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300: Limited Collector’s Edition

by Michael Wood
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Nov 25, 2008
300: Limited Collector’s Edition

Smash hit, commercial blockbusters don't come much gayer than 300 - whether the creators intended it or not. Warner Bros. has released the delectable DVD set, 300 Limited Collector's Edition, full of enlightening extras and, of course, Gerard Butler's thighs.

The premise of "300" is based on comic legend Frank Miller's acclaimed graphic novel by the same name, which itself is based on the historical and mythical events of Spartan King Leonidas and his army of 300. With the pride of a lion, Leonidas leads his puny yet ferociously lethal militia to battle against the inconceivably gargantuan ranks of Xerxes, Persia's ruler and self-proclaimed god. Throughout the course of an epic three-day battle, the mighty 300 face giants, so-called "immortals," beasts and deadly archers. The 300's ultimate defeat proves to be a success due to the 300's enormous and resulting Spartan rally against the Persian enemy.

The movie has many things going for and against it. "300" is visually stunning, as the burgeoning Hollywood cliché goes. The filmmakers do a truly astonishing job not only with camera techniques (i.e. using multiple, closely-spaced cameras to capture the same fight sequence from three different angles) but also with color and CGI landscaping. Without ever having read the illustrated novel, you can sense the story's graphic roots and imagine what the original comic frames might have looked like.

The acting, as well, is commendable. Gerard Butler, as King Leonidas, is unrecognizable from his other, friendlier roles such as in "P.S. I Love You." His clear commitment to playing the role and finding a deep love for Sparta leaps off the screen. Lena Headey, playing Queen Gorgo, creates a striking balance between beauty and strength, love and ferocity.

Where the movie loses focus is in it's gratuitousness both in the realms of violence and sexism. Despite skimpy costumes, the men of "300" are never treated like meat to the extent that the women - in their limited onscreen moments - seem to be, with different scenes focusing almost solely on the thrusting breasts of Gorgo, a teenage Spartan girl, and Persian seductresses. The battle scenes are among the most violent in movie history, perhaps bloodier than "Kill Bill," only without Tarantino's sense of camp and self-consciousness.

As far as DVD sets go, the "300: Limited Collector's Edition" is like "buttah." It's the stuff of wet dreams for film and history buffs. Special features include an intimate interview with author Frank Miller and the translation of his book to film as well as the featurette "The 300 - Fact or Fiction?" which excavates the history behind the movie with historians and filmmakers alike.

"300" is a quality film with few flaws and enjoys a plush new home in this elaborate collector's edition. For anyone who like's bare-chested brutes, history, Ancient Greece, action, comics, visual vibrancy or heroic stories, this is the perfect holiday gift.

Michael Wood is a contributor and Editorial Assistant for EDGE Publications.

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