300 (2006) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Drama
Warner Brothers || R - 117 minutes - $39.99 || July 21, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-08-24


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer(s): Frank Miller & Lynn Varley (graphic novel); Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad & Michael Gordon (screenplay)
Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham


Theatrical Release Date: March 9, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 3 PiP Tracks
  • 4 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • BD-Live
  • Bonus DVD


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Plot: Spartan customs are harsh. The Spartans inspect each infant born to ensure it is whole - if it is defective, the baby is destroyed. They raise their boys in the school of hard knocks - in combat training, a small boy's loss of his weapon earns a bloody lip from the hand of his own father. At age 7, each young boy is torn from his mother and makes his own way in the wilderness, to return a man. Even the King endures this rite of passage. At age 15, young King-to-be Leonidas (Neitzel) lures a wolf into a narrow passage so that he can kill it. He returns home to be crowned King.

Years later, messengers visit King Leonidas (Butler) requesting Sparta's submission to King Xerxes (Santoro). Insulted by their attitude, King Leonidas kicks the messengers into a well. Acknowledging the threat of Xerxes's invasion force, he visits the Ephors (priests) to obtain their favour before sending the Spartan army in battle. He proposes to repel the numerically superior enemy by using the terrain of the Hot Gates of Thermopylae, funneling the Persians into a narrow pass between the rocks and the sea. The Ephors, wary of the plan, consult the Oracle (Craig). In her drugged trance she decrees that Sparta must not go to war, lest they interrupt the sacred Carneian festival. Leonidas departs in anger, and the priests receive their bribe of Xerxes' gold from the Spartan traitor, Theron (West), for their negative response.

When 300 hit HD DVD and Blu-ray way back in 2007, fans of HD DVD were pleased to see Warner went the extra mile with them including several features exclusive to that disc (as well as DVD thanks to the Combo format). Obviously Blu-ray was unable to handle PiP or Internet back in 2007 (besides the PS3) so it's great to see fans of the film who didn't have HD DVD now get to experience the great PiP track.

All those features (well, most) are finally available on Blu-ray in a DigiBook release that includes over 40 pages of information on the movie, shiny, embossed gold cover art and a bonus DVD copy (limited time).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features are presented in HD unless otherwise noted.

[Please Note - since HD DVD is a discontinued format, I will be labeling things as Blu-ray exclusive that were not on the previous Blu-ray release. If it's a totally new feature it will get a NEW tag before it.]

Commentary with Director Zach Snider, Larry Fong and Kurt Johnstand

PiP "Blue Screen Mode"
-- You can listen to the commentary by itself or enjoy the new PiP (finally) version which shows numerous scenes on how they were filmed and rough footage of the film. This is incredibly interesting as you see Spartans walk off a cliff only to land in a mountain of pillows. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

PiP "Comprehensive Experience"
- Creating a Legend
- Bringing the Legend to Life
- The History Behind the Myth

-- Oh wow. Not only does this release pack the original PiP track but Warner went back and made three additional ones to entice Blu-ray owners to double-dip. Is it worth it? Hell yeah! Each colored button (besides the bookmark one) brings up a certain track and you can choose to watch the film and a certain track all the way through or pick and choose which ones you want. Since I'm more into the history of Greeks I chose the very last track for a quickie look and was please by what I saw. ** NEW Blu-ray Exclusive **

Fact or Fiction (25 Minutes) - Personally this would be my favorite feature on the disc as it discusses (with Frank Miller and some Historians) the accuracies (or inaccuracies) of the film and how they tried (or didn't!) into making 300 seem rel (or not real!!). It's a back and forth type featurette that can change your opinion on film.

The Spartans of 300 (5 Minutes) - Here we see the cast discussing their real-life (or semi) counterparts.

Original Test Footage (5 Minutes) - An interesting idea; Zach filmed some footage to help convince Warner to finance to film. Obviously it worked.

Webisodes (45 Minutes; SD) - I can see how fans will enjoy these, but I've never been a fan of "production diaries" that really only give us a glimpse into the film. These are in very rough form. 12 total.

Rounding out the already-loaded Blu-ray include a short and useless Making of 300 (6 Minutes), Making of 300 in Images (4 Minutes), Three Deleted Scenes W/ Optional Commentary (3 Minutes) and Frank Miller Tapes (13 Minutes) which delves into why Miller allowed Snyder to adapt his novel.

Also included is BD-Live Access, Community Screening Feature and a way to share your Favorite Scenes. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

DigiBook release that includes over 40 pages of information on the movie, shiny, embossed gold cover art and a bonus DVD copy (limited time). ** NEW Blu-ray Exclusive **

What's missing? Nothing much really - a few silly HD DVD online exclusive features like ring tones, wallpapers, and a stupid interactive game that was clunky. You're not missing much (original HD DVD owners here).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

300 is Presented in 2.40:1 (VC1) on a 50GB Disc. Don't believe your stupid friends - this movie looks fantastic. The grain that you see? It's 100% intended. The way the film feels 'dirty'? Intended! I really love the stylistic approach Synder took with the film and Warner has done a fabulous job on the Blu-ray. As a reminder, this is an identical encode to the previous 2007 release on both Blu-ray and HD DVD.

Warner has dumped the space-heavy PCM track and replaced it with a Dolby 5.1 TrueHD track. Again, another awesome track by Warner as the clashes of the Spartan's weapons come through perfectly. This was a great t track in 2007 and it still is in 2009. As another reminder, PCM and TrueHD are identical and nothing was done to make it 'sound' better.



.::OVERALL::.

Considering the premium this version fetched ($5 increase in MSRP) it may be tough to swallow for many Blu-ray owners. But the incredibly information presented in 4 new PiP tracks along with the terrific packaging may help sway some. With incredibly Picture and Audio I'd say BUY BUY BUY.