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Meet the Spartans(2008)
The heroic Leonidas, armed with nothing but leather underwear and a cape, leads a ragtag group of 13—count 'em, 13!—Spartans to defend their homeland against the invading Persians (whose ranks include Ghost Rider, Rocky Balboa, the Transformers and a hunchbacked Paris Hilton). No one is safe when the Spartans take on the biggest icons in pop culture.
For more about Meet the Spartans and the Meet the Spartans Blu-ray release, see Meet the Spartans Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on June 2, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 1.5 out of 5.
Starring: Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra, Ken Davitian, Kevin Sorbo, Diedrich Bader, Method Man
Directors: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
» See full cast & crew
Meet the Spartans Blu-ray Review
Bad to the Bone.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 2, 2008
I'm not a stupid as I look (reviewer's note: yes you are, Spartans).
My wife is a high school geography teacher. During a recent discussion her students were having about what movies they liked and did not like, Meet the Spartans was apparently a favorite amongst them. That same group informed her she should stay far away from Cloverfield because it was "boring." Apparently it's for that teenager dollar that the studios make movies like Meet the Spartans, and cause the rest of us (well, movie reviewers, anyway, as I don't think anyone else saw this movie) to waste precious hours of our lives criticizing it. On the supplemental features I watched on the recently reviewed Rambo, someone mentioned that the studio estimated some several million dollars of the money earned at the box office by Meet the Spartans was actually from people who bought a ticket for this PG-13 comedy and snuck into see the R-rated Rambo instead (or perhaps they saw Spartans and snuck into the next showing of Rambo afterwards, and no, I do not condone such practices). This "Pit of Death Edition" of Spartans is, however, an unrated cut. Obviously, I did not see this film theatrically, but I would imagine this unrated cut is probably worse than the PG-13 version.
Meet the Spartans spoofs many films, but concentrates its plot based on events as seen in 2006's 300, a film depicting the heroic stand of 300 Spartans against an enormous invading Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae. Needless to say, this movie parodies some of Hollywood's, television's, and the video game industry's most recent hits, as well as popular culture websites and celebrities, all of them framed in the context of the confrontation between Sparta and Persia, a few playing well with the material and somewhat logically fitting into the story, but most are forced and completely out-of-place. Some of the movies spoofed (that I identified) include Shrek, Casino Royale, Happy Feet, Borat, Stomp the Yard, Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider, Rocky Balboa, and Transformers. Some of the popular television shows poked fun at throughout the movie include "American Idol," "America's Next Top Model," "Dancing With the Stars," and "Deal or No Deal." Other spoofs include Gatorade and Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" commercials, the Grand Theft Auto video games, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, and Ain't It Cool News.
Meet the Spartans' one redeeming quality is that the credits mercifully begin to roll only 68 minutes into the movie, signaling the close of the horror. Of course, we're meant to endure the second "American Idol" spoof of the movie at this time, featuring the cast singing "I Will Survive" as they dance around the "Idol" stage. I barely survived this snooze-fest of a movie myself, but I did, thankfully, although once the credits roll (again), we're "treated" to some outtakes and deleted scenes, if anyone is courageous enough to have waited around for them. Even at less than 90 minutes, with the credits starting at 68 minutes, the movie drags on far too long. The spoofs are beyond lame and are completely spelled out for the viewer (like we're too stupid to figure out what's being spoofed), and even if we didn't catch all of them, they are so unfunny that it truly doesn't matter if we "get" them or not. Even segments of the movie that aren't spoofs fail to be funny. There is a running "spit/sneeze on someone" gag that proves more disgusting than funny. Apparently, Hollywood has forgotten how to make a great spoof movie. One need look no further than "Weird Al" Yankovic's UHF or Spaceballs to see just how funny a spoof movie can be.
