Fox // 2008 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // June 19th, 2008
Get ready for the next big epic comedy.
"That is how men greet each other in Sparta: high-fives for the women, and open-mouthed tongue kisses for the men!" -- Leonidas (Sean Maguire, EastEnders)
The Spartans are irritated. They're being totally oppressed by the mean Persians, who are just like totally not cool. So, Leonidas determines that he's going to gather up 300 Spartans to fight the vast Persian army. Unfortunately, Leonidas can only muster up a dozen or so recruits. It's going to be a tough battle. The Persians not only have a vast (CGI) army, but they also have the likes of Paris Hilton, Rocky Balboa, Ghost Rider, and the American Idol Judges! Will the Spartans be able to stand up against (and break dance better than) their villainous enemies?
When I bought my first car, I was able to purchase gasoline for just over one dollar a gallon. Then gas prices shot up to two dollars a gallon, and the nation began justifiably moaning and complaining. Then the prices fell just a little, just under two dollars.
"Phew, nice to have that relief," we said.
When the gas prices rose to three dollars a gallon, we all started screaming and yelling again, complaining about gas prices. Then prices dropped just a little bit, just under three dollars.
"Phew, nice to have that relief," we said.
Recently, the gas prices have passed four dollars a gallon. Just moments before I started typing this review, I purchased gasoline for $4.09 a gallon. At some point, the prices may drop a bit. Perhaps the price will drop to $3.90 a gallon. At that point, I will probably chime in with the rest of the country.
"Phew, nice to have that relief."
"Clark, what kind of point are you trying to make? Why are you writing about gas prices instead of offering a critical examination of Meet the Spartans?"
First of all, a critical examination of Meet the Spartans would be positively futile, because I sincerely doubt the people who made Meet the Spartans understand what big words like "critical" or "examination" mean...and I want them to get something of a mental grip on just how much I hate their movie. Second, I am rather feebly attempting to illustrate how exceptionally bad things manage to make only slightly bad things seem wonderful by comparison.
I did not like 300. I found it to be a ridiculous and boring movie than took itself much too seriously. It would seem to be a ripe target for spoofing. 300 is unintentionally dumb in so many ways, and someone with a good sense of humor could tear it to shreds with a sharp satire. However, after watching Meet the Spartans, 300 seems pretty darn wonderful in retrospect. A film like Meet the Spartans does not just land at the bottom of the barrel. A film like Meet the Spartans creates an entirely new barrel underneath the previous barrel. One can only wonder just how stupid, ignorant, and unimaginative the film's makers are.
Me: "I'm here inside my own mind having an imaginary conversation with the makers of Meet the Spartans. What's up, guys?"
Makers of Meet the Spartans (henceforth referred to as MOMTS): "Um...our packages...hahaha."
Me: "Settle down, gentlemen. We haven't started yet. I wanted to ask you about your new film, Meet the Spartans. What was your inspiration for the project?"
MOMTS: "Um...well, we saw that movie 300. We didn't really understand it, but thought it was really gay." *snickering among the group breaks out*
Me: "I assume you're referring to the not-so-subtle homoeroticism that runs through the movie?"
MOMTS: "Homo-what? That's gay stuff, right? Yeah, that. These dudes looked totally gay and stuff, fighting with their shirts off. So we wanted to make a movie for the people who didn't really notice this, and tell them that the gay people were totally gay."
Me: "Ah...I see. Of course, there's a lot of stuff in the film that doesn't have anything to do with 300."
MOMTS: "Oh yeah, we made fun of all the other movies too that are really stupid. And we were like, we'll show them being stupid. Like, Rocky is stupid. So we had Rocky in the movie, and Rocky was old, and he was wearing one of those old man diapers, and everybody would see how stupid that guy is. And then we had, like, Ghost Rider, and he is stupid, so we had him in there being totally stupid."
Me: "Hmm. So talk a little bit about the characters in your film."
MOMTS: "Well, they're all like Spartans, and they're all totally gay. And they all like, kiss each other and make out with each other all the time."
