When Kill Bill first came out, I read an interview with Quentin Tarantino in which he complained that new movies weren’t bloody enough. He specifically cited The Matrix as being a piece of shit. It was full of intense violence, yet contained no bloodshed. That really pissed QT off. Violent movies, be they with guns, swords or fists, should be bloody. Blood is real, blood is fun, and all you have to do is watch The Wild Bunch or Battle Royale to understand that. Using this reasoning, 300 should be super amounts of fun. Lots of stabbing with swords and heads flying–everything that should equate to high levels of enjoyable bloody goodness. But yeah, it’s not. Since this entire film was shot on a green-screen, and is insanely over-stylised (just like Sin City), all the fun that I’m sure the creators thought they were delivering comes off pretty boring and forgettable. There’s loads of blood, but it’s not even fake blood. It’s digital blood. Heads get cut off, but they’re digital heads. You get the idea. It’s all digital, and no fun.
The worst part is that if Hollywood has it’s way, 300 will serve as the blueprint for most future big-budget films. Hollywood is sick of movie stars, and sick of locations. Both cost too much, and don’t bring the crowds in like they used to. 300 avoids both of these problems. There isn’t a single recognisable face in the entire cast, and since it’s all done on a green-screen, they didn’t have to go over to Europe to shoot. Instead it was all shot on a sound stage in Montreal. In theory I’m not against either of these things. I’m excited that digital technology has reached the point where the only thing holding you back is your imagination. I’m also happy to see a movie with no stars in it. Nothing takes me out of a film more than having to watch Val Kilmer feign a British accent while wearing a toga. But Hollywood needs to meet me halfway. As 300, Sin City and that Sky Captain movie all prove, over-stylised, entirely digital films aren’t fun, and they aren’t memorable. If 300 is the future of movies, then Quentin Tarantino is going to have some serious complaining to do.