Actors: Richard Egan, Ralph Richardson, Diane Baker, Barry Coe, David Farrar
Director: Rudolph Maté
Writers: George St. George, Gian Paolo Callegari, Giovanni d'Eramo, Remigio Del Grosso, Ugo Liberatore
Producers: Rudolph Maté, George St. George
Format: Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Dubbed: English, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Run Time: 114 minutes
This week being released in theaters is 300: Rise of an Empire, following up Zack Snyder’s successful theatrical adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, 300, which was inspired by this 1962 classic film epic. Though this original classic that went on to inspire future mediums and franchises lacks the visual flair of Miller’s comics and Snyder’s film, the narrative is almost exactly the same. Rather than bulging muscles and rippling abs in slow-motion mayhem, The 300 Spartans utilizes the clever battle techniques of the outnumbered Spartan soldiers, making for a less exciting but equally intelligent narrative of loyalty in war.
Richard Egan stars as Spartan King Leonidas, the fearless commander of a small group of Greek soldiers willing to sacrifice their lives to protect their homes from a massive Persian invasion. Though vastly outnumbered by their attackers, the Spartans utilize their familiar terrain and clever battle tactics to stave off Persian advances. Though many of the facts and plot points remain the same in this film as they would be in the film adaptation of the comic book, but the war violence in The 300 Spartans is subdued. There is no blood in the action and often the camera cuts away from the violence, favoring the tactics of war over the actual fighting.
Fans of the recent adaptations of the story of this 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae are less likely to be engaged in this more restrained version from the early 1960s, but this is a great addition for any connoisseurs of classic epics. Though the scope is not as massive as many big-budget epics of the time, it holds its own in many ways. Only slowed down by a few sub-plots, The 300 Spartans is an action-packed epic with a story to match. The visuals may not match the CGI of today, but the cinematography still looks spectacular in high definition.
The Blu-ray release also includes an original theatrical trailer and some TV spots.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 7.5/10
Special Features: 3/10