Unsurprisingly, 300 is #1 at the box office in its first weekend. Not only that, but its estimated to gross $70 million, making it the biggest March opening in history and the 3rd biggest opening for an R-rated film.
This comes after a mixed response from critics, the negative implying that it was "too political" or not historical enough. Yes, I'll give them the fact that it did pit a team of light skinned protagonists against dark skinned "enemies", but that's all. Any other over-analyzing or supposed parallels to pro-american propaganda is reading far too into it. Relax, and please remove the sticks that are jammed up your rears. The majority of the viewer response was more than positive. We the movie-going population loved the ever living crap out of 300.
Instead of highlighting my favorite parts or wasting your time with the usual fangirl-esque praising, I'd like to interpret why I think a movie such as 300 works, and why it deserves to be the biggest, most celebrated opening in a while.
1. The absence of big-name actors.
It's great when a big movie like this isn't upstaged by an even bigger star. It gives the film a chance to speak for itself, as opposed to being dependent on publicity from tabloid gossip surrounding the film's actors. Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, and David Wenham fit perfectly in their roles, and I didn't recognize Rodgrigo Santoro at all as Xerxes. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to cast A-list actors, it's just highly refreshing to see lesser known faces delivering stellar performances.
2. An appropriate usage of time.
Running for approximately 2 hours, this film never felt like it dragged on, nor did it end too abruptly. There are handfuls of films which are guilty of both, leaving you with a feeling of either "That's it?" (i.e. X-Men: The Last Stand) or "Okay.. I've stopped caring. Is this over yet?" (i.e. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) With 300, Leonidas told us to come and get them, and what we got was just enough. I never lost interest, nor did I feel unfulfilled by the end.
3. Something for everyone, males and females alike.
Needless to say, the movie has everything it needs to hook male viewers in droves. The truth is, 300 was as much a cinematic treat for the girls as it was for the boys. A strong, positive, no-nonsense lead female character? Check. Eye-candy? Check, check, check. There's just no way you can not ogle those Spartan's bodies. Plain and simple.
This movie was in good hands. Frank Miller's graphic novel translated wonderfully to the big screen. There are some stories that don't make good films (memo to Bridge to Terabithia: should have remained a book); This isn't the case for 300. Every visual element shined, from characters to costumes to battle sequences to the simply stunning cinematography. Though it seemed the dialogue left something to be desired, this is forgivable on account of the usage of actual quotes from the Battle of Thermopylae. Or so I hear. Regardless, 300 is a visual masterpiece that the makers should be proud of.
5. Originality among the masses.
Admittedly, this may seem like another swords-and-sandals epic. If it is, it's the first good one since Gladiator. But after a too-serious season of Oscar hopefuls and during a time of penguin movies, too many sequels, a string of crappy horror films and un-funny comedies, 300 is a breath of fresh air. We needed action. Big, huge, Spartan-style action.
And that's that. Got anything to add? Let me know. Frankly, I'd be willing to see 300 again next weekend.