Wednesday, February 4, 2015

In with the New Blogathon: 300

The In with the New Blogathon continues!

The idea of this blogathon is a simple one. Pick a remake (or reboot) that you think is better than the original and tell us why. To get the full explanation on what it takes to join in on the fun, click the link below to my original post. In the mean time, I'm dropping my second entry into the bucket.

You may know that according to legend, Frank Miller saw 1962's The 300 Spartans as a boy and thought it was the greatest thing he'd ever seen. Fast-forward a few years and Miller would use that experience as inspiration to write the graphic novel "300." Fast-forward a few more years and his version would become a movie on its own. I've had the pleasure of viewing both. Yes, the original is more historically accurate. It also roots the action and the characters more in reality. I appreciate this and enjoy the movie, but let's face it, the new-millennium spectacle that is 300 is a whole lot more fun.

So here are:

The Top 10 Reasons Why

Oh, before we go any further...ahem...


Our arrows will blot out the sun!!!
Both movies use the line. In both, the response is "Then we'll fight in the shade." Hey, why change a great line. Anyhoo, by the time we actually see said arrows in flight in The 300 Spartans, henceforth to be referred to as Spartans, they don't really do a whole lot of blotting. It looks like a couple dozen arrows that King Leonidas and his boys should be able to knock away. Part of it is technology. In 300, we get a ton of CGI arrows that let you know it's all over for the good guys. Just look at the pic. If you haven't seen the movie, those are arrows forming that black cloud in the background. Sadly, the opening seen of Spartans shows us hundreds of real-live extras. They coulda done better.

Spy vs. Spy
In both movies, the Spartans are betrayed by one of their own. Sorta. In the new one we get a grotesque, dwarf humpback Spartan who wants nothing more than to fight the Persian army with his bretheren. He switches alliances when Leo gets a glimpse of him demonstrating his weak fighting technique and won't let him join the battle. That bastard. In the new one, we just get a bummy goat-herder who's not a Spartan and willingly sells out for a few pieces of gold. Slacker.

New Spartan Workout Plan
I know, I know...every sword and sandal movie ever made is pretty much accepted to have a homoerotic slant. What I'm about to say won't change that perception any, but dammit I'm jealous of these dudes. In Spartans, when you join the army you get a red cape, helmet, sword, shield and armor to protect that soft mid-section. In Frank Miller's Sparta, it's apparent that every man is issued the same red cape and sword but has to provide his own six-pack cuz ain't no armor here.

In Spartans our heroes are fairly normal human beings. Sure they manage to fight off an enemy many times their own size longer than they had any right to, but they're pretty regular guys. Leonidas only raises his voice slightly when he wants his "Spartans" to come to order. In 300, 'roid-rage has run rampant. These guys get each other fired up, and you the viewer as well, by yelling at one another constantly. Leonidas is the best at this of course. It's pretty hard to contain yourself when he screams at the top of your lungs "THIS IS SPARTAAAAAHHHHHH!!!" or "SPARTANS!!!"

Let's be honest. No matter what age, most guys are fairly immature when it comes to sex on the big screen. Sure, we can enjoy a movie without it but if its in there, that's a bonus. With that in mind, I thought our original Queen was a pretty lady but she doesn't put out. The one lady that does, Xerxes' girl, hides the goods, hey I understand. It was made in 1962 after all. Still, the new Queen ain't exactly shy if you know what I mean. She'll even give it up in the name of helping Sparta. What a gal. And I haven't even mentioned what goes on in Xerxe's tent.

The Oracle Girl
In the original film, mythology is played down. Way down. We get a few references to the gods but nothing major. Leonidas does consult the oracles before going to war like a good Spartan king should but he sends someone else to actually see them. We never do. Fast forward to 300. Leo has to actually climb up a mountain and meet the ornery crew himself. For his troubles, he gets treated to a strip-tease, ahem, trance induced dance. For us, seeing this lends some credence to the whole supernatural deal going on here.

SPARTANS!!! Fight better than Spartans
Early on in Spartans we see some nice tactical moves by our heroes. However, when the camera zooms in to show the close-quarters combat we get bad camera angles, often too close, and we see lots of flailing around. The new Spartans don't flail. You can tell these guys are well-trained with the sword and shield. Plus they delight in nothing more than slicing open a Persian soldier.

