"This is SPARTA!"
Just wanted to establish that.
The Battle of Thermopylae was one of history's great battles; one that could be argued was pivotal in helping to keep Western civilisation from being nipped in the bud. At Thermopylae, a small Greek force lead by 300 Spartan warriors faced a many times vaster Persian army bent on the total conquest of Greece. The Spartans all died in the battle, save for one man who, to his shame was sent home with an eye infection. Though they lost, they threw back wave after wave of Persian assaults and were only defeated due to treachery. What they did that day demonstrated what free men could do fighting against slaves and helped to preserve the civilisation that we enjoy today.
300, based on Frank Miller's
The actors have the thankless job of racing after the over the top production, but they all put in an effort. Gerard Butler's Scottish brogue is so thick that you imagine that when he dines in Hell it'll be on haggis and Lena Headey tries to ground the story in some sort of emotional sanity, though without much success. At least they are spared David Wenham's having to carry an interminable narration and Rodrigo Santoro's thankless task of playing Xerxes as a nine-foot tall drag queen who makes Ru Paul look like Clint Eastwood.
300 is visually brilliant and a daring experiment in style, but it's comic book script and overwrought seriousness makes this a film to only see once. Watch it twice and you'll know why it makes such good Rifftrax material.