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300, 2006

Director Zack Snyder‘s monumental Greco epic is something few have not yet heard about.  It skillfully combines an intense visual and coloring scheme, superb writing, fantastic acting, and absolutely monumental effects and sets to bring to life a famous battle in which a group of Greek soldiers were able to hold back the immense army of the Persian Empire. To be sure this is not something which can even be said to be based on a true story; it is an interpretation of a fictitious story not unlike the kind of stories, epics, and legends created during the time in which this film’s actions are supposed to take place.

Advancing hordes of of millions of the conquered nations of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) the self-described god-kind of Persian Empire are perched to attack the city-state of Sparta in their efforts to expand the empire.  The Spartans are obstinate and their king Leonidas (Gerard Butler) refuses to so much as discuss a solution; opting instead to kill the messenger and defend his people with a small group of immensely trained professional soldiers.

What follows is a gory epic story of this small army of Spartan warriors and a few other Greek allies against the millions of soldiers of Xerxes in a vicious, intense and long-lasting battle with Leonidas essentially putting everything he has against allowing Persian encroachment into Greek territory at any cost.

The battle scenes are magnificent in their color, vividness, choreography and every other sense of that may be described.  While there is certain to be a certain amount of historical inaccuracy inherent in the telling of this tale, this heroic epic may very well be described as a cinematic version of the heroic epics of The Iliad by Homer or The Aeneid by Virgil.  To be sure, such a comparison is hardly fair or accurate as both of those works are really quite unparalleled, but the setting, story, heroism, self-sacrifice, and exaggeration are all something more likely found in the poetry of the ancients rather than on the big screens of the theaters.

If you have not already done so, see this movie.  It is absolutely wonderful.