in , , , ,

300: Rise of an Empire


‘…very much more of the same in terms of bare-chested speeches and heavy bouts of narration, but the epic sea battles are freshly presented, and the spectacle is huge throughout…’

300: Rise of an Empire is a brisk romp through the history books but without paying too much attention to actual history. This version is filtered through the comic book imagination of Frank Miller and the bloody cinematic CGI heavy vision of Zack Snyder, so there’s plenty of deviations from the script; we’re enjoying a Classical Studies lecture but via the vivid day-dream of a horn-dog student, and that’s probably one way of spicing things up for a modern audience who at least turned up to gawk at some good old fashioned sex and violence; on a $100 million budget, the film-makers trebled their money at the worldwide box-office.

The events depicted in Noam Munro’s film wrap around the legendary battle seen in the first film; complete with a computer-generated Gerry Butler, the Spartans are seen heading off the Hot Gates 20 minutes in, and news of their heroic sacrifice is received around the hour mark. The focus is therefore wider, and begins with the birth of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). Popping out of the pool at 12 feet tall, the mortal turned god is mainly a peripheral figure as the Greeks, led by Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) ramp up for a sea-battle with the Persians.  The Persian forces are under the control of Artemisia (Eva Green), whose backstory is fully explained through a graphic scene in which she watches her family murdered. Trained as a warrior, she’s a worthy adversary for Themistocles in her plenipotentiary role, and they even get it on romantically, although their big lovemaking scene is anything but gentle.

With Snyder co-writing and producing, 300: Rise of an Empire is very much more of the same in terms of bare-chested speeches by men and women, and heavy bouts of woolly narration, but the epic sea battles are freshly presented, and the spectacle is huge throughout. Green and Stapleton both fill out their roles with venom, even managing to upstage genre specialist Lena Headey, and as gouts of gore spray over decks, extras and the camera lens, the early promise of a ‘tide of blood’ is thoroughly delivered on, including a choice decapitation.

300: Rise of an Empire is a rattling good watch for those who enjoyed the first film, and does work as a stand-alone in its own right. With plenty of plot-lines left hanging, it felt like there was plenty of scope for the franchise to continue after this solid, impressively handled entry, but as yet, nothing has emerged. Snyder had visions of a series of splattery historical epics ranging from Alexander the Great to the American Revolutionary War, but none have come to fruition; a separate film just about Eva Green’s fearsome kick-ass Artemisia would be ideal as a time-passer for now.


Leave a Reply
  1. Sounds like a bunch of bologna to me.
    Good luck in your fight. You both are going to need all the luck you can get. And reviewing a movie like this, well, you both deserve what is coming…

  2. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! You’re not allowed to do this on the same day!!!!!!!!!!! Now the gates of hell have been opened and the movie demons walk among us.

    • Retract your review, infidel! Or the crushing weight of the Kingdom of Caledonia will fall upon your milquetoast Canadian nog!

        • Then you shall die on your knees! Let your typos falls around your ears! We’ll see who is overwroughght!

          • Poor Eva Green. Works so hard in this movie only to have her character’s name butchered by critics still using Hooked on Phonics. I shall be her avenger, and slay the typo-ridden beast.

            • I find this message to be very overwraughut! Let he who is without typos cast the first stone! Eva and I will boot you and your silly review around Canada like you deserve! Take down your disgraceful rip off review, or face the consequences!

              • Having said the first and the last word on this film I can now retire safely to bed, wondering when Artemisia will ever have her name corrected by sausage-fingered Caledonia critics.

                • Looks fine to me the way I have it, maybe you miss-saw it in your overwroughaght state of mind. Now get your review in the trash in case Eva Green mistakes it for a proper review. Unlikely, but worth keeping an eye out for. Go hide under your bed, infidel! A rain of fireballs are heading your way! THESE ARE TYPOS!

  3. Are you stealing Alex’s thunder? I thought he was doing the 300s? I enjoyed the original, but can’t remember seeing this, though I feel I must have.

Leave a Reply