God-King > King
The old king is just that, old. And bitter. Accurately, he's pissed at Greece because his father was defeated there. He's also got a bunch of people giving him differing advice, one of whom he's in love with. To his credit, he does threaten to kill her but hey, that's what bad guys are supposed to do. Our new Xerxes is something different. He said to be part god and part man. He appears to be over 7 feet tall, is a bit androgenous in appearance and is generally a sight to behold. Plus he's a major perv. This guy must be stopped.

Ssslllooowww Mmmoootttiiiooonnn
I know it was a gimmick but you gotta admit, a limb or head getting hacked off while blood splatters across the screen in super-slo-mo over and over again is one of the most gorgeous sights ever seen in a guy movie. I very nearly shed tears over the beauty of it.

LEONIDAS would kick Leonidas's ASS!!!
It probably wouldn't be that close a fight either. In Spartans Leonidas only wanted to defend Greece. He fought well enough to do so and had fun doing it. He may also have the edge in smarts as he didn't kill the messenger and managed to organize a sneak attack on Xerxes. But in a mano y mano battle the new Leonidas would drag the old one all over Thermopylae. That guy is just a beast. You see what he did to that wild whatever that thing was when he was just a kid. Yeah, he wanted to defend Greece too but he wasn't happy unless he's collected a dozen different samples of DNA on the end of his sword.

To get a crash course on The 300 Spartans check out this trailer. It’s called a spoof trailer but whoever made it just added some modern music to it and didn’t really spoof anything. Pay attention to those arrows that “blot out the sun.”

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  1. Great post! 300 was a fantastic movie! The battle scenes were so awesome! You can't help but cheer for them even if you know how things end.

    1. Exactly. You could pick apart the weak story and the silliness of it all, but it's ridiculously fun to watch. Kinda hard to beat that.

  2. LOL. Awesome post! I never saw 300 Spartans, but 300 was a damn good time.

  3. Your number one...LOL! So true!

    I love 300...trashy fun and so worth the time.

    I haven't seen the sequel, because, like, no.

    1. Trashy fun is a great way to describe 300. And yeah, stay away from the sequel. I made the mistake of watching it. Ugh!

  4. Awesome Dell! Haven't seen 300 Spartans but in terms of over-the-top style and entertainment value, you can't beat 300!! I LOVE Gerry Butler as Leonidas and I actually saw him at TIFF in 2005 when he was starting to train for this flick, so he looked quite buff already. I also love Lena Heady as Queen Gorgo and that sex scene is mighty hot, too ;-)

    1. Thanka . 300 is nothing, if not stylish. Must have been fun seeing Butler. And yeah, Heady is perfect as and out of bed.

  5. What kind of fool would I be to not to say yes to 300.... THIS IS SPARTA!!!!! I haven't seen The 300 Spartans but then again.... probably have no interest. I just love 300 for the fact that it is all style and is not afraid to be all-style while having lots of sex and violence.

    1. Exactly! It's so unabashedly ridiculous that it's heart-warming. And really, once you've seen 300, it's hard to appreciate the more earth-bound effort of The 300 Spartans.

  6. Awesome post! 300 is definitely one of my fave movies :)

  7. Love the way you juxtaposed one to the other. 300 is a big splashy ridiculous entertainment and you just have to check reality at the door. That's fine and even welcome sometimes but I weary of the CGI at times. The original Spartans is definitely clunkier and you're so right that Gerald Butler would kick Richard Egan and his curly perm to the curb but I love those old sword and sandal films for the realness of the action. No matter how good the computer imagery it can't take the place of the feeling of the real masses of extras. I've always had a soft spot for Diane Baker as well.

    I know it sounds like I prefer the earlier version but overall it's the newer one I favor. The older has many aspects to admire though.

    1. There are definitely things to admire about the original. I don't think it's a bad film. It just can't compete with the newer one.

  8. I really enjoyed 300 such an entertaining popcorn flick. Visually it blew me away the first time I saw it...certainly used cgi well making the battles more epic.

    1. It certainly is a visual stunner. I remember sitting in the theater and just being floored by what I was seeing.