Meet the Spartans
Starring: Kevin Sorbo, Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra
Directed by: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Heed this warning, fellow students: do not see Meet the Spartans.
Do not watch it bootlegged off the Internet. Do not rent the DVD on a whim, and if you get it as a gift, be sure to excommunicate the person who gave it to you. This movie is an abomination, making the genuinely hilarious work of the Wayans brothers, who resurrected the spoof genre in 2000’s Scary Movie, all for naught. Their legacy is forever marred by this sad excuse for a film.
In a surprisingly full theatre, the opening day matinee screening was attended mostly by high schoolers, who were relatively silent for the majority of the barely 80-minute movie. The laughs that did come were mostly from youngsters responding to language they would get in trouble for using at home. The rest of the audience members were forced to let their brains melt until the weak jokes could elicit soft chuckles.
The film is also lacking technically. Using 2006’s 300 as its base, Meet the Spartans reproduces the film’s dark and artful Aegean setting, but with a gloss and artificiality that is noticeable from the opening scene. The moments in which it attempts to recreate 300’s suspended animation sequences are painfully cheesy and barely worth the effort. One would think that nearly 10 years after The Matrix, the technology required for the effect might have advanced.
The cast of Meet the Spartans is a sad, strange group. Leading the pack is British import Maguire as Leonidas, whose performance is held back only by the film’s weak script. Sorbo, best known for his four-year stint playing Hercules on television, plays his captain. The 49 year old is in impressive shape — his acting ability, however, is difficult to gauge, due to the poor script.
And of course, the one and only Electra plays Leonidas’ queen, Margo. As this is her fourth appearance in a satirical film, her willingness to degrade herself is no longer post-modern and progressive; it’s just sad.
This leaves the terrible script. With the writers strike depriving television audiences of their visual vices, this film puts the writers’ cause back about 10 million miles. Between blatant product placement and gay jokes, it is films like these that have people saying, “If this is the best they can think of, maybe the writers not working is a good thing.”
Granted, this quote was lifted off a World of Warcraft message board, but you know what they say: once you lose the fantasy nerds, the mainstream is sure to follow.