|Riffers||Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett|
|Date Released||July 31, 2007|
300 is a 2007 American fantasy war film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Both are fictionalized retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae within the Persian Wars. The film was directed by Zack Snyder, while Miller served as executive producer and consultant. It was filmed mostly with a super-imposition chroma key technique, to help replicate the imagery of the original comic book. The plot revolves around King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), who leads 300 Spartans into battle against the Persian "god-King" Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his invading army of more than 300,000 soldiers. As the battle rages, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) attempts to rally support in Sparta for her husband. The story is framed by a voice-over narrative by the Spartan soldier Dilios (David Wenham). Through this narrative technique, various fantastical creatures are introduced, placing 300 within the genre of historical fantasy. RiffTrax released their riff in July 2007.
Synopsis and PreviewEdit[Spoilers Begin]
One year after the Battle of Thermopylae, Dilios' narrates the story in a campfire, telling the life of Leonidas from childhood up to becoming King of Sparta. The young Leonidas' life is depicted, chronicling his journey from a boy to a man per Spartan doctrine. Years later, after Leonidas is crowned King, Persian messengers arrive at the gates of Sparta demanding its submission to King Xerxes. Offended by their threats and behavior, King Leonidas and his guards kick the messengers into a well. Leonidas visits the Ephors, proposing a strategy to repel the numerically superior Persians by using the terrain of the Hot Gates (Thermopylae) – his plan involves funneling the Persians into a narrow pass between the rocks and the sea. The Ephors consult the Oracle, who decrees that Sparta may not go to war during the Carneia religious festival. As Leonidas departs, a messenger from Xerxes appears, rewarding the Ephors for their covert support.
Since the Ephors have denied him permission to mobilize Sparta's army, Leonidas follows his plan, gathering 300 of his best soldiers in the guise of his personal bodyguard. Along the way to Thermopylae, they are joined by the Arcadians, who want to help Leonidas in the battle against the Persians. They construct a wall at Thermopylae to contain the approaching Persian advance. Meanwhile, Leonidas encounters Ephialtes, a hunchbacked Spartan whose parents fled Sparta to spare him certain infanticide. Ephialtes asks to redeem his father's name by joining Leonidas' army, warning him of a secret path the Persians could use to outflank and surround the Spartans. Leonidas is sympathetic to the eager warrior but rejects him, as Ephialtes cannot properly hold a shield, which would destroy the Spartans' phalanx formation.
Prior to the battle, the Persians demand that the Spartans lay down their weapons. Leonidas refuses, and with their tightly-knit phalanx formation, the Spartans use the narrow terrain to repeatedly kill wave after wave of the advancing Persian army. Soon after, the Spartans are rained down by millions of Persian arrows, which they deflect easily using their huge shields. After the battle, Xerxes personally approaches Leonidas to persuade him to surrender, offering Leonidas wealth and power in exchange for his loyalty. Leonidas declines, promising instead to make the "God-King" bleed. Outraged, Xerxes sends in his elite guards, the Immortals, whom the Spartans, with help from the Arcadians, defeat. As the Spartans continue to defeat Xerxes' forces, Ephialtes defects to the Persian king and reveals the location of the secret path. When they hear of Ephialtes' betrayal, the Arcadians retreat, but the Spartans stay. Leonidas orders an injured but reluctant Dilios to return to Sparta to tell the Council of the Spartan's sacrifice.
In Sparta, Leonidas' wife, Queen Gorgo reluctantly submits sexually to the influential Theron in exchange for help in persuading the Spartan Council to send reinforcements to Leonidas. When Theron betrays her in front of the Council, Gorgo kills him out of rage, which spills open a bag of Xerxes' gold from Theron's robe. Marking Theron's betrayal, the Council unites against Persia. At Thermopylae, the Persians use the secret path Ephialtes showed them, outflanking the Spartans. As the Persians surround the Spartans, Xerxes' general demands their surrender, again offering Leonidas titles and wealth. Leonidas seemingly bows to surrender in submission, allowing one of the Spartans to leap over him and kill the general. A furious Xerxes orders his troops to attack. As Persian archers shoot at the Spartans, Leonidas rises and throws his spear at Xerxes, cutting Xerxes' face, thus making good on his promise to make "the God-King bleed." Xerxes, ashamed, is visibly disturbed by this reminder of his own mortality. Knowing that they are surrounded, the Spartans fight up to the last man before they are all killed by arrows. Dilios, now back at Sparta, gives Leonidas' necklace to Queen Gorgo as a message for their sacrifice. Concluding his tale before an audience of attentive Spartans, Dilios declares that the 120,000-strong Persian army with heavy losses were "almost" defeated by 300 Spartans. Now, the Persians face 10,000 Spartans commanding 30,000 Greeks. Praising Leonidas' sacrifice, Dilios leads the Greek army into battle against the Persian army, igniting the Battle of Plataea.
Cast and CrewEdit
- Gerard Butler as Leonidas
- Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo
- Giovanni Cimmino as Pleistarchus
- Dominic West as Theron
- David Wenham as Dilios
- Vincent Regan as Captain Artemis
- Tom Wisdom as Astinos
- Andrew Pleavin as Daxos
- Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes
- Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes
- Michael Fassbender as Stelios
- Kelly Craig as Pythia
- Tyler Neitzel as young Leonidas
- Robert Maillet as Uber Immortal
- Patrick Sabongui as the Persian General
- Leon Laderach as Executioner