Meet the Spartans Blu-ray, Video Quality
Despite the fact that this movie is a total loss, Fox has nevertheless delivered it in fine fashion to Blu-ray. Meet the Spartans arrives in a very handsome 1080p, 1.85:1 transfer that is befitting of a much better movie. The image is crystal-clear and pleasing to the eye throughout. Flesh tones are accurate, but like the movie as a whole, have a slight golden tint to them. Meet the Spartans has a very natural, lifelike, and cinematic feel to it. There is some grain present in the film that adds a nice touch to the movie but doesn't necessarily hearken back to the level of artificial grain as seen in the real (and obviously vastly superior) 300. Black levels are fine, but there are some instances, especially during various effects shots, that appear washed out and gray, but these are few and far between, scattered amongst an otherwise excellent transfer. Fine detail is also quite high. The Persian uniforms look great; their gray tops and yellow sashes stand out and appear natural and lifelike, as do the red cloaks worn by the Spartans. The ornate decorations worn by King Xerxes also look real (and fake, meaning dime store accessories rather than real gold adornments), but we can easily make out every nuance and detail on them. Impressive detail is also noted on minor props, such as a bandage worn over the overweight soldier's eyes; every thread and fray is clearly visible, as is the minor amount of dirt present on it, and it looks like a real and used battlefield dressing. We can also make out every pit, mark, and rough blemish on shields, helmets, and weapons. This high quality transfer didn't make the movie any better, but at least it provided something positive to say in the review.
Meet the Spartans Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Fox has delivered another impressive lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Audiences are treated to an awesome surround and percussion presence to open the movie, easily the finest moment of the film until those glorious credits begin rolling. A booming thunder that accompanies this opening moment of the movie is among the finest I've heard yet. In fact, surround presence is impeccable throughout the movie, and the entire soundtrack is worthy of a far better movie. Bass rumbles on other occasions as well, notably during the Transformers/Megatron spoof. Dialogue reproduction is also perfect. When the overweight Spartan goes in for an attack and fails in chapter 10, the track offers nice separation and imaging, the sound of the scene is its only redeeming quality. In the same chapter, the "Xerxes Mix" is a dynamic hip-hop beat that sounds great in lossless audio as bass rattles and the music and lyrics permeate the listening area. Unfortunately, this fine soundtrack doesn't improve the movie one iota. In fact, it made me wish that my sound system was being put to better use, but for this movie's fans, this listen should be a treat. Kudos to Fox for not letting the quality of the movie interfere with the quality of their Blu-ray release.
Meet the Spartans Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Meet the Spartans is no spoof of bare-bones Blu-ray discs, providing a few extras for fans to enjoy. A feature-length commentary track featuring directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, actress Nicole Parker, and actors Ike Barinholtz and Sean Maguire is first. This track is hard to digest, but more entertaining than the movie. The participants laugh almost the entire time, not so much at the movie, but at their stories from the set. In fact, no matter where you skip to, you'll hear these people laughing within five seconds of the start of almost every chapter. Know Your Spartans Pop Culture -- Trivia Game is next, a multiple choice game about the people and movies spoofed in Meet the Spartans, as well as questions about the movie itself. Playing this was much more fun than watching the movie. A buzzer marks a wrong answer, and correct answers are greeted by Leonidas kicking someone into the Pit of Death. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I only missed one question.
Meet the Spartans: The Music allows viewers to jump to any of the music/dance scenes on the film. Prepare For Thrusting (1080p, 5:11) looks at Kevin Sorbo's "Hercules" workout for the cast of Meet the Spartans, and their training for various scenes. Tour the Set With Ike Barinholtz (1080p, 6:37) is exactly as it sounds, a look at the sets used on the film. Next is a gag reel (480p, 4:16). Celebrity Kick-Off Game lets you kick a celebrity into the Pit of Death, a pointless and dull feature. Super Pit of Death Ultimate Tactical Battle Challenge (1080p, 20:53) is next. It takes 4 minutes and 6 seconds to listen to the instructions. The game is similar to the previous game, except that this time we kick the celebrities in from a first-person perspective. A pop-up trivia track and two 1080p trailers for Meet the Spartans mercifully concludes the special features.
Meet the Spartans Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Meet the Spartans is a terrible movie, even compared to the likes of the Scary Movie series or the various teen comedy spoofs. There were very few gags in this movie that worked; the Casino Royale sequence and the movie's brief Grand Theft Auto scene worked well, but otherwise, there is nothing worth seeing here. They just don't make them like they used to; the days of UHF seem long gone, and we're left with Meet the Spartans instead. What a shame. 20th Century Fox has redeemed themselves by not phoning in the audio and video quality of the disc, however. The supplements weren't interesting, but people who liked this movie may find them enjoyable. Meet the Spartans on Blu-ray offers nothing but fine A/V quality, and you can find that on many other discs. Skip this one.
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Meet the Spartans Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Fox Announces Meet the Spartans Blu-ray - March 31, 2008
Fox Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the comedy spoof 'Meet the Spartans' to Blu-ray on June 3rd, day-and-date with the DVD release. The film, which is brought to you by the same people who brought you 'Date Movie' and 'Epic Movie', will be ...
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