300: Rise of an Empire (Review)
I was pumped to see 300: Rise of an Empire. Not because it looked cool, but because 300 is one of my all-time favorite movies, if not THE number one action movie for me. That being said, there was a standard 300: Rise of an Empire was going to be held to thanks to the original movie. Did Rise of an Empire live up to the hype? Here’s my review of 300: Rise of an Empire (IMAX 3D).
NOTE: Possible Spoilers
First and foremost, this is a Frank Miller movie and it did live up to the visual style you should expect from Mr. Miler. The fight scenes were gory, using 3D to really focus on blood and limbs flying at you at any given time. Some critics whined about the over-the-top fighting scenes, but I enjoyed them. Sure they’re nothing new in 2014, but to have anything less in a movie like this would make me feel cheated. I’m by no means a sadistic person, and I don’t particularly like to see blood or injuries, but when I watch a movie about Greek Warriors, Persians, and mythology, I better see some Mortal Kombat style gore with crazy fight moves. So, visually, Rise of an Empire delivers. If you were a fan of the original 300 movie and its style, you’re going to be happy with Rise of an Empire.
Now, as for the actual setting of the movie, that was a bit different. The majority of Rise of an Empire takes place at Sea. Almost all of the fight scenes, and even lots of dialog/action scenes takes place upon ships. I could gather from the trailers that there were some aquatic fight scenes, but I guess I didn’t realize this was going to be a naval movie. I’m not knocking it, simply stating it kinda caught me off guard. In a way, it did make the movie feel confined though. It was as though there wasn’t much room for action to happen because everything was so close-quarters. Pretty much all of the fight scenes went down like this: Row your boat, ram the bad guy’s boat, jump aboard the bad guy’s boat and proceed to cut them. Rinse and repeat. I’m not saying it was boring, just very predictable and lacked the spacious feel of most other fight scenes.
The main character in 300: Rise of an Empire is Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton). Themistokles is an Athenian Politician and General. He leads the Greek army to battle against the Persian ships using his knowledge of Greece to his advantage, eventually winning the war or Persia. The movie takes an interesting approach of using past, present, and future tenses concerning the original 300 movie. What I mean is; you learn of how Xerxes became a God King (10 years prior to the battle at the Hot Gates), and how Artemisia gained hatred of the Greeks, so there’s two back stories going on from the past. Then the actual movie takes place parallel to the fight at the Hot Gates. In one scene Themistokles shows up in Sparta to speak with King Leonidas to see if he can gain Sparta’s army to fight along with the Athenians. Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) informs Themistokles that King Leonidas is currently consulting the oracle about going to War with Persia (you remember that scene from 300, I know you do). Queen Gorgo proceeds to let Themistokles know Sparta isn’t interested in uniting all of Greece, and they will not join Athens in battle. From that point on, Themistokles and the Athenian army fight Artemisia and her Persian Naval fleet after Leonidas fought at the Hot Gates. So, as you can see, Rise of an Empire stretches much farther out than the original 300 did. Think of fit as 300 being just one battle in the scheme of things, while Rise of an Empire tells a much broader story.
One very interesting part of this movie was the introduction of Artemisia (Eva Green). At first I figured they just made her up, just to pretty the movie up and add a main character with big breasts, but it turns out she’s legit. Apparently Artemisia was Xerxes most trusted advisor and actually did command his ships, at least at one point in history. What makes this/these movies so cool is the Mythology and how they unfold the fight scenes, so I have no issue when they embellish on the truth and makes things “bigger” than they really are. Personally, Rise of an Empire was easy to watch for me because I have no knowledge to the truth behind Xerxes Naval fleet, so I was able to just sit back and enjoy the movie. I must say though, Artemisia is straight up hardcore Yo. I guess, even in real life, you’d have to be pretty legit to command Persia’s ships and be Xerxes advisor, so maybe it’s warranted. As you learn of Artemisia’s back story you feel sorry for her, it was pretty jacked up to be honest. Just a Greek child, preteen at that, she has to watch her family get slaughtered. Then, as if that wasn’t heart breaking enough, the Greeks use her for their own lustful gain for most of her childhood, keeping her chained up as a play toy. Not cool Greece, not cool at all. Near death, she is picked up by a Persian and trained to fight. As it turns out, she’s pretty good with a sword, really good. With all of the evil, torment, and hatred in her heart put there by the Greeks, she vows to return to Greece and watch it burn to the ground. How would one do that? Simple, team up with the God King Xerxes and beat the crap out of some Greeks, and there’s your movie plot.
As you may have guessed, there’s a reason Eva Green was chosen to play the role of Artemisia… She’s not afraid to show off her “assets”. There’s one scene in particular that is extra titillating between Artemisia and Themistokles aboard Artemisia’s ship. She summons Themistokles in hopes to seduce him into betraying his country and joining her and the Persian army. She does a pretty good job of it too, because Themistokles can’t resist, and we get to see some really hot and aggressive copulation. You can’t blame him though, she’s looking pretty fit in the movie and her breasts are large and natural, so there’s not really a defense for that. That’s pretty much the only “hot” scene in the movie, but it was well done.
The dialog, writing, and overall acting was pretty good. There were a few cheesy lines, like when a Persian realizes they’re tricked whilst sailing and yells “RRROOOCCCKKKSSS!!!”, but that’s kinda expected from movies such as this. Never did I feel bored, cheated, or as though the movie was trying too hard. It’s an easy watch, has some really interesting scenes, and is just plain fun. I seