Snyder captures the material directly, bringing together frame for frame a film version of the graphic novel, a classic Grecian tale brought to brutal, bloody life. That being said, not much new is brought to this.
300 is a story based on the battle of Thermopylae during the Persian/Greek wars, during which a stalwart group of only 300 Spartans used geography to stem off an attack of a much greater Persian army. This story was first shown in the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, directed by Rudolph Maté, starring Richard Egan.
This was depicted and expanded on by Frank Miller (writer/artist) and Lynn Varley (colors) in the 1998 hardcover graphic novel, "300".
Miller utilized his trademark brutal simplicity to deliver a visceral, bloody, dramatic tale. Varley’s colors suit the project perfectly, loading each panel with warm tones, creating a heat contrasted with the black tones prevalent throughout the piece.
Zack Snyder, hot off his first success – the remake of Dawn of the Dead – took this on in his first comic related project. He is a fan of the genre and Miller’s legacy, and it is clearly demonstrated in the work. He is meticulous in the recreation of the work, creating a direct reflection in the film version, down to panel-for-scene duplication and embracing a particular color filtering technique to emulate Varley’s color palettes. It is brutal and bloody and uses rampant slo-mo to isolate and elongate the combat sequences. One could argue that it is so reverential to the work, and so duplicative, that it lacks any true directorial innovation and simply serves as fan service for those that revere the work. This will become apparent in some of Snyder's subsequent work as well. Style over substance.