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From the graphic novel by the same name by Frank Miller, who is one of Hollywood’s golden boys right now, him and Alan “V for Vendetta” Moore.

Mr. Otter and I both read this book, and it was pretty good. It’s the battle of Thermopylae, 480 BC, where the Greek army, vastly outnumbered, held off the Persian hordes and did massive damage to them. The most famous part of this is the part the movie is about, where King Leonidas and 300 spartans (and 700 more non-Spartan Greek soldiers) hold the pass at Thermopylae for three days against the Persians.

Now, both of us had read the graphic novel, and as I remember, thought it was okay. Not as good as Sin City (which Mr. Otter has not read) but good. And I figured the movie would only improve on the novel.

Plus, of course, every single woman I knew had told me about the eye-candy contained therein. Not to mention that every reviewer had to use the word ‘beefcake’ somewhere in the review, without fail. Ah, thought I, this sounds like a serious, thoughtful, historically accurate yet sensitive movie full of cerebral delights.

And boy HOWDY was I ever right! Oh, sorry, I’m drooling.

Evidently they filmed the whole thing in front of a blue screen and then cgi’d the HECK out of it…which means that all these guys in their little leather speedos (yeah, sure, that’s what the Spartans wore…) are BUFFED OUT TO THE MAX. Six-packs everywhere. OMG. Like Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books, filmed with an entirely nude cast (no kidding, even Sir John Gielgud), after a while you just don’t notice it any more. But it sure made for a nice movie-going experience!

This was a seriously guy-oriented action movie: very tough, very military, very bloody. And yet…many women liked it a lot, and not just for the scenery (which was indeed excellent, did I mention that part? good.) Because it’s really beautifully made.

Although this is the part where I have to mention that I did not go see this movie with Mr. Otter. Oh no. I foolishly agreed to accompany Mr. Otter’s dark side, Historian-on-a-Stick…and spent the whole movie next to him, with him just hating everything about it. He even got up and went to the lobby for coffee halfway through, not a good sign.

Must have been the giant rhinoceros…

Okay, it’s not historically accurate. Mr. Otter says (with scorn in his voice) that the COMIC BOOK is more accurate, and that may be true.

But folks, this is one wild ride. Good moviemaking, excellent pacing, really amazing animation, good writing…I really really liked it. Wish I had seen it on a really big screen instead of the emasculated bastard cousin of a movie theater we ended up in…but that’s a rant for later.

See it, rent it, love it. Try not to notice the inaccuracies, the fact that the spurting blood NEVER gets on any of the Spartans unless it’s their own. Be amused at the rhinoceros, and Xerxes, and all the over-the-top comic-booky stuff. And enjoy. It’s a great movie.

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