Meet the Spartans

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"What the fuck do (Meet the Parents and 300) have in common?"
The Nostalgia Critic.


Meet the Spartans
Meet the Spartans.jpg
The unfunnier the parody, the harder they fail.
Genre: Parody
Directed By: Jason Friedberg
Aaron Seltzer
Produced By: Jason Friedberg
Aaron Seltzer
Peter Safran
Written By: Jason Friedberg
Aaron Seltzer
Starring: Sean Maguire
Carmen Electra
Ken Davitian
Kevin Sorbo
Nicole Parker
Ike Barinholtz
Diedrich Bader
Travis Van Winkle
Jareb Dauplaise
Cinematography: Daian Deon
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: January 25, 2008
Runtime: 83 minutes (theatrical cut)
86 minutes (unrated "Pit-of-Death Edition" cut)
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $30 million
Box Office: $84.6 million
Prequel: Epic Movie
Sequel: Disaster Movie


Meet the Spartans is a 2008 American parody film directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Similar to past movies, such as Scary MovieDate Movie, and Epic Movie, it directs parodies of various films. Although it references many films, TV shows, people and pop cultural events, it focuses mainly on the 2007 film 300. It opened #1 in the US box office, despite being critically panned by critics and audiences. The film stars Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra, Ken Davitian and Kevin Sorbo.

Plot

"When Xerxes, the evil god-king of Persia, sends his massive army to Sparta, King Leonidas and 13 strapping warriors rise up to defend their homeland. Leonidas, Captain and the rest face down dancing Persians, bad punch-lines, and celebrity look-alikes."
Official Description

A Spartan elder inspects three babies. The first, an ugly, talking baby ogre (Shrek the Third), is abandoned to die for its deformity; while the second, who is Vietnamese, is adopted by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The third, Leonidas, is accepted as a Spartan for his already-present muscular physique and prepared for kinghood through brutal training. An adult Leonidas (Sean Maguire) is cast out into the wild, survives the harsh winter, and hunts down a gangsta penguin (Happy Feet). Returning a king for his inauguration wearing a penguin skin hat, Leonidas sees Margo (Carmen Electra) erotically dancing and asks her to marry him, to which she responds by giving him the combination to her armor-plated chastity belt.

Years later, Leonidas is training his son when Captain (Kevin Sorbo) informs him that a Persian messenger has arrived. Accompanied by the Spartan politician Traitoro, the messenger presents Xerxes' demands for Sparta's submission. After growing angry with both the messenger's disrespect and finding him making out with his wife, Leonidas kicks him into a pit. Despite Traitoro's advice that the messenger's guards are now needed to convey the actual message, Leonidas kicks them in as well, along with several other people he simply dislikes, such as Britney Spears (Nicole Parker), Ryan Seacrest, and the American Idol judges. Resolving to face the Persians, Leonidas visits the prophets and gives them medicines such as Neutrogena as their price for their consultation. They advise him that he should consult the Oracle for any advice. The Oracle, Ugly Betty (Crista Flanagan), reveals that Leonidas will die should he go to war.

After reaching a decision while spending the night with his wife, Leonidas meets the soldiers assembled for his departure to Thermopylae, and finds that only thirteen were accepted in the army due to stringent requirements. Among them are Captain, his son Sonio, and a slightly unfit Spartan named Dilio. Once at the Hot Gates, they encounter a deformed Paris Hilton (Parker), who tells Leonidas and the Captain about a secret goat path above the Hot Gates that Xerxes could use to outflank the Spartans. When she asks to be made a Spartan soldier, Leonidas rejects her as unqualified due to her inability to use a spear correctly. Leonidas and his platoon soon face off with Xerxes' messenger and his Immortals, beating them in a dance contest before driving them off a cliff. Xerxes (Ken Davitian), impressed, personally approaches Leonidas and attempts to bribe him with a trip to the Palms Hotel and Casino. Leonidas declines, and the Spartans face the Persian army in a "Yo Momma" fight, which the Spartans win, but Dilio has his eyes scratched out and wanders away.

Hilton decides to betray the Spartans and reveals the location of the goat path to Xerxes in return for various gifts and for having her deformed hump removed. Xerxes meets the twelve remaining Spartans and the war begins. Meanwhile, back in Sparta, Queen Margo has several confrontations with Traitoro, as he is the vital vote in sending more troops to assist her husband. Following her address to the council, Traitoro publicly betrays the Queen. The Queen then battles Traitoro in a parody of Spider-Man 3 and defeats him using a dust buster. With Traitoro's deceit exposed, the council is united with the queen.

At the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persians introduce their secret weapons, Ghost Rider and Rocky Balboa, who kills Sonio with a decapitating uppercut. Captain avenges him with Botox poisoning before being struck down by Xerxes. Leonidas pursues Xerxes and plays Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas. Managing to find the "Transformer Cube", Xerxes uses it in a car to become Xerxestron and shows off his powers to access the "Leave Britney Alone!" video on YouTube. However, Xerxestron accidentally trips on his extension cord and falls on Leonidas and the surviving Spartans, killing them. The blind Dilio eventually returns to Sparta to tell of Leonidas' final moments. A year later, Dilio leads a larger Spartan force to defeat the Persians, but the blind warrior ends up going the wrong way. They end up in Malibu, where they knock Lindsay Lohan down as she is leaving rehab again.

