MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham and Dominic West. Action/drama. Writers: Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon, based on the Graphic Novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Director: Zack Snyder.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City), 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspired all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy. The film brings Millers acclaimed graphic novel to life by combining live action with virtual backgrounds that capture his distinct vision of this ancient historic tale.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Taken from history, though I suspect that it has no more allegiance to fact than Oliver Stones Nixon was to the 37th president, 300 is action/adventure/storytelling at its most stylish, if not most barbarous. (There just seems to be no limit to the amount of screen carnage with which filmgoers are now willing to infect themselves.) Like a graphic comic book (from which it is taken), it is heavier on the visceral than character development or historical accuracy. And in case you dont know before going into the film who these guys are they are Spartans. Trust me, the filmmaker wont let you forget that.

Sensibilities have changed as the cinema has aged. The major movie-going audience of today may be overly impressed with the films visuals, including slo-mo beheadings and tons of computer-generated arrows descending from the sky like locusts, but with all the studio magic afforded to this sword-and-sandal epic, 300 doesnt have the same heart as Spartacus.

For me it had a few too many battles and far too many pre-battle speeches. Leonidas is kind of like a head coach for Notre Dame. Had I been one of his soldiers, by the time Leonidas hollered, Eat a hearty breakfast for tonight we eat in HELL, I might have considered taking an early retirement. Still, if you like graphic novels come to life, this is an eye-popper.

Video alternative: Spartacus. Kirk Douglas stars as a slave who heads a rebellion against the tyranny of Rome. It contains terrific acting, score and theme, and in Spartacus, when you see legions of soldiers on the battlefield they are real, not computer generated.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: There is a great deal of violent imagery from beginning to end; this violence is done stylistically, much like a graphic novel meant for adults; it includes battlefield sword and spear attacks; a boy does battle with a monster-like wolf; dead bodies are seen numerous times, legs and arms cut off, etc. Blood: Gallons of blood, but also done stylistically, not quite as graphic as seen in more realistic battles.

Sex: There are a couple of scenes featuring sensual sexual situations; one scene has several women fondling and kissing one another while at the feet of Xerxes; a woman gives her body in order to save her husband and his men.

Nudity: A couple of scenes feature topless women.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 117 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.