It started shortly after the opening credits; small groups of folks began heading for the door. It got worse when the main villain appeared on screen and all the audience could do was laugh. And, yes, it ended when whatever was left of a packed house booed Zack Snyder's 300 as the end credits scrolled up the screen -- once and for all squashing all rumors that this film would sparkle, dazzle and unite moviegoers from around the globe in the belief that 300 would be the first great flick of 2007.

I will admit that I was one of those people throwing buckets of hype at 300 well in advance of its debut. The trailers sure did look pretty enough, and so what if the thing was entirely filmed in front of a gigantic green screen. It had guts, strength and a powerful underdog story -- what more could you want? Well, I was certainly expecting a lot more ... as was the European audience in attendance. Sure, Europeans might not gobble up Snyder's vision in quite the same way us Americans will, but I feel pretty confident in saying this flick will hit the States with a huge thud ... and not even the 300 muscles of its cast will be able to save it from the imminent death handed out by a slew of eager critics. Stay tuned to Cinematical as I'll have my review of 300 up shortly.

Edit: The review is now up.

Note from Erik: This was a press screening. This was not at the premiere of the film which took place later that day.