Why It Deserves To Be Sparta Kicked

  1. Like most other bad parody films, it's filled to the brim with atrocious gross-out jokes, racist jokes, sex jokes and fart jokes.
    • For example, there are a lots of body fluid and gay jokes throughout the movie.
  2. None of the pop-culture references in the movie are funny, nor do they even have a point.
    • Most of them are now terribly outdated and only made sense back in 2007. Those being American Idol's former judges, Ghost Rider, Stomp the Yard, Ugly Betty, Deal or No Deal, America's Next Top Model, that quote from Heroes, Sanjaya Malakar, Kevin Federline, Britney Spears' breakdown, or Paris Hilton.
  3. Awful looking production values, with a prime example being the plastic-looking Thermopylae set. Also every ancient weapon or prop used in this movie looks completely fake.
  4. Laughable character and costume designs, especially for the Shrek baby, Xerxestron, and Spider-Man's black suit.
  5. The film's title doesn't really make sense since the plot of the movie has nothing to do with meeting the Spartans. This assumes that the concept of the film is to combine 300 and Meet the Parents (an already awful idea) but this is only given in the title because it is mainly focused on parodying 300 since Meet the Parents is never referenced or spoofed.
    • In fact, the titles for Spain and Latin America: Casi 300 (Almost 300) and Una Loca Película de Esparta (A Very Crazy Spartan Movie) respectively, are more creative and fit well with the movie.
    • In France, the film is called Spartatouille even though there isn't even a parody of Ratatouille in the film; making the name change unnecessary and stupid.
  6. Many scenes are stolen from films that feel out of place in the setting. For example, the testicular torture scene is a simply a rip-off from the one of Casino Royale.
  7. Terrible acting, particularly with Carmen Electra and Sean Maguire.
  8. Mindless gags, especially for the Spider-Man 3 and Transformers parodies; especially when you consider that they come out of freaking nowhere.
  9. Poorly-made CGI and visual effects, especially for Xerxestron (a parody of Megatron from Transformers).
  10. Awful editing that makes no sense. For example, in one scene during the dance battle, Leonidas breaks his head off; and when he gets back up, it’s back on his neck without any explanation.
  11. Annoying, out-of-place and abysmal songs, such as the "Stomp the Yard" dance number.
  12. Too many gratuitous product placements, including Subway, Gatorade, Krispy Kreme, Chanel, Nintendo Wii, Chevrolet, YouTube, and even GTA: San Andreas.
  13. The ending is just atrocious, as instead of the Spartans going to battle with the Persians, they go to Malibu and knock down Lindsay Lohan when she is leaving rehab again followed by a cringe-inducing scene of the characters singing on American Idol.
  14. False Advertising: Some of the movie's TV spots featured a parody of the character of John Rambo (as the fifth Rambo movie came out around the same time), however Rambo appears right after the movie's ending credits!
  15. Bad audio editing: When the Spartans first sing "I Will Survive", one of the characters' (Sonio's) mouths can be seen singing alone, before we hear the song or see anyone else is singing.
  16. Some stupid ideas, such as a grotesque Paris Hilton, Xerxes being the fat man from Borat, and a gangster penguin which parodies Happy Feet.
  17. Despite being set in Ancient Greece like 300, this parody has overuse a lot of nonsensical and anachronistic scenes that were just there to keep the film going, which shows that Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer barley done any research on the ancient Greek setting it takes place.
    • Heck, even classic parody films like Life of Brian or Blazing Saddles actually sticked to their settings and made jokes based on it.
  18. The actual movie ends at 64 minutes, followed by 14 minutes of credits and gags, which is extremely unacceptable and makes the story feels rushed, which could've been more.
  19. Lots of unfunny "cameos" (which are only celebrity impersonators) that, like the pop-culture references, are pointless.
  20. Speaking of the "cameos", the Britney Spears parody and the "Leave Britney Alone" joke have aged horribly for being so tasteless and rude when you consider what she was going through back then.
  21. The narrator insults the audience's intelligence by spoon-feeding the Spider-Man 3 reference.
  22. Christopher Lennertz's score is bland.

Only Extremely Few Redeeming Qualities

  1. Captain and the Persian Emissary are tolerable characters that had their moments to shine.
    • The actors Kevin Sorbo and Method Man also gave good performances as the aforementioned characters despite the film having absolutely horrible writing.
  2. There are some funny moments here and there.
    • The dance battle between the Spartans and the Persians can also be funny for a few.

Parodies

Movies, Shows and Video Games

Real-Life People

  • Brad Pitt
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Britney Spears
  • Kevin Federline
  • Sanjaya Malakar
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Paula Abdul
  • Paris Hilton
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Tom Cruise
  • Dane Cook
  • George W. Bush
  • Donald Trump

Reception

Box office

The film grossed over $84.6 million, becoming the third highest grossing film to ever be directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, despite being despised by both critics and audiences. According to a bonus feature on the Rambo (2008) DVD, the high gross was caused by teenagers buying a ticket for this film and sneaking into the R-rated movie instead.

Critical response

The film was heavily panned when it came out. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 2% approval rating based on 48 reviews with an average score of 1.9/10. The site's critical consensus says "A tired, unfunny, offensive waste of time, Meet the Spartans scrapes the bottom of the cinematic barrel." On Metacritic, the film has a 9/100 based on 11 reviews, making it the lowest rated Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer film on the site and a 2.8/10 on IMDb.

Aaron Hills of The Village Voice said "I'm moving to Europe". Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly gave it a C+, saying "The result in Meet the Spartans is less classic Mel Brooks than middling Best Week Ever".

Awards

The film got nominated for five Razzie Awards (Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actress for Electra, Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Friedberg and Seltzer), but all lost to The Love Guru, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 1968 Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King, and Postal. This movie, along with Disaster Movie and Vampires Suck, are the only Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer movies to get nominated for the Worst Picture Award.

External Links

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