Meet the Spartans (2008) - Unrated Pit-Of-Death Edition

Genre(s): Comedy
Fox || Unrated - 86 minutes - $29.99 || June 3, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-05-30


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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

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Writer(s): Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer (written by)
Cast: Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra, Kevin Sorbo, Ken Davitian, Diedrich Bader, Method Man, Jareb Dauplaise, Travis Van Winkle, Phil Morris, Nicole Parker


Theatrical Release Date: January 25, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Cast and Filmmakers Commentary
  • Know Your Spartan Pop Culture Trivia Game
  • Meet the Spartans: The Music
  • Prepare for Thrusting
  • Tour the Set with Ike Barinholtz
  • Gag Reel
  • Theatrical Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

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“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.” – Woody Allen

I read that quote and got to wondering, does this apply to a critic who watches these modern spoof movies or perhaps is it better suited toward those who make the modern spoof movies, namely Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer? The guys who gave us Date Movie and Epic Movie decided to once again unleash yet another one onto the masses, this time in the form of Meet the Spartans which takes on (in alphabetical order): 300, Borat, Casino Royale, Ghost Rider, Happy Feet, Rocky Balboa, Shrek the Third, Spider-Man 3, Stomp the Yard, Transformers, You Got Served and TV series “American Idol”, “Dancing with the Stars”, “Deal or No Deal”, “Ugly Betty” and “Yo Momma”.

I must admit that I actually thought Meet the Spartans was a better movie than its predecessors, however, that’s like saying one dookie is better than the previous trips to the crapper. But I did laugh a few times (5-10) so just that takes it out of my coveted “ZERO STAR” category. But in spite of the few actual “funny” scenes, the rest just fall flat and you, as a viewer, are left just wondering what the hell you’re doing watching this drivel.

The always sexy Carmen Electra makes cashes another paycheck (does she do anything else other than spoof movies now?) and being easy on the eyes, she does make the film more bearable (of course, Ugly Betty would make it more bearable). And for his part, Sean Maguire (TV’s “The Class”) does a good job mimicking Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas.

One of the problems with the current assortment of spoof movies is the filmmakers seem to shove what they’re spoofing in your face just in case you couldn’t figure it out on your own. Take for example their spoof of Rocky Balboa. An actor in heavy makeup with an emotionless face wearing BOXING shorts creeps up to fight the Spartans. As if we needed help knowing who they were mocking, we get a close-up of his shorts band which says “Rocky”. Thanks for the help guys. There are a few others like that (having an actor say who they’re portraying), but even in my misery watching this, that was something that stood out.

Since I don’t have a lot of things to say about Spartans, allow me to go on a minor rant about spoof movies and my hopes for the future. I don’t think there is an argument that one of the best satire/spoof movies of all-time is Airplane! and what writers Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker did was brilliant and unmatched. They took an original screenplay called Zero Hour and rewrote it with some jokes and by taking the campy plot/writing seriously with some serious actors (remember, Leslie Nielson was a dramatic actor before Airplane), it resulted in not only one of the funniest movies ever made, but timeless as well. I have seen the movie several times now over the years and each time I still laugh my ass off.

Where is the style of comedy today? Even the Zuckers have fallen prey to throwing jokes on the wall and sees what sticks... and because it’s typically shit, most of it sticks. The formula is to take some topical news or cultural event within the last year or two and spoof it. That it is. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t funny, just throw it out there, put the “funniest” ones in a trailer and watch as millions of Americans flock to see it (worldwide gross): Meet the Spartans - $84m; Epic Movie - $87m; Date Movie - $84m (plus Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4, while not as bad, still grossed nearly $400m combined with Superhero Movie taking the leftovers from Spartans with $45m). Obviously people still flock to see these movies and as long as they (you) do, they’ll keep cranking them out year after year (in fact, Disaster Movie is set for a 2009 release). So long as the masses still go and see these lame ass satires, sadly nothing will change. *End Minor Rant*

Meet the Spartans is just another in the long line of dumb and lazy spoof movies and with studios continuing to green light them, more are on the way (Scary Movie 5 and the aforementioned Disaster Movie). If you want some laughs rent Airplane... again and again. It never gets old.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Cast and Crew Commentary with Writers/Directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer and Stars Sean Maguire (Leonidas), Kevin Sorbo (Captain), Ike Barinholtz (Dane Cook/Bond Villain/Prophet) and Nicole Parker (Britney Spears/Paris Hilton/Paula Abdul/Ellen DeGeneres/Hunchback Paris). As far as group commentaries go, this was fairly entertaining, though at times they do tend to stumble over one another’s comments. The commentators seem to be having a good time so if you can stomach watching the movie again, give this track a try.

Know Your Spartans Pop Culture – Trivia Game is a dumb game where you answer some easy questions and the right answer shows a clip of Leonidas pushing somebody into the pit of death.

Meet the Spartans: The Music – Want to see that music clip as Carmen Electra dances for the elders? Or how about those ‘hilarious’ scenes as the Spartans have a dance off? Now you can view all 8 scenes that appear in the film!

Prepare for Thrusting (5:13) – A spoof stunt work featurette where Sorbo and others explain how they got into shape and exercise used to prepare for the making of the movie.

Tour the Set with Ike Barinholtz (6:46) – The guy who played Dane Cook and others takes us on a tour of the set as his fellow co-stars talk smack about him behind his back including his unhealthy obsession with Carmen Electra.

A Gag Reel (4:16) and 2 theatrical trailers round things out on this disc.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

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Receiving the final product from Fox, I am now able to give a more accurate rating on the picture. I still notice some edge enhancement and the picture isn't that crisp (maybe by design) but overall it's still decent.

The audio, on the other hand, is pretty good. The disc offers a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track that brings out those failed jokes and the occasional music number quite well.



.::OVERALL::.

Meet the Spartans is just another entry into the long line of modern spoof flicks. While it is ‘better’ than its predecessors, it is still a long ways off in terms of actual comedy (the last two Scary Movies were better). But if you want to see a really funny, laugh your ass off, movie -- even if you have already seen it a dozen times+ --, please watch Airplane.