300: Limited Collector's Edition
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro
Warner Home Video has given Zack Snyder's 300 the Limited Collector's Edition treatment inclusive of premium packaging, numerous physical extras, and a bonus disc with a new featurette and digital copy of the film. The first two discs in this collection are identical to the Two-Disc Special Edition released in July of 2007. My assessment of the film, its presentation, and the extras on the first two discs is available in the HTF Reviews Archive at:
(As an aside, I generally do not repeat text from already reviewed titles when they are bit-identical in content not just because I am too lazy to cut and paste, but because I believe that the forum responses are just as illuminating as anything I have to say, and a link is the only practical way to include them. Let me know if you find this practice annoying or have alternate suggestions about how to handle such titles either by posting below or via PM. - Thanks!)
An additional bonus disc is included that contains a new featurette called To the Hot Gates: A Legend Retold (30:06). It is presented in 4:3 letterboxed video with English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and available subtitles in English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai. This new featurette concerns how the art, color scheme, sensibility, and tone of Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's graphic novel were translated into cinematic terms. While it does re-tread some ground from the webisodes and featurettes on the previous discs, it is the best overview of the actual movie production of all of them and fills in many, but not all, of the gaps that made the Two-Disc Special Edition seem less comprehensive than its sheer quantity of extras would seem to suggest.
Topics covered include Frank Miller's inspiration and research for the graphic novel, his resistance to a film adaptation, how Snyder and the producers convinced Miller otherwise, lighting and digital image manipulation used to capture the look of the graphic novel, details about specific cinematic representations of several characters, creatures, and effects including: Delios the Storyteller, the Wolf, Ephialtes The Hunchback, The Ephors, The Oracle, The Executioner, The Immortals, The Wall of the Dead, The Uber Immortal, The Spartan Warriors, Xerxes, Leonidas, and Gorgo, and some notes on the music.
Interview participants include Frank Miller, Zack Snyder, Producer Mark Canton, Producer Gianni Nunnari, Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Producer Bernie Goldmann, Visual Effects Art Director Grant Freckelton, VFX Supervisor Chris Watts, Director of Photography Larry Fong, Production Designer Jim Bissel, Producer Deborah Snyder, Art Director Isabelle Huay, Actor David Wenham, Creature Designer Mark Rappaport, Creature Effects/Make-up Artist Shawn Smith, FX Artist Mario Dumont, Trainer Mark Twight, Actor Vincent Regan, Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson, Screenwriter Kurt Johnstad, and composer Tyler Bates.
The only other content on the bonus disc is a digital copy of the film that is both PC and Mac/iTunes friendly. It is unlocked via a code provided on a paper insert to the packaging. After entering the code, it took about six minutes for the digital copy to transfer to my iTunes library.
Aside from the new featurette and digital copy, this Limited Collector's edition is distinguished by its deluxe packaging. All of the contents are contained in a sturdy cardboard slipcover that is about twice as wide as it is tall. Inside is a hardcover bound 52 page book with berths for the three discs on the inside front and back covers. The book has a one page Introduction from Zack Snyder followed by a mix of film stills, production art, and art from the source graphic novel all rendered lavishly on high quality paper.
The package also contains a small Lucite-enclosed lenticular motion display with an image of Leonidas throwing a spear.
Six Photo cards are provided based on theatrical posters with images and quotes that focus on individual characters or creatures from the film: Leonidas, Queen Gorgo, an Immortal, the Uber Immortal, Stelios, and Xerxes.
Additional inserts include a promo for Warner Blu-Ray discs, an ad insert for ordering various prints and posters, and a sheet with the one-time use code to unlock the digital copy.
The 300: Limited Collector's Edition will please super-fans of the film with its lavish packaging and artwork, and would make a fine gift for such folks. The new featurette on the additional bonus disc fills in some of the gaps in the supplements to the 2-Disc Special Edition, but does not quite bring the extras to the level of what I would consider "comprehensive". Less rabid fans will likely not find the new featurette, digital copy, and physical extras enticing enough to pay the premium price (US$50 MSRP) over the previous single and double disc releases.