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300 on IMAX

Film Five Stars

I received two tickets to a special screening of 300 (Filmstalker review) at the London BFI-IMAX cinema, and because I'd spent a small fortune going to see the first press screening, I couldn't afford to travel again. So, because of her enthusiasm and all the support she's shown Filmstalker, I gave the tickets to Simone and sent her on a very important mission.

Here is Simone to review 300 on IMAX, watching Butler as big as a house, and from reading it sounds like she loved every moment of it:

I had conditioned myself that I wouldn't get to see 300 until the UK release date on March 23. So you can imagine how literally thrilled I was when my friend Richard Brunton - Filmstalker's founder and resident writer - decided, on a whim mind you, to give me his tickets for the BFI-IMAX Press Screening of 300.

300.jpgI nearly missed seeing the film after finding out that they were oversubscribed, but Richard helped sort this all out so special thanks to Tom and Jill for making sure I made it to the screening.

It was a full house, and before the screening we were given a warm welcome by one of the BFI guys who also gave us the latest US box office figures for 300 sitting at US$70 million, wherein US$3.5 million of which came from IMAX screenings. I'll let you in on a secret, I have never been to an IMAX screening so I was definitely looking forward to what they describe as the ultimate movie experience, and it really was one helluva.

So like the 300 Spartans preparing to go to battle, I also came mightily prepared, armed with my drool bucket and a portable defibrillator in case all of a sudden my heart stops at the sight of Gerard Butler.

The film is a visual, orgasmic feast of color, effects and style. Not having read the graphic novel I can only imagine how the adaptation came across as a a true representation of Miller's comic art form. It was the action sequences that did it for me, with slow motion used just in the right moments adding to the impact of the particular scene, and the fast and often furious moments were also done extremely well.

Remember that I am watching this on IMAX, so every blood splattered across the screen is like seeing crimson red blood corpuscles that is magnified more than what you can see on a usual screen with a panoramic view. Sitting there in awe with my heart beating wild and drool slowly dripping on my bucket, I wondered how different it would be if I saw it on an ordinary screen, but with IMAX, it worked perfectly well.

And of course there is Gerard Butler. Now, I have a strong suspicion that the success of the film is a combination of the novel's fanbase, the effective marketing of Warner Bros, and the support of Butler's own fanbase including yours truly. I have been a Butler fan since The Phantom of the Opera and have followed his career since. He has played a few historical icons in the past, but here, as King Leonidas your heart just goes out to him.

The moment you see him on the screen for the first time, you can see a commanding presence that I can only remember seeing when I saw Russell Crowe in Gladiator. His Leonidas is passionate as he is powerful. Butler was utterly convincing as the great Spartan King and warrior and maybe it's all conjecture but if this was how Leonidas roused his troops to fight against the Persian army during his time, no wonder he got their full support, and all for glory. Some were saying that his Scottish accent was distracting, I actually thought he has mellowed the accent and that it didnt prove to be a distraction at all.

This is a solid, powerful film and having said that, Zack Snyder will now be the director to watch, when it has been announced that his next project is another graphic novel adaptation of Watchmen, with Butler also on board to star.

If you have to see the same movie twice this year, I recommend that you do with 300, if it fails to impress you for the first time on the ordinary screen, then head off and see it again on IMAX theaters near you, I know I would.

[Richard back] Many thanks to Simone for her review, she's made me jealous and I wish I had the cash to head down to the screening. Perhaps next time!

Simone's site
UK IMDB Film Details
Filmstalker review of 300



Hey Simone, well written. I think you were a little overblown and biassed with your first IMAX experience. I remember mine (Fantasia 2000) and it was frakkin' awesome.

The battle scenes are certainly intense and I'm sure bold and beautiful on IMAX. but I couldn't possibly give this film 5 stars for lack of anything resembling substance or depth. I also thought the acting was a little stiff (with the exception of Len Heady who was strong and beautiful).

But I totally agree about the battles. If you're into these grand battlles that are well choreographed and have a fantastic style all their own, you'd be hard pressed to find anything better than "300."

Nice review - keep em coming!

I dunno what's wrong with me but I have yet to see this film on IMAX. Your review made me want to see it pronto.

I enjoyed the theatrical version and although I saw it in a digital screen, I can just imagine whow awesome it would be to see full-blown, and full- throttle on IMAX. That would be Gerry Butler times ten resulting in heart palpitations gone haywire. Thud!

The theatre I saw the advanced screening of 300 at has IMAX, so I've been thinking about heading back there now that it's been officially released to catch it again on the BIG big screen. Now that I've read this, I feel justified in doing so.

Drew: I see your point, but I'm wondering why you walked into it expecting anything more than a spectacle of violence? Not everything has to have substance in order to be entertaining. To each his/her own I suppose...

I am really interested in the movie now! Pity I can´t get the IMAX experience... Good job!

Nice review Sim, am finally getting to a press show on Monday so will have my Darkmatters review up by Monday evening!!
Man I'm psyched for this film having been a huge Frank Miller fan (graphic novels etc) for years!!
Keep reviewing - I like your style!

My first repeat viewing this year was 300. I went off to see it in glorious IMAX over the weekend.

I've seen my share of IMAX films (considering the 45 minute drive to the closes IMAX theater) but once in a while it's well worth the effort and as Simone pointed out, this is one of those times.

I will say that the first few minutes in SUPER BIG SCREEN were stellar and once the initial shock wore off, it was just like watching a movie on a regular screen except for the fact that it's 6 stories high and pumps 12,000 watts of sound.

All movies should be in IMAX. WOW.

And useless trivia: IMAX is Canadian technology.

Thanks for the kind words you guys! ;)

I'm off to see the IMAX version tomorrow, which will mark the first time in nearly 20 years (that I can remember) that I'll have seen an IMAX film. It better be that good...

Ey James, come back and tell us how your IMAX experience was like! ;)

Simone forced me out to the Imax this morning for my second 300 viewing. Several scenes are spectacular on Imax, but there are some portions early in the battle that suffer from the format in my opinion. The quick camera movement which goes away later makes it tough for me to watch on the really big screen. Shots like the Persian messengers riding into Sparta, however, make up for it.

Also on my second viewing, I can't believe more people aren't mentioning David Wenham's performance. Extremely good in my opinion.

Nice review, Simone.


I used the Jedi mind trick on you hap and it worked! I thought IMAX is great if I wanted a larger than life Gerry Butler - worked perfectly for me too!

Thanks that you decided to see it again on IMAX based on this review. ;)

I'm kind of with Hap here. I didn't think the IMAX format benefitted the film at all, as it made the overused CGI look even more fake than I suspect it would do on a conventional screen. On the whole I found myself unmoved.

Just wanted to clarify real quick that there were areas I thought it benefited from Imax but others where it hurt. Overall, though, the quality of equipment at the Imax forces me to give the nod to Imax. Like the director said, you need good, loud audio, and it was nice to see a movie without scratches for once.


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