Just checked out 300 last night and it was a total blast. Totally over-the-top, totally violent and totally fun. Totally unhistorical, too, but that was not the point.
Even though just about everyone has heard all about 300 already (and probably seen it, too, judging by its monstrous opening box office), and even though it has nothing to do with Korean pop culture, I liked it enough that I am going to prattle for a bit.
In fact, I think most critics (judging by comments over at Metacritic) have been really off base about 300, calling the film a video-game wannabe or a glorification of fascism and militarism. In fact, the 300 is a celebration of spectacle for its own sake, very much in the vein of Francis Ford Coppola’s BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, with its beautiful excess and blood-drenched style.
There is a definite Frank Frazetta thing going on, too. Compare these two images. First from the movie:
Rather liked this image, too:
It amazes me how often movie critics do not “get” was some films are about. Like how so many people thought STARSHIP TROOPERS was a defense of fascism, when it was clearly a parody of it.
Frank Miller revolutionized the comic book industry back in the 1980s and 90s with his crazy violence and sex, and then he kept turning up the volume (until reaching the SIN CITY books). People are going to his comics as source materials for their movies, not because of the plots, but for their style, tone and atmosphere. In the process, they are creating something new (at least for movie-goers). Which is something a lot of jaded, over-movied critics seem to forget sometimes — the average movie fan wants not only spectacle, but also new kinds of spectacle. Which is one reason that comic books are such a fertile source of new ideas… not only do they have visual stories, but they suggest a whole visual vocabulary and atmosphere.
(Amusingly enough, many critics go in the other direction. After seeing too many (bad) movies, they often prefer originality in story, with less interest in technique and style. Same basic urge, but expressed in a very different way.)
Anyhow. 300. Liked it oodles. But your results may vary.
UPDATE: It is looking like 300 will be big here in Korea, too. On Wednesday alone, on less than 300 screens, 300 pulled in around $820,000. Sounds like it should top 1 million admissions by Sunday night (which for March is pretty impressive).