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300
(Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition)

Director 300 ($35) is a visually stunning and blood-soaked adaptation of the Frank Miller/Lynn Varley graphic novel of the same name. The graphic novel was loosely adapted from the historic Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., in which 300 Spartans (amongst others) stood against the overwhelming hordes of the Persian forces. 300 is far less interested in historic accuracy, than it is in being visually compelling, and it succeeds brilliantly on that level- becoming a superb live action graphic novel in itself. The basic premise of 300 follows upon King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) refusal to submit to the will and rule of the Persian god-emperor Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) by slaying of his ambassadors. Corrupt political and religious leaders prevent Leonidas from leading his entire army into battle, so the Spartan king takes 300 "personal bodyguards" on a covert mission to stand against the Persian forces. Along the way, the 300 are joined by other Greeks, together they blockade the encroaching Persian army, forcing them to attack through a narrow passageway, where there overwhelming numbers become far less of a tactical advantage. What follows are a series of beautifully choreographed battle sequences, which seem like comic book panels leaping off the page. The cast of 300 Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin and Andrew Tiernan.

Warner Home Video has made 300 available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. 300 has a highly stylized look, which keeps it true to the feel of a graphic novel. For much of the film, the filmmakers have chosen a desaturated or near monochromatic pallet to enhance the atmosphere of given sequences. Shadow detail is excellent, as is the contrast, although it is sometimes artificially adjusted to create a certain effect. Image sharpness and detail are terrific, although they remain within the parameters of the filmís visual style. Many of the filmís sequences are digitally constructed, but 300 maintains a certain grittiness, but the application of grain to the visuals. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.

300 comes with a suitably potent Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The track is aggressively mixed, with the outlying channels being well utilized during the battle sequences. Additionally sound effects are well deployed throughout the soundstage and donít become muddy. Fidelity is excellent; with the music and sound effects packing a punch. The bass channel is deep and is ground shaking when required. Dialogue is generally clean and easy to understand. French and Spanish 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across both discs of this set. Disc one features a running Audio Commentary with director/co-writer Zack Snyder, co-writer Kurt Johnstad and cinematographer Larry Fong. Snyder. Moving on to disc two, one will find the remainder of the supplemental programming. The 300: Fact Or Fiction is a twenty-five minute program that looks at the storyís historic origins. Who Were The Spartans? clocks in at four minutes and offers some insight into the actual Spartans. The Frank Miller Tapes is a fourteen-minute program focused on the creator of the graphic novel. The Making Of 300 is a typical five-minute fluff piece made up of interviews and clips. Making 300 In Images provides a three-minute "blink and you missed it look" at the imagery, sans digital effects. Deleted Scenes With Introduction From Director Zack Snyder is self-explanatory- with three scenes offered. Lastly, one will find a collection of twelve Webisodes consisting on online promotional content, totaling thirty-eight minutes of material, which covers topics such as Production Design, Wardrobe, Stunt Work, Adapting The Graphic Novel and Cast Members.

300 is a visually brilliant graphic novel brought to life. Warnerís DVD looks and sound great and offers some solid supplements. Recommended.

 

300 (WIDESCREEN TWO-DISC SPECIAL EDITION) 


300 (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) (2007)

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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