"300: THE COMPLETE EXPERIENCE"
Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Gerard Butler as KING LEONIDAS
    Lena Headey as QUEEN GORGO
    Dominic West as THERON
    David Wenham as DILIOS
    Vincent Regan as CAPTAIN

    Rated R
    Own it on Blu-ray July 21
    www.300onDVD.com
    Studio: Warner Bros.

    Directed by: Zack Snyder

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Zack Snyder directs Frank Miller’s innovative graphic novel “300,” the story of a king and 300 Spartan soldiers who hold off the advancing Persian army set to invade Greece. After raking in the green in the box office and rocking a huge DVD release two years ago, “300” gets a new release on Blu-ray in “The Complete Experience.” Presented for the first time on Blu-ray, this visually stunning film comes bundled with hours of special features, taking advantage of the branching technology available in the medium.

WHAT I LIKED
I’ve already said enough about the film “300,” in my original review and my take on the DVD when it first came out a few years ago. Instead of beating that dead horse, let’s take a look at this release in terms of its worth as a Blu-ray title.

Some films scream for a high definition release. Others, it seems somewhat silly. Zack Snyder’s “300” is the kind of film that is made for Blu-ray. Not only is it visually stunning with an intense and powerful soundtrack, it also has such a rich history behind it – from the real-life history of King Leonidas to the graphic novel to the journey the film took to the big screen. In short, even without all the special features, “300” is the kind of movie you want to put in the Blu-ray player, turn down the lights, turn up the volume and experience it in your home theater.

Included with the Blu-ray disc, “300: The Complete Experience” is packaged in book form, with a 40-page booklet to usher you through the content. This explains how the Blu-ray’s branching technology offers three different immersive and embedded experiences through which you can view the film: “Creating a Legend,” “Bringing the Legend to Life” and “The History Behind the Myth.”

Don’t let the single-disc aspect to this release kid you. There’s tons of features included, and “300: The Complete Experience” takes full advantage of the massive data storage on the disc.

I love special edition releases like this. It’s a DVD/Blu-ray lover’s dream. Not every movie deserves a complete experience, but “300” definitely does.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The biggest problem with a Blu-ray release like this isn’t necessarily the disc itself. Because Blu-ray players are so versatile and have so many different functions, accessing all the special features on this disc can be a challenge if you don’t know the ins and outs of your player. In general, Blu-ray players are more complicated than DVD players. You can’t just pop the disc in and hit “Play.” So, consider this a warning to Blu-ray newbies... brush up on your owner’s manual before you start poking around here, or you might have problems accessing all the features, including the picture-in-picture paths to the film.

BLU-RAY FEATURES
“300: The Complete Experience” includes the three picture-in-picture modes through which you can watch the film and access special features.

There’s also the special features and commentaries from the original DVD release, including deleted scenes. Additional Blu-ray features include a bluescreen picture-in-picture viewing mode that shows the original raw footage of the film. Zack Snyder also introduces his original test footage in the featurette “Preparing for Battle: The original Test Footage,” presented in high definition.

More than a half-hour of behind-the-scenes webisodes cover the production of the film, and there’s an extended interview with Frank Miller about the origins of this graphic novel and bringing it to screen.

Possibly the most interesting special features include a historical perspective of the battle of Thermopylae in “300 Spartans – Fact or Fiction?” and “Who Were the Spartans?” Both of these features, presented in high definition, give a sober and interesting perspective of the history behind the film.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
“300” fans, Zack Snyder fans, Frank Miller fans and Blu-ray fans.

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