5, 2007 12:46 AM

The 1962 300 Spartans movie was actually pretty good. The plot was about 80% Plutarch, all the quotes and anecdotes, and about 20% made-up fluff. Lots of good details. They people who made it were very well grounded in classical history.

I remember how that film dealt with the Thespians. It was a very minor theme, but memorable. The Thespians were portrayed as good-hearted amateurs, mere citizen-soldiers, smaller, weaker and less well armed than the Spartans, sent off by Leonidas with respect to die on another part of the field.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 5, 2007 5:34 AM

Though it looks like a college film project.

Posted by: oj at March 5, 2007 7:44 AM

Lou, it does not sound like you have read the original comic series. If you are expecting Plutarch or historical accuracy, I think you will be disappointed. I do not remember any other Greeks being at the battle in the comic book.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 5, 2007 11:28 AM