I was pretty disappointed with 300, and not just by the crappy title. I thought it was exciting, sure, but there just wasn’t enough in it for me…perhaps they just followed the “true story” too closely? Fighting men, waiting, stacking bodies, fighting monsters. Tack on a poorly-developed side plot with Leonidas’ wife.
The CGI was fairly underwhelming too. Why couldn’t Greece be sunny and clear-skied? Oh, because it wouldn’t look nearly as cool as a blood-red sun fading behind a constant cover of eerie clouds. Virtual wolves are far more frightening than the real thing, and a field of simulated wheat with idealized lighting conditions (which are poorly reflected on a line of soldiers) looks far better when bathed in perpetual twilight.
But the biggest gripe I had was that I couldn’t really identify with the Spartans anyway. To put it bluntly – they’re dicks. They kill babies, beat kids, abuse women, murder unarmed men, and exude cockiness. Any feelings motivating me to “root for the underdog” were crushed by the constant nagging remembrance that these guys are the abusive, drunken stepfathers of the ancient world.
Spartan King Leonidas: My heart is broken for your loss
Captain: Heart? I have filled my heart with hate
Spartan King Leonidas: Good
Ooo, I hope they win!
Any historical inaccuracies aside (since I’m ignorant on the subject), I’ll just say that the story of the Alamo is basically the exact same: the “good guys” are vastly outnumbered and must make a final stand against incredible odds. They all get slaughtered (heroically), but they’re avenged by their comrades amidst cries to “remember [Sparta]/[the Alamo]/[Vanilla Ice].” It’s worth seeing, but there’s not much worth remembering.