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300: The Complete Experience (Blu-ray Book + Digital Copy and BD-Live) [Blu-ray] by Directed by Zack Snyder
Review by Charles Mohapel
Warner Home Video Blu-ray  ISBN/ITEM#: B001LF2WCC
Date: 29 July 2009 List Price $39.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: IMDB.com - 300 / Show Official Info /

Having viewed Zack Snyder's cinematic interpretation of Frank Miller's groundbreaking 300 on the Silver Screen when it appeared in March 2007, it was a breathtaking experience, one I enjoyed again and again while viewing the DVD.

Knowing that 300 had been released on Blu-ray and DVD in July 2007, as well as in a Limited Collector's Edition + Digital Copy on DVD in November 2008, I was curious to see just what makes 300: The Complete Experience (Blu-ray Book + Digital Copy and BD-Live) truly unique and collectible.

Blu-ray Disc Contents:

    Trailer for Watchmen on Blu-ray and DVD (the Live Action Movie) (2:26)
    300 (117 minutes)
    2 HOURS OF EXCLUSIVE EXTRA CONTENT - Prepare for Blu-ray glory and immerse yourself in the 300 experience as never before possible.
    THE COMPLETE 300: A COMPREHENSIVE IMMERSION - This NEW interactive picture-in-picture experience provides 3 unique perspectives to explore while you watch the film:
      * CREATING A LEGEND: Frank Miller and Zack Snyder Interpret a Classic Tale - Holding true to Frank Miller's love of history and the importance of bringing a pure adaptation to screen in this tale-based account.
      * BRINGING THE LEGEND TO LIFE: Building a World From a Comic - Blending the most talented and creative minds together to bring Frank Miller's art to life in cinematic form.
      * THE HISTORY BEHIND THE MYTH: The Real Story of The Hot Gates - A rich and historical perspective on the Spartans and this legendary landmark.
    A SPECIAL FEATURES ARMY:
      * WARNER BROS. BD-LIVE - Media Center; Live Community Screening; My WB Commentary.
      * Bluescreen Picture-In-Picture - Join Director Zack Snyder on a personal and fascinating commentary as he compares the Bluescreen composite to the feature.
      * Audio Commentary by Director Zack Snyder, Writer Kurt Johnstad and Director of Photography Larry Fong.

CM: I was gravely disappointed when my Blu-ray player was unable to play the 3 interactive "paths", not even after I installed the latest firmware update. This meant that accessing Path One: Creating A Legend, Path Two: Bringing The Legend To Life, and Path Three: The History Behind The Myth were beyond my player's capabilities, and based on what I saw in the 40 page mini hardcover book/Blu-ray case, I know I missed something totally awesome.

* The 300 - Fact or Fiction? - Historians, authors, and filmmakers reveal how much of the movie is based on fact. (Running Time: 24:12) {HD}
CM: Listening to Author/Historian Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, Writer/Director Zack Snyder, Executive Producer Frank Miller, and Author/Historian Bettany Hughes explore the ancient world of Sparta, Greece, and Persia in a really interesting featurette that seemed so much shorter than the elapsed time I saw on my Blu-ray player.

* Who Were The Spartans: The Warriors of 300 - The customs and ways of life of the Spartan used by the actors and filmmakers to build their characters. (Running Time: 4:32) {HD}
CM: Zack Snyder, Frank Miller, Actor Rodrigo Santoro (Xerxes), Actor Gerard Butler (King Leonidas), Bettany Hughes, and Actor David Wenham (Dilios) talk about the processes involved in turning modern day actors into Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. This is a featurette that I wish had been much longer

* Preparing for Battle: The Original Test Footage - See how Frank Miller's images were used in an video montage that evolved into the fight scene test and ultimately convinced the studio to make the movie. (Running Time: 6:43) {HD}
CM: Here Frank Miller, Producer Gianni Nunnari, Producer Mark Canton, Zack Snyder, and Executive Producer Deborah Snyder talk about the maquettes (1/6th scale models) and the live action test footage required to to convince the studio executives to give the green light to film the movie. I enjoyed watching this footage.

* Frank Miller Tapes - We'll show how the outspoken Miller continued to push his limits to realize his epic graphic novel, 300, in the world of theatrical film. (Running Time: 14:42) {HD}
CM: The Frank Miller Tapes: Unfiltered Conversations with Frank and Friends Until now I was unaware that Frank Miller considered two comic book artists as his mentors - Neal Adams and the late Will Eisner. We get treated to the thoughts of Paul Levitz (President/Publisher, DC Comics), Comic Book Creator Neal Adams, Zack Snyder, Bob Schreck (Group Editor, DC Comics), and Frank Miller in this insightful featurette.

* Making of 300 - A look at how the movie was made. (Running Time: 5:51)
CM: Zack Snyder, Frank Miller, Gerard Butler, Actress Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo), Chris Watts (Visual Effects Supervisor), and Mark Twight (Spartan Trainer) share a few words on making the film and I wish that this interesting featurette was about 4 times longer.

* Making 300 in Images - Rapid fire stills from the first day of production to the last. (Running Time: 3:33)
CM: This fun feature was like watching the included footage in Fast Forward.

* Webisodes - Behind the scenes peeks on the set of 300. (Running Time: 37:41) - Production Design; Wardrobe; Stunt Work; Lena Headey; Adapting The Graphic Novel; Gerard Butler; Rodrigo Santoro; Training The Actors; Culture of The Sparta City/State; A Glimpse from the Set - Making 300 the Movie; Scene Studies from 300; Fantastic Characters of 300.
CM: Of all the featurettes on this Blu-ray disc, this is the only one that I can't complain about being too short. In my opinion, play "All" first, then immediately replay each segment individually.

* Additional Footage - Deleted Scenes with Introduction by Zack Snyder (Running Time: 3:23) {HD}
CM: While all three deleted scenes made for interesting viewing, I agree with Director Zack Snyder's decision to excise them from the film.

40-Page collectible book packaging includes a comprehensive walk-through of the new cutting-edge Blu-ray features, behind the scenes and production photos AND never-before-seen sketches from creator Frank Miller.
CM: This gorgeously illustrated full color mini hardcover book takes you on abridged versions of all 3 interactive "paths", a page listing the principal cast and brief bios of Zack Snyder, Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, and Actor Dominic West (Theron).

In my opinion this gorgeous mini hardcover book alone is worth the difference in price from the Blu-ray disc, but add all the other cool bonus features to this package and you have a collectors item worth buying right now.

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