300: The IMAX Experience – Review

It is very rare when a movie lives up to the lofty expectations that the trailer has set. The trailer for 300 set my expectations incredibly high, but the film did not disappoint.

Part of me thinks this review is pointless. If you saw the trailer, you want to see it. Heck, I just watched it again and thought, “Wow, this movie looks awesome, I’ve gotta see this!”

But, perhaps a poor critical review is keeping you from watching it. If so, know that the critics are wrong, and the people have spoken. This film is already in the top 200 films of all time on the IMDB. Of the 37,000 voters who’ve rated it, almost 75% gave it a 9 or 10 (actually, close to 60% give it a perfect 10). Also, the only critic who matters is Roger Ebert, and he didn’t review it.

But not only must you see it in the theatre, you must see it in IMAX. I promise you, you will hate yourself if you wait for video. Seriously, I don’t care how good your home theatre is, it can’t do this movie justice. If you wait for DVD, there will be much wailing (from you) and gnashing of teeth (Yes, your teeth. Totally gnashed.).

The film is a visually stunning masterpiece. It begs for IMAX, and IMAX delivers. Make no mistake – this is not a regular movie thrown on an IMAX screen, it is a special print mastered in the IMAX format. We saw it at The Bridge in LA, and except for some seats in the very last row (behind some stupid railing), there didn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house. We even sat towards the back-left, but the screen is so monstrous we seemed to be barely off center.

The fight scenes? Incredible. The sex scenes? Filmed on a cold set, apparently. You might miss that in some small theater, but not with IMAX. See? IMAX is looking out for you.

The sound is also fantastic. A deep bass rumbles as the largest army ever assembled marches on screen. As shields bash skulls. As a god-king whispers. Seriously, the man has no “inside voice”.

The casting was excellent. Gerard Butler was the epitome of the warrior king, and I expect more leading roles from him in the future. I also expect – and this is written without the slightest hint of irony or sarcasm – that you will see a surge in the number of boys named Leonidas. I don’t think think, however, we will be seeing many girls named Gorgo, despite Lena Headey’s portrayal of the beautiful and strong queen. I do think we’ll see a lot more of Kelly Craig (Oracle Girl), assuming Larry Ellison doesn’t run off and marry her. Heck, here’s some more Oracle Girl right now:

Oracle Girl

Continuing 300’s affect on pop culture, I also predict that MSU will have this film playing on campus, and steal the music and dialogue clips to get their teams pumped, for most of eternity. And just about every new local sports team will want to call themselves the Spartans. And the next NFL expansion team will be the LA Spartans, so we can say LA is home to both the Spartans and the Trojans.

For those who’ve already seen it, I’ve compiled a list of titles for further viewing. I haven’t seen these, but have added them to my Netflix queue. Unfortunately, none of these have Kelly Craig.

  • Beowulf & Grendel: Starring Gerard Butler as Beowulf.
  • Last Stand of the 300: History Channel special on the subject. Unfortunately, it only had one airing and now they want you to buy the DVD. I’ll wait.
  • The 300 Spartans: 1962 film depicting the same battle.
  • Imagine Me & You: If you want to see more of Lena Headey, she plays a lesbian temptress in this romantic comedy. So what I’m saying is, you want to see more of Lena Headey.

7 thoughts on “300: The IMAX Experience – Review”

  1. I have not had a second viewing of this movie at a normal theatre, so I cannot comment on the differences. But I can back up you claims of the IMAX ‘wow’ factor. The screen was cropped to accomodate the film’s aspect ratio, but still provided a room-filling view. This might be a good film to see at the Cinerama Dome, but since most of the image compositions followed prescribed graphic-novel frames, we may not get the best effect there.

    I’m still curious about what would happen if the filmmakers allowed the film to be cropped (sacrilege!!) in order to fill the IMAX screen. This sounds more satisfying than it probably is. And I’m sure that the action I applauded when the IMAX Spiderman trailer was played would not translate well for ‘300’ We would end up with off-screen action that would be very frustrating to the viewer.

    But you’d get an extra close look at Kelly Craig.

  2. I agree 100% Without a doubt or any hesitation, for me this was the best movie of the century (so far).

    Seriously, if you have the good sense to check out this site, then you should have already seen 300. If not, go see it soon, before someone finds out. Besides the best movie boobies in years, the action, the cinematography, the casting, the music….. ALL were top notch. Sadly, my local Imax theater doesn’t have the good sense play this movie, but in the year old megplex they put it on the big screen and I did not feel ripped off. Proper seat selection (enabled by showing up early) can help you get the most out of some of the newer theaters.

