A dark and violent 300, depicts the Battle of Thermopylae, based on a graphic novel by legendary Sin City author Frank Miller. The noir film receives its world premiere next month at the Berlin Film Festival.
The Battle of Thermopylae is regarded as one of history's pivotal moments, a doomed yet heroic last stand in 480 BC with nothing less than Western civilisation at stake. The film recreates the moment when the Spartans were warned that enemy arrows would darken the sun and one soldier replied, 'Then we will fight them in the shade.' An elite force of 300 Spartans, backed by around 7,000 Greeks, was vastly outnumbered by King Xerxes' invading Persian army, which has been estimated at between 80,000 and more than a million. For three days the Spartans stood firm at the 'Hot Gates', the main pass into central Greece, and inflicted appalling losses before being outflanked and killed. The sacrifice inspired all of Greece to unite and drive out the Persians and is therefore seen as sowing the seeds of Western democracy.
Warner Bros is pinning hopes on 300 to rediscover the kind of success enjoyed by Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning Gladiator in 2000 with computer-generated special effects featuring monsters, battlefield carnage and superhuman acrobatics .
300 uses the same technology that brought Sin City to the big screen. Miller was inspired by Thermopylae when, aged six, he saw the film The 300 Spartans, starring Ralph Richardson. 'It was a shocker, because the heroes died,' Miller recalled. 'I was used to seeing Superman punch out planets. It was an epiphany to realise that the hero wasn't necessarily the guy who won.'