Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Sunday Scene #13: 300

Spartans! Prepare for glory!

Apologies for the absence of The Sunday Scene last week, I was rather preoccupied with finalising a presentation I had to do for work; but now it's back!

300 is full of great scenes, but the one I want to focus on features something of a Zack Snyder trademark. It is a very long time since I saw Dawn of the Dead, so I can't remember if there was any slow-fast-slow moments, but certainly it is in 300 that Zack honed his technique and used it to great effect. Watchmen also has some of this technique, but I think its use is limited (I certainly remember the scene when Nite Owl and Silk Spectre rescue Rorschach from prison), and the scene in Sucker Punch on the train was simply phenomenal.

300 features a lot of stylised battle sequences, but the scene that is really stunning is about an hour and 10 mintues in. It begins with Tom Wisdom's character, Astinos, fighting on his own, chopping off limbs and killing Persians. He is then joined by Michael Fassbender (Stelios), and the two really dance around each other; a very lethal dance, especially if you're in Xerxes' army.

As the two move around each other the camera is constantly moving, and by the end of the scene has, I think, turned 360°, but all done in fits and spurts as Astinos and Stelios gracefully move and then quickly thrust their swords into their enemies.

As I mentioned, much of the fighting in the film is in this style, but for me this is the really stand out scene. I think part of what makes this really fun is that Fassbender seems to be having  an absolute blast; and thanks to Zack's vision it is really beautifully violent!