  3. I saw the History channel’s special. It was on about a week ago. It explains the differences between fiction and fantasy regarding the film, along with some details the film didn’t cover. As with many movies, (ahem LOTR cough cough) it is impossible to get thousands of pages of storyline to fit into a 90+ minute presentation.
    The TV special pointed out many things that were embellished like the 300 Spartans against millions of Persians. The Spartans WERE few, but the had help from other cities willing to stand with the few Spartans. The number came closer to 1300 against 100,000 or something like that, but you get my point. It was embellished, but still amazing.
    I think the most awesome part of the whole war (from the History channel’s telling) was when the 300 Spartans marched PAST the rest of the retreating Greek forces as they worked their way to the front in preparation to stand and die just to ensure the Greek would escape.

    Moving on… Now that 300 is playing, has anyone noticed the headlines about Iran? They think the American government funded this film just to get Americans to hate Iran. They actually talk about this in the streets, marketplaces, homes, you name it. It’s the number one subject over there right now.
    I seriously doubt that most Americans even put the pieces together concerning Persia and Iran. It’s as if we have nothing better to think about over here. Like my new Wii for example. Hooray for Wii!

  4. I have now seen this movie twice, both times on an IMAX screen. This is simply one of my favorite movies of all time and if the opportunity comes up I will see it again.

    It is in the IMAX DMR format, so while it wont look as good as a film shot specifically for IMAX, it looks much better than a 35mm presentation of the film will. I would have been pretty upset if the film was modified to fill an IMAX screen. That could only have been done by editing the movie and doing a pan & scan. If you were looking for that you may as well wait for the full screen DVD and watch it at home. We did see previews for the IMAX version of spiderman 3 and I can assure you that when you see the actual movie that it wont fill the IMAX screen like the previews did and if for some crazy reason it does, then I probably wont see it there.

    The soundtrack of the movie was amazing and sounded incredible with the 12,000 watts of power available at the theater. It makes me question the purchase of my beloved Sunfire Signature Subwoofer at only 2700 watts.

    I also noticed that the history channel has been showing “The Last Stand of the 300” again so you should be able to catch it on DVR if you dont want to purchase the DVD. I was mostly under the impression that most of the film was just fiction and was amazed to see just how much of it was true. One thing I think a lot of people I have talked to about the movie seem to have missed is that the movie did not say that the 300 spartans were the only ones who fought against the persians. While most of the battle sequences show only spartans, you do see a line of other greek soldiers leaving the battle at the end of the movie that is easily hundreds if not thousands of people long and that was meant to represent all the support that the spartans had.

  5. I must support your statement regarding Persian depiction in the movies. The only reason I equate Persians with Iranians is because I worked with a great Persian/Iranian guy and he preferred the latter term. But most people have no idea where Persia is; if they go to a Persian restaurant I imagine there’s a lot of curiosity regarding this ancient culture. Nowhere in my experience did I see references to Iran in the various restaurants that I frequented.

    As to the ‘best movie’ status, I don’t know if this film will still be remembered along the lines of ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘2001’ or even ‘E.T.’
    However, if may be remembered as the first time that the graphic novel met the film medium (with CGI blended seamlesssly) to create a truly great entertainment. I’m thinking of ‘Titanic’ which was heralded during its time but has now disappeared from the public’s mind.

    Similarly, the movie should be remembered for its use of “Leonidas”; I foresee a spike in kids named “Leon” and girls named “Ida.”
    Sorry I cannot do anything with “Gorgo” I plan on starting a campaign to promote Gorgo-gorgeous. Feel free to use it often, and as intrusively as possible.

    GORGO-GORGEOUS movie, baby !!!!!

  6. Perhaps it’s just me but “Leon” does not have the impact that “Leonidas” does. If king Leon tried to lead me into battle, I am not sure if I would follow. If Leonidas tells me to get a move on, I spring into action.

    I would also do anything for Queen Gorgo but without the Queen in front it loses a bit of its edge.

  7. Seriously, does Iran really worry about what the rest of the world thinks about them? Hell, I bet they financed 300, hoping more people will hate them in ways they are not able to manage on their own. They are in some sort of secret race with North Korea to get a “nucular” anal probe. Yeah, grab some British sea men, that will show the world who is boss! Threaten the world with nukes! “Whaaa, we were not shown as the care-free laid back cool dudes that we truly are”. I can’t think of a racially insensitive enough descriptor for these fools to express my complete lack of interest in their feelings, culture, or continued existence. Pretty sure they feel the same way about me too.

    On a different note, I finally got another guy at work to catch it this weekend. His main comment was “wow, the whole theater was filled with gay men”. You can imagine that conversation didn’t end the way he intended.

    As to the comment of “best movie of the century so far”, this is mostly a reflection on the utter lack of quality coming from hollywood for the last 6 years, for me. I don’t care how happy they make their target audiences, just what I like, and it seems that hollywood and I are drifting apart. Yeah, there were a few gems (for me the Kill Bill series is about all that comes to mind), but overall a good movie is lucky to be just good, not epic and amazing. I will buy this on DVD. I didn’t buy the Lord of the Rings, Saving Private Ryan, or any of the other great movies that I have enjoyed, but this one, I will. The only thing on the horizon I am looking forward to is the new Dr. Tran movie….

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