300 is based on a graphic novel which in turn is based on the Battle of Thermopylae. I would rate the movie about 4.5 out of 5 praising it for its battle scenes and artistic style but wondering if all the nudity in the first part was necessary.
For those interested in the actual battle and how it compares to the movie Victor David Hanson has the knowledgeable information.
The geography of the film is fantastic in that it is both great and preternatural. Greece is depicted as a land of muscular men, strong and beautiful women, and picturesque lands. The Persian Empire on the other hand is a cosmopolitan mixture of everything that is morally wrong. War elephants and war rhinos are fierce beats, the Persian Immortals and other elite troops of Xerxes are physically corrupted humans. Not since the days of religious plays have the inner strengths and weaknesses been shown as physical qualities in such a dramatic way.
Another aspect in the film is politics. While the film makers deny political bias it is clear the beliefs of Frank Miller have played a role. Queen Gorgo makes the case for the war while the oracle priests (the United Nations) are swayed by bribes and Spartan politicans feel this is not their war (anti-Iraq War Democrats). "Freedom is not free," says the queen to the council. Elsewhere in the movie the Spartan king turns down offers of an "exchange of cultures" and personal honors which would be exchanged for surrender of rights and freedoms. At the end of the movie a soldier named Dilios tells the united Greek at army that this is war against "mysticism and tyranny." Sound familiar?
In case you need any more reason to see the film check out the trailer below. PREPARE FOR GLORY!