"Meet the Spartans: Unrated Pit of Death Edition" Blu-ray Review
June 12, 2008 by Zach Demeter
The first few Scary Movie films seemed like a fresh and fun way to kill time at the cinema or on DVD, but shortly after the second film the series began to run dry, dumbing down its humor even further and making the audience that watched it bumble around like mindless Neanderthals shortly afterward. Despite this, the movie going public decided to continue plunking down money to see this series and because of this, Meet the Spartans grossed nearly eighty-five million dollars worldwide. When you think about all the good that could have been done with eighty-five million and all the wrong that Meet the Spartans did to your IQ level, you begin to wonder what exactly is wrong with the world.
Hot off the heels of 300, and by “hot off” I mean nearly a year later, Meet the Spartans dashed onto theater screens and quickly made millions, much to critics confusion. You see, Meet the Spartans managed to be even worse than Epic Movie that came before it. While many thought Meet the Spartans would merely be Epic Movie 2, it quickly became evident that the film was replicating 300 more than any other “epic” film that came out previously, so it received a name change. Not that that helped…it still sucked.
I’ll admit this right now: I laughed a few times during the course of this film, but they were few and far between. Most of the humor came from the naming of some of the roles in the film, such as Kevin Sorbo as “Captain” and Diedrich Bader as “Traitoro.” Sadly that was the extent of the humor here, but it was done in an almost old school humor kind of way with a scant few of the dialogue portions (“You are a fine captain, Captain.”) The rest of the film’s humor came from pop culture references, which is where it failed the most.
The problem with pop culture is you have to be careful what you’re referencing so that, while it’ll feel stale, it’ll at least still make you laugh. Unfortunately the tired portrayal of Britney Spears, K-Fed and the myriad of reality shows (seriously, what the hell was with that? They spoofed just about every dancing, singing and reality show there was and none of them were humorous) were all much too late. I will say that Ken Davitian of Borat fame played a hilariously disgusting Xerxes, but aside from that there wasn’t much to laugh at all in this film.
I know why they continue to make these films, but why people continue to go see them I don’t know. You cannot honestly tell me that anyone actually find the things in these films funny and it’s not as if they’re loaded with sex appeal either; in fact, Meet the Spartans had less nudity than the 300 it was spoofing. It’s an absolutely baffling film as it cannot even seem to parody elements of its core inspiration properly.
It’s confusing to me how the likes of Diedrich Bader and Kevin Sorbo got wrapped up in this film, as even with Bader’s relatively low-profile career and Sorbo’s…erm…”success” after Hercules clearly shouldn’t have warranted what this film pushed out. Admittedly Sorbo and Bader were the best parts of the film, but that’s not saying much considering it was a solid turd throughout.
I could go on about how the actual film isn’t even an hour long before the end credits roll and a long stream of scenes that were left out of the film and had no place were thrown in simply to pad the run time, but that would really give the film more credit than it deserves. Unlike Epic Movie where we at least had Kal Penn uttering the name “Johnny Swallows”, I was unable to take anything but pure boredom and pity away from Meet the Spartans. You can claim all you want that it’s just a mindless comedy, but the only thing accurate about the “mindless comedy” phrase in conjunction with the film is the word “mindless.” Avoid It.
Oh wow they actually wasted a Blu-ray disc on this film. In case you didn’t have enough of the film, there is a smattering of extras to check out, but, as expected, it’s nothing that you’ll want to actually watch or play around with. But first we have the package itself, which arrives in a standard Blu-ray case (with the fancy printed chrome logo to boot) and an insert telling you to keep your Blu-ray player up to date.
The technical presentation of the film itself is nothing to scoff and at the very least you’ll be able to ogle Carmen Electra in 1080p for awhile, although she’s hardly in the film at all (and when she is, she isn’t ever in any real state of undress, much to the high school student viewers dismay), but other than that there isn’t anything to write home about. Details nice, as one would expect from a recent film in 1080p, but unless you really want to see all of Ken Davitian’s pierced man boobs and chest/back hair in super high detail, then just walk away. The accompanying DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix has plenty of thud and boom behind it as well, especially for the myriad of dancing sequences in the film which was backed up by some fort of obnoxious track at some point or another.
The first extra is a commentary with cast and crew, but…really? Are you going to listen to this? Granted they’re funnier on this than any of the actual movie, but that’s not really saying much. It’s a fair track but it’s nothing you’ll want to sit through for the entire films run time, no matter how short it may be. Just ignore this, along with the rest of the film, if possible.
Next up is “Meet the Spartans: The Music” which basically just jumps you to a point in the film when one of the many musical pieces takes place, which makes this a glorified chapter selection more than anything. “Prepare for Thrusting” (5:11) is the making-of documentary and “Tour the Set with Ike Barinholtz” (6:37) is just what it sounds like—a look at the Meet the Spartans set. Both are your standard fluff fare, although Sorbo actually tries to say that the training that the 300 actors went through meant nothing. I know it was in jest, but that’s not something I’d really joke about when you’re in Meet the Spartans. The aforementioned extras are all in 1080p, but the “Gag Reel” (4:16) is 480p and actually is the first gag reel I’ve seen that managed to not be all that funny.
The rest of the extras are standard game fluff, with “Know Your Spartans Pop Culture” being a simple trivia game with questions from the film with clips that play after each answer. I actually was kind of enjoying this piece until I had to wait for the clips from the film to play, which made me question why I was still playing this game since it was just making me have to watch the film again. “Trivial Track” plays during the film and randomly pops up with, what else, but trivia about the film and its many parodies.
The biggest surprise, to me, was the “Celebrity Kickoff Game”, which I actually wrote down in my notes while playing with this extra, the line “someone got paid to make this and that's wrong.” It is, without a doubt, the absolute dumbest extra on a DVD or Blu-ray I’ve ever seen. Who made this and thought they did a good job? Did someone think the sporadic character animations would somehow be humorous or were they simply not thinking about it while making it? Talk about a waste of talent and a Blu-ray disc.
Overall this is an absolutely worthless film and worthless Blu-ray release. Completely Avoid this film at all costs, as you’ll get nothing from it but the desire to have spent the hour and a half channel surfing than watching that monstrosity.
Meet the Spartans: Unrated Pit of Death Edition is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.