Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2006. Warner Bros., Legendary Entertainment, Virtual Studios, Hollywood Gang Productions, Atmosphere Entertainment MM, Nimar Studios. Screenplay by Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Michael Gordon, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, Lynn Varley. Cinematography by Larry Fong. Produced by Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann, Gianni Nunnari, Jeffrey Silver. Music by Tyler Bates. Production Design by James D. Bissell. Costume Design by Michael Wilkinson. Film Editing by William Hoy.
This film reminds me of the time my good friend Groucho Marx attended a screening of Samson And Delilah in 1950 and stated that it was ‘the only movie I ever saw in which the male lead’s tits were bigger than the female’s.’ Indeed, sandbag pecs are the true star of this bland, if visually stimulating motion picture, popping out at you from all directions and following you with their menacing glare for all of two hours; one looks forward to Gold’s Gym picking up an Oscar for Best Costume Design. The stylish bits from Gladiator have been edited together and rendered in slow motion as science-fiction is projected, quite creatively, into the past, to tell the historically significant tale of when the Eastern world failed to conquer the West. Leonidas (Gerard Butler), king of Sparta, feels the threat of the Persian empire coming to make slaves of his free people and leads three hundred bronzed mansteak warriors to Thermopylae where he heads the invaders off at the pass. The rest of the time his wife (Lena Headey) stays at home and badly delivers pointless rhetoric to anyone who will listen; then she allows herself to be raped in order that more will hear her tale. Headey will soon be joining Angelina Jolie for some ‘I Was Forced To Spout Drivel In A Toga’ rehab, the two of them circling statues of Connie Nielsen as they wonder, How did she get away with it? For all the prancing and preening in ancient costume that the whole cast performs here, it amazes me that Elizabeth Taylor doesn’t show up at some point with shimmering green eyeshadow to start ordering some naked galley slaves around; but then Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro appears as the prancing and preening Xerxes (complete with a much more imposing, dubbed speaking voice) and I feel like Liz is definitely there in spirit. It’s not a particularly bad film, and thankfully isn’t as boring as Troy, but it should settle for being a shallow, stylized action film instead of aiming for lofty drama every time Butler and his teeth (the only parts of his body bigger than his pecs) shouts an eyeroll-inducing Braveheart speech right before each sword maneuver. One is excited to see what Falcon Studios will do with the material, and even more so to the French and Saunders spoof.
Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination: Best Stunt Ensemble