Me: "Yes, I noticed. You included at least a dozen scenes of this."
MOMTS: "Well, we wanted to be sure that no one would forget that they were gay. Because if they forget, then it's just like, dude, are these guys gay or what?"
Me: "You also seem to have a fetish for testicle damage."
Me: "Hitting people in the balls."
MOMTS: "Oh yeah. We like to watch porn."
Me: "Yeess...okay...let's move on, shall we? Why did you feel a need to have a narrator announce which movie you were spoofing every time you started spoofing a movie?"
MOMTS: "Dude, do you know how hard it is to remember stuff? I mean, two or three weeks after you see something like Spider-Man, you can't even remember who that red guy is, you know? So we looked everything up on the computer and put announcements in there, so everybody would know."
Me: "What are some of your favorite moments in the film?"
MOMTS: "Well, aside from all of the obvious stuff like making fun of gay people and black people and other stupid people, we really liked the scene where all the Spartans start singing I Will Survive."
Me: "Isn't that an old YouTube gag?"
MOMTS: "Whatever. There's no copyright."
Me: "You also borrowed several other jokes from YouTube."
MOMTS: "Dude, what is your problem? What are you some kind of preconfectionist? You think that we should just make our own stuff? They have to pay extra for that."
Me: "What would you say to critics who claim that your movie is the most unimaginative cinematic outing in years?"
MOMTS: "They're obviously gay, talking all gay like that."
Me: "Thanks so much for your time."
Oh, sorry...I was lost in thought for a moment. So where was I? Oh yeah, Meet the Spartans.
It's sad to consider just how far the movie spoof genre has fallen. We've moved from the early, funny efforts like Blazing Saddles and The Naked Gun to movies that only serve to make every crummy movie they attempt to mock seem terrific. Perhaps it's part of a secret conspiracy. Maybe the studios want us to sit through this rubbish so we'll be grateful when they throw us typical formulaic crap like Fool's Gold. The sad thing is, the public is bending over and shouting, "Yes sir, may I have another!" Tolerance for stupidity is seemingly limitless. How does a movie like this make $18 million on its opening weekend? While Meet the Spartans is about as bad as it currently gets, I wouldn't be surprised if something else was making this movie seem wonderful by comparison a decade from now. Please, someone stop this vicious cycle before I'm forced to start planning emergency escape routes each time I go to the theatre.
I don't know why anyone would want to watch Meet the Spartans, but I suppose if you're going to watch it, you may as well watch it in Blu-ray. The hi-def transfer illuminates just how execrable this movie is in pristine 1080p. It may be rubbish, but at least it's crystal-clear rubbish. The sound is fine, with Christopher Lennertz's spoof of Tyler Bates' silly 300 score coming through loud and clear. The sound is hardly subtle here, every sound effect is gratuitously over-the-top...but that just causes the sound design to fit right in with the rest of the movie. Extras are limited to a very bland commentary from the crew, and a series of brief EPK-style featurettes. A gag reel does contain a giggle or two, which is more than I can say for the film. I didn't see the film during its theatrical run, so I couldn't tell at a glance what the differences between the unrated version of this film and the theatrical version are. However, a quick Internet search revealed that the only new stuff here is a Ken-Doll like shot of Leonidas' crotch and a nearly-naked (barely covered with small bits of fruit) Carmen Electra.
**sound of crickets chirping**
Madness? You think this is madness? This is DVD Verdict!
The defendant is guilty. Meet the Spartans is to be kicked into the
unrated pit of death at dawn.
Review content copyright © 2008 Clark Douglas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (Widescreen)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary by the cast and crew
* "Prepare for Thrusting"
* "Tour the Set with Ike Barinholtz"
* Gag Reel
* Trivia Game
* Celebrity Kickoff Game
* Tactical Battle Challenge Game
* "Meet the Spartans: The Music"
* Trivia Track
* Original DVD Verdict Review
* Cinema Verdict interview with Carmen Electra