There's a stale, synthetic airlessness about the movie. Imagine a large cast trapped in a series of spectacular screensavers. It could be ancient Greece. It could be somebody's hard drive.
Frankly, it's the slavish, frame-by-frame devotion to Miller's source material that's the problem. That explains both the risible screenplay and why the movie, for all its liberation from the real world, never takes full-winged flight.
It also pits millions of fans of brainless violence against a gallant band, or so I choose to think of us, who still expect movies to contain detectable traces of humanity.
[Gerard Butler's character] charisma is elusive. He vigorously enunciates like a summer stock player doing Shakespeare. But the writing's overblown. And locating the requisite sorrow in this tale of heroism is an afterthought for Snyder and co.
It is excessively, cheerfully violent -- and it is gorgeous to behold. It looks like the world's most sophisticated and expensive video game, and I mean that in a good way.
The disconnect between the human actors and the digital backgrounds is more pronounced here... Because classic Hollywood cinema is so rich with epic images of antiquity, this can't help but seem chintzy.
300 is one breathtaking digi-tableau after another. But the dialogue is a joke, the performances have more to do with bodybuilding than character, and the lesson that the film imparts isn't anything to do with courage and military skill.