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300
(2007)
Album Cover Art
2007 Regular Edition
2007 Special Edition
Album 2 Cover Art
2007 Collector's Edition
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:
Tyler Bates

Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Timothy Williams

Lead Vocals by:
Azam Ali
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Warner Brothers Records
(Regular Edition)
(March 6th, 2007)

Warner Brothers Records
(Special Edition)
(March 6th, 2007)

Warner Brothers Records
(Collector's Edition)
(July 31th, 2007)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
All three 2007 albums for this score are retail products. Released at the same time as the regular album was a "special edition" that sold for $4 extra and includes a 16-page booklet and three trading cards. A few months later, the "collector's edition" with a 42-page case-bound book added three score tracks and a remix, retailing for over $40.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you accept generic blends of orchestral, vocal, and industrial metal that pander to the lowest common denominator of blockbuster action music for topics set in times long past.

Avoid it... if you have respect for the music of Elliot Goldenthal, Hans Zimmer, Gabriel Yared, James Horner, Vangelis, and Paul Haslinger, as well as Macedonian folk music and garbage can lids, all of which abused by Tyler Bates in this, the most famous acknowledged case of plagiarism in modern film music history.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,003
WRITTEN 9/13/09
Bates
Bates
Goldenthal
Goldenthal
300: (Tyler Bates) If you accept all the more highly publicized faults of the 2007 film 300, including but certainly not limited to glorified gore, questionable history, poor character development, desaturation of colors, insufferable pacing, and stolen music, then you finally get to the real issue of the production: false abdominal muscles. That's right, fake abs! The best debates about 300 involve whether the ridiculously chiseled muscles you see in the place of the normal spare tires on the finely exhibited bodies in the cast were (a.) painted on with a bronzing agent, (b.) enhanced with CGI in post-production, (c.) faked completely with plastic front pieces, or (d.) some combination of all of the above to suit the needs of the individual actors and whether they're closer to the blue screen than the camera. The answer is mostly (a.), though credit the production with finding a Scotsman in great shape to play, naturally, King Leonidas of the Spartans. Sean Connery could have starred in 300 at his age, too, and the production would have assigned him the appropriate look of rock hard abs. In all reality, the appeal of 300 exists in its entire visual package, though the sculpted, minimally clothed bodies caused the film to be embraced by a wide range of sexual preferences and fetishes that included crowds of mesmerized homosexual men. Rest assured that 300 is an equal opportunity production, though, balancing female nudity along with bare male asses in prominent placements. The sexuality of the film in general is as striking as any of its other elements, all of which owing some measure of success to a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the graphic novel by Frank Miller. Director Zack Snyder so thoroughly captures the essence of Miller's illustrated imagination that 300 did indeed achieve the desired effect of translating that specific imagery to screen. The blue-screen shooting of 300 allowed for every scene to be layered with backgrounds of various distances that very specifically imitate each illustration of the comic. Realism wasn't the intention here, and the viewer is never in doubt that he or she is watching a moving comic rather than a traditional film. To this end, Snyder succeeds even better than the adaptation of Miller's Sin City, catapulting the latter film to its surprising $200+ million earnings at the box office.

The plot of 300 is really not that important. The Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. is the focus, but the confrontation between King Leonidas' 300 Spartans and King Xerxes' significantly larger Persian force (as well as the introduction of Xerxes' downfall at the Battle of Plataea the following year) only serves the basic purpose of providing a minimal level of compelling action for the rendering of the characters. Those characters are only as three-dimensional as Snyder allows them to be, glazing over their humanity with the same copper-toned shades (with the production's distinctive flashes of red, of course) as the water and skies in each scene. The pacing of the film is incredibly slow, intentionally pausing on specific shots as to suggest another frame in the novel. During the time the actual ultimatum is delivered to Leonidas at the end, an average viewing couple could have wildly satisfying sexual intercourse in three rooms of the house and fix a couple of sandwiches in the time it takes for the Scotsman's character to toss aside his armor, drop to his knees, and contemplate the glorious nature of his impending death. Seeing fake blood dripping from actors' mouths has never been so tedious. The same could be said about David Wenham's obnoxiously interfering narration. The role of Tyler Bates' music in this entire equation was not of particular interest either, at least at the time of the film's debut. The score was just another culmination of ideas already tested in similar epics and fantasy films of a decade past. When Bates was nailed first by the public and then by the lawyers for plagiarism in the work, though, his music for 300 then entered the realm of infamy. In retrospect, all anybody familiar with film music recalls about 300 is precisely the shameful copying and pasting that was revealed in Bates' writing, but it's also important to remember that this score served the dumb masses just as well as Steve Jablonsy's music for the Transformers films. There is an audience for predictably recycled and repackaged crossover music such as this, as evidenced by the fact that the 300 album exploded to 40,000 unit sales with no trouble at all and Warner Brothers over-saturated the market with no less than three versions of CD soundtracks for the film. The fact that the studio's music arm saw fit to treat 300 with "special" and "collector" editions on album indicates how highly they sought to maximize their profits from this crowd pleaser.

