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PCR # 363  (Vol. 8, No. 10)  This edition is for the week of March 5--11, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

The Horror and Hotties Film Festival  by Chris Woods
"300"  by Mike Smith
Horrors & Hotties Film Festival: Aftershocks....MegaCon '07  by Andy Lalino
Rondo Countdown....Scooter Me This, Batman....Bitchin' Cold  by Matt Drinnenberg
Scooter....Smooth Criminal....Passing On....Sounds Like?...Whatever Happened To...? Chapter 10: Scatman Crothers  by Mike Smith
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Warner Brothers     
Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey and Dominic West
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 57 mins

Greece. 480 B.C. A tough time if you were a kid. Plagues. Wild Animals. And even tougher if you were a boy born in Sparta. Too small? Birth defect? You were discarded. Out with the trash. When you turn seven you go off to train to be a soldier. Make it through and you've got one heck of a set of wash board abs.

I must admit that I went into "300" expecting a comic book version of "Gladiator." The source material is the graphic novel created by Frank Miller ("Sin City"). However I was greatly surprised to discover a film that not only entertained but took my breath away. Some quick history: In 480 B.C. the big man on campus is the Persian king, Xerxes. He's taken hold of Asia, most of Europe and now he wants Greece. The major conflict in his attempt to take over the country as the Battle of Thermopylae. Got it? Great.

As a young boy, Leonidas was sent off to learn how to be a soldier. In spite of the harsh conditions he excelled. Left to fend for himself in the bitter cold of winter, he defeats a giant wolf (think Luke Skywalker and the Wompa from "The Empire Strikes Back"). Over the years Leonidas rises through the ranks and is now the king of Sparta. One day a messenger is sent to inform Leonidas that King Xerxes would like him to surrender his kingdom to the Persian empire. Leonidas refuses and instead takes 300 of his best soldiers to meet in battle the 100,000 plus warriors under Xerxes' command. Using his superior military skills, Leonidas manages to force the Persian armies to attack through a narrow passage, thereby negating their numbers. After a few days of battle, the score is Spartans 15,000, Persians 4. As the fighting progresses, it's obvious that no matter what Xerxes throws at them (archers, elephants), the superior trained Spartans will not be defeated. Right?

Nonstop action from beginning to end, "300" is a film that starts off in high gear and doesn't slow down. Where many performances in epic films seem over the top, the characters here not only tell the story but deliver it in a way that few action films can. And I do mean "action." Whether watching in amazement as the Persian archers literally block out the sun with a barrage of arrows to some incredible hand to hand battles, you are left out of breath by the ferocity of the attacks. And this is battle the old fashioned way. No quick editing here to show the fighting. Soldiers despatch their foes in an almost ballet-like dance. Blood flows and heads roll (literally), but the excitement is captured on screen for all to revel in. Be warned, the battles are not for the faint of hearted. The performances are top notch, with Butler, so miscast as "The Phantom of the Opera," leading the way as Leonidas. It was obvious to all that the Spartan's were outnumbered, but even the soft prayer of a loved one ("come back with your shield or on top of it") could not stop Leonidas from leading his troops as he chose to.

A film that gets your heart racing and keeps it revved up, I give "300"  Three and a half stars

This week's movie review of "300" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.