Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 305

Okay, this is kind of old and mostly a fluff post to put something new on the front.

I'm a fan of the movie 300. I took some convincing, all the people talking about how "badass" the trailer looked put me off a bit, and even coming out of it I felt like Sin City was a more significant stylistic achievement, but as time has gone on, I've thought often of 300 and rarely of Sin City.

The easy assumption for my preference is the greater prevalence of muscular men in loincloths and capes in one over the other, but honestly that's not really my gauge. While both were loyal to the graphic novel, and both were shot on greenscreen, 300 was less restrictive than Sin City. 300 used the visionary work of Frank Miller as a springboard, Sin City as a straitjacket. I forgot, while watching 300, that it was shot on greenscreen. I never really lost that sense of confined space with Sin City.

Anyway, a discussion of the relative merits of the two films might have been more relevant a year and a half ago when 300 was actually released in theatres, so I'll skip it. The point in bringing up 300 is to bring up this parody film, 305, which combines the story of 300 with the sensibility (and to an extent, character "archetypes") of "The Office" (American version).

It becomes obvious pretty quickly who's who, especially in the cases of Darryl and Testicleese, who are direct duplicates in both appearance and manner of Dwight and Jim, respectively.

More than likely you've already seen this video, but for those who haven't:

But there's more to it than just a YouTube video. I think this deserves a distinction for being a YouTube video that actually led to a feature film. That's right, there's a full-length 305 movie out there for your viewing pleasure.

For the record, I don't think you should run out and buy the film, but if you see it at Blockbuster, and you're a fan of 300/The Office/both, I think it's worth your time.

My concern was how they would extend the "Office meets Sparta" conceit beyond the five minutes of the original short. Even in the short itself, it threatens to overstay its welcome, but thankfully never does. I thought the full feature would be tired repetition of the same -- not even "joke," per se, but "premise."

"What if the story of 300 was told like the Office?" "What if cavemen sold car insurance?" You get what I'm talking about.

Thankfully, the writers (and I don't have to put it in quotation marks like I would with certain "parodies" out there) actually bothered to come up with a story.

The movie starts off with the short -- and why not, you've already got five minutes of your feature in the can. Although they did bother to improve the composites -- but then immediately leaves the "guys guarding the goat path" conceit and has the characters embarking on their own misadventures. It's campy, it's occasionally cliche, but it's fun. There's some genuine amusing jokes in there, and while it's not really much more than some college guys having fun with a camera -- well, what's wrong with that, anyway?

Plus you gotta show some respect. These are young guys working with almost no money with nothing but a green tarp in a small room, and they managed to make a genuinely entertaining and enjoyable feature film. Frankly I'm surprised this hasn't gotten more attention just based on the "biography" of the project, but I guess somebody making a feature for no money isn't really "news" anymore.

Oh, and also the fight scenes, while not ones for the books, were still pretty decent, especially when you factor in the limitations of the shooting environment.

Anyway, I picked up the flick with apprehension and it surpassed my expectations. Not one to go out of your way for, but if you can't think of anything else to rent on a Saturday night, see if they've got this on the shelf.


MasterMike said...

So - which of these guys do you know? ;-)

Patrick said...

Any more of Case for a Creator?

Dorkman said...

I've read Chapter 3 and it drove me up the wall with how poorly-argued it is. I've gotten busy with other projects so I haven't had the time necessary to really deconstruct it. Including reading our potential next Presidents' memoirs (Worth the Fighting For for McCain, The Audacity of Hope for Obama).

Frankly, just reading Case for a Creator is an unpleasant experience -- not because it's stuff I "don't want to hear," but because it's poorly-written, poorly-argued, and intellectually insulting.

But I said I'd read the whole thing, and I will, so sometime soon -- after the election at the latest -- I'll have the time to grit my teeth and get all the way through.

casey cosker said...

Ages ago, I posted a comment about Orson Scott Card being a wanker. His latest political essay is so insulting I'm posting it around the web for people to respond to.

Upholding the Constitution

Dorkman said...

Thanks for that. I'm actually planning to do a whole thing on Prop 8 in the next couple days, and I'll tie that in with addressing OSC's continued douche-nozzlery.