There are two ways to look at Bates' efforts for 300: with the plagiarism angle and without. It's not much different from looking at Jablonsky's Transformers music from the disparate intellectual and mainstream angles. For mainstream readers and listeners not concerned with the recycling issues, 300 will sound as stylishly enticing as the film's visuals. Bates treats the slow motion photography with a sense of melodramatic self-importance that meets or exceeds their expectations with satisfyingly familiar shades of orchestral, electronic, and vocal elements. The harmonious parts are often simple and unclouded by potentially compromising counterpoint. An ensemble of London orchestral performers is joined by vocalist Azam Ali, with whom Bates had collaborated on the artist's solo works. Several specialty instruments are employed, though most exist in the lowest registers of the percussion section, not a surprising move given the typical intent on accompanying masculine movies with overpowering bass in their music. The use of Taiko drums is especially prominent, though while a few other ethnically diverse elements are incorporated, Bates largely foregoes the Mychael Danna route (an unfair comparison, granted) and instead opts for a fair amount of electronic manipulation of more frequently heard symphonic instruments. Also making a substantial impact are the rock sounds, embodied by driving electric guitar and an intimidating, alienating industrial metal tone that largely defines the score. The "coolness" factor contributed by the guitars closes the film in "To Victory," the accompaniment for the comic-like end credits sequence, while the industrial effect is inseparable from most of the action and suspense sequences in the film. Why Bates chose to employ this harsh metal edge into 300 rather than use more creative traditional instruments in dissonant patterns to create a more appropriate sound for the film is obvious, though given his tendency to employ the same techniques in The Day the Earth Stood Still and Watchmen, perhaps this sound represents the limits of his abilities. When he uses these textures to define a mythical element as in "The Wolf," the result is tiring, reminding of the kind of mundane material that Paul Haslinger pumps out for films of Underworld quality. At times, Bates almost employs guitars like a wild duduk, and as a supplemental performance aspect, this would have been fine. Leading a cue like "No Mercy," however, it's simply noise.

Bates does work two recurring themes of importance into the score. The first is a choral chant with clanging and banging percussion meant to represent the power and bravery of Leonidas and his group, heard clearly in "Returns a King" and with greater depth in "Come and Get Them." The timpani-pounding, deliberate exclamations by male chorus in these cues are certainly rousing, though their tone is so over the top that even Conan the King couldn't live up to this amount of pomp. The second theme conveyed by Bates is one for the overwrought love story in 300, accompanying Lena Headey's performance of the Queen and the Gladiator-like scenes of dreamy and ethereal wheat fields involving her. This theme offers a combination of Ali's exotic vocalizations, solo cello, and various flutes, all expressing fantastic beauty in "Goodbye My Love" and "Message for the Queen." Utilizing wailing female vocals of an extremely melancholy tone is a tried and tested cliche in Hollywood, but it seems to, once again, please the crowds. The freaky-looking Xerxes in 300 is given a musical voice by electric guitar, oddly enough, presented in a combination of slapping metal percussion loops, wildly tearing guitars at random pitch, and vaguely Middle-Eastern progressions on strings; his representations in "The Hot Gates" and "Xerxes' Tent" are damn near intolerable. There's a big difference between the sound of a foreign menace and the sound of unrelenting metal trash that uses volume to frighten rather than structure. The entirety of the 300 score suffers from the same terrible affliction. George Carlin once termed it "frothing at the crotch," but in film music terms, it's "frothing at the manipulator." In other words, Bates handles every scene on a basic emotional level rather than an intellectual one, a choice (or necessity caused by lack of talent, his detractors would say) that forces his score for 300 to be held together by its overbearing simplicity rather than any deep sense of thought. The themes aren't developed well enough to carry the narrative and most of the instrumentation is too manipulated in tone or pitch to serve this purpose either. Thus, listeners are left with a few individual highlights and a general sense of metal mayhem when departing this listening experience. The score is, like so many of those that come from the clones of Hans Zimmer's operation, so engrossed in the masculine editing of its parts that all sense of nuance is lost. Don't seek interesting textures outside of the dissonant metal-grinding and guitar-wailing that dominates the treble region.



Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
848 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 1.5 Stars
***** 18 5 Stars
**** 24 4 Stars
*** 65 3 Stars
** 152 2 Stars
* 589 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
35 TOTAL COMMENTS
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plagiarism
Gill Bates - January 28, 2016, at 4:05 a.m.
1 comment  (218 views)
Thoughts of a member of the dumb masses...
Franz Vohwinkel - June 2, 2014, at 9:34 a.m.
1 comment  (678 views)
While we all wanted Leonidas to kill Xerxes...
Richard Kleiner - February 19, 2011, at 10:58 p.m.
1 comment  (1038 views)
300 was better than Titus...   Expand >>
Michael - October 20, 2009, at 10:42 p.m.
2 comments  (1462 views)
Newest: October 21, 2009, at 5:40 a.m. by
Roman (formerly Rally V)
Let Us Now Sing About The Lord Jesus Christ!   Expand >>
God's Grace - October 15, 2009, at 9:33 a.m.
3 comments  (1474 views)
Newest: March 29, 2010, at 1:59 a.m. by
Richard Kleiner
Animal talkers and professional organizers   Expand >>
ErikV - September 29, 2009, at 3:26 p.m.
20 comments  (6481 views)
Newest: June 14, 2011, at 2:53 p.m. by
David
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Regular and Special Editions Tracks   ▼Total Time: 59:45
• 1. To Victory (2:35)
• 2. The Agoge (2:25)
• 3. The Wolf (2:11)
• 4. Returns a King (2:24)
• 5. Submission (2:41)
• 6. The Ephors (1:59)
• 7. Cursed by Beauty (1:42)
• 8. What Must a King Do? (1:06)
• 9. Goodbye My Love (3:23)
• 10. No Sleep Tonight (2:34)
• 11. Tree of the Dead (2:25)
• 12. The Hot Gates (3:00)
• 13. Fight in the Shade (3:18)
• 14. Come and Get Them (2:05)
• 15. No Mercy (2:23)
• 16. Immortals Battle (1:54)
• 17. Fever Dream (2:33)
• 18. Xerxes' Tent (3:21)
• 19. Tonight We Dine in Hell (1:15)
• 20. The Council Chamber (2:35)
• 21. Xerxes' Final Offer (2:39)
• 22. A God King Bleeds (2:17)
• 23. Glory (1:45)
• 24. Message for the Queen (2:32)
• 25. Remember Us (2:58)
Collector's Edition Tracks   ▼Total Time: 74:15

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The majority of inserts contain notes from the director and composer, though none of the products contains any disclaimers about the plagiarism. The "special edition" includes a 16-page booklet and three trading cards. The "collector's edition" includes a 42-page case-bound book complete with the "Blood Spatter" art debossed and foil-stamped on the cover, as well as Corniche Silk end sheets and extensive photography from the film.
Copyright © 2009-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from 300 are Copyright © 2007, Warner Brothers Records (Regular Edition), Warner Brothers Records (Special Edition), Warner Brothers Records (Collector's Edition) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/13/09 (and not updated significantly since).
Slashed mouth or no slashed mouth, doesn't matter... Leonidas missed the freaky bastard.
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