300 tells the tale of the Battle of Thermopylae, during which 300 Spartan warriors (with some help from their Greek allies) held off the imposing might of the Persian army (accounts vary from between 100,000 men to well over a million), led by the world-conquering Xerxes, as seen through the eyes of acclaimed graphic novelist Frank Miller.
Zack Snyder's film version of 300 takes Miller's frank and brutal depiction of that ancient battle and, much like Robert Rodriguez's vision of Miller's Sin City, recreates the comic book nearly scene-for-scene as a living, breathing, digital painting, flesh and blood actors performing against brilliantly-illustrated, though ultimately unreal, sets.
And, much like Sin City, the effect is both beautiful and staggering. From the opening blood-spattered title frame to the animated ending credits, 300 is Frank Miller's world. A world of lavish and unnatural colors. A world of half-naked He-men hacking and slashing away at their nameless, faceless enemies until the skies and seas (literally) run red with blood. It is a world of honor and justice, a world in which Sin City's Marv would feel right at home, with his hulking gladiatorial frame and penchant for unencumbered violence.
300 is an impressive achievement, not only because of its record-setting $70 million opening weekend, but because it once again proves that, when handled with the proper care and respect, great comic books can become great films.
Art is art and literature is literature, regardless of whether the story is told with prose or with pictures and word balloons.