Title: 300: Rise of an Empire (Official Site)
Tag Line: NA
Release Date: 07 March 2014
Runtime: 102 min
Genres: Action | Drama | History | War
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Theater (screening)
Production Company: Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Director(s): Noam Murro
Writer(s): Zack Snyder (screenplay), Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Frank Miller (Graphic Novel)
Stars: Sullivan Stapleton (Themistokles), Eva Green (Atemisia), Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo), Hans Matheson (Aesyklos), Callan Mulvey (Scyllias), David Wenham (Dilios), Rodrigo Santoro (Xerxes), Jack O’Connell (Calisto), Andrew Tiernan (Ephialtes), Igal Naor (King Darius)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
300: Rise of an Empire is the followup to the 2006 movie 300 which was about how King Leonidas and a force of 300 men fought the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. In 300: Rise of an Empire we learn why Xerxes was so hellbent on attacking Greece as this movie starts a little before the events of 300. The story of Themistokles and King Leonides are then told in parallel for a time (though we do not see the Leonides much in this film) before Rise of an Empire goes beyond 300. As with 300 the cinematography in 300: Rise of an Empire is excellent and watching in 3D really heightened the experience for me. You could see every drop of water and dust or blood speck in the air. The stop motion effect just became so detailed that you almost hate for the the action to start up again as you just want to look at every inch to see what details you might see.
As with 300, the action in 300: Rise of an Empire is almost non-stop and you find yourself cheering for the Greeks despite the overwhelming numbers of the Persian army. Themistokles’s battle tactics are sure to delight all viewers for there ingeniousness. Even if the movie makers didn’t use some of the tactics used by Themistokles it was all done in a spectacular way. I can accept changes to history if I am entertained by it and its all done in a believable and natural way. Plus my knowledge of Ancient Greek History isn’t the best so I wasn’t aware of them as much as the friend I was with.
I really enjoyed the acting of this movie and loved the character of Atemisia as she was a such a fierce female lead. Strong female characters, heck just females in general, were missing from the first movie so was nice to see Artemisia in this one. She is not someone that you would want to mess with and Eva Green did an amazing job bringing her to life. I also liked Sullivan Stapleton’s performance of Themistokles and felt that he truly became this Greek warrior of old.
And then of course there was the amazing use of washboard abs in pretty much every scene which is always a wonderful thing and something that was totally underutilized in the last movie I saw, Pompeii. Every director should make note…if an actor has the abs the abs should be used.
The only thing I really didn’t like about 300: Rise of an Empire was how it ended. It was very book 2 in a trilogy in that it had more of a cliff hanger ending than the first movie had. While 300 ended with Xerxes still on his march it was an end for the characters that we had been following, King Leonides and his 300 Spartan soldiers. 300: Rise of an Empire completes its main story ARC of the Persian naval battle but there were a lot more loose ends, in my opinion, than with 300. With 300 I was satisfied with how it ended and if there was never another film than it would be ok. But with 300: Rise of an Empire, I just feel as though there should have been more and I can only assume that this will happen with a third film.
Overall though I was totally lost in the magic of 300: Rise of an Empire. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie and just loved all the action scenes. I loved how it was a serious film but also had some great one liners. Its a movie that I want to see again and while I may not do so in theaters I will probably buy the DVD. It was fun and engaging and one that I would recommend to all. I also think that you can see this movie without having seen 300 as enough of what happened in that movie is explained in this on. And since the timelines of the two movies are pretty much parallel its ok if you don’t know what is happening at Thermopylae as the Greek Warriors in this movie don’t know what is going on there either. I’d also recommend seeing this one in 3D if your eyes can handle it as it just makes the cinematography just that much more. For me, it just heightened the whole experience but I know that it can be bothersome for those not a fan of 3D. Either way though I think that there is much to love in 300: Rise of an Empire.
My Recommendation: Worth seeing on the big screen especially if you liked 300.