Monday, January 16, 2012

Meet the Spartans (2008)

Meet the Spartans comes from the ridiculous minds of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.  These are the people who (unfortunately) brought us the Scary Movie films, Date Movie, Disaster Movie, etc.  It finds itself in the IMDB's 100 worst movies for good reason.

The story (such as it is) is very loosely based on the film version of Frank Miller's 300.  It begins with rather faithful recreations of scenes from 300 but quickly degenerates into a series of sickening toilet humour and nonsensical parodies of celebrities and reality TV shows.  It also relies heavily on racial and gay jokes, which, surprisingly are not that offensive (and not that funny).

The cast is full of eye candy with Carmen Electra, Sean Maguire and Travis Van Winkle.  Maguire seems to have fallen far from his first acting role with Sir Laurence Olivier in A Voyage Round My Father.   

Travis Van Winkle is truly beautiful.  I would cast him to play Apollo in something. He definitely embodies the ancient Greek ideal of male beauty.  Unfortunately, this film doesn't give him a chance to display much acting talent. 

Finally, there's an appearance by genre-favourite Kevin Sorbo.  Fans of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys will enjoy some Herc jokes.

It is possible to say at least one good thing about this film and that is that production designer William A. Elliott, costume designer Frank Helmer the visual effects teams did an excellent job on creating sets and a look that mimics 300.  The film had a $30 million budget so the money had to go somewhere!

The best sequence in the film takes place at the Hot Gates where the Spartans face the Persians.  There's a pretty incredible "dance-off" that features some very talented dancers and stunt performers.

Other than that, the film is pretty terrible and I would say it's safe to stay away from. If you do intend to seek it out, it's available on DVD in an "Unrated Pit-of-Death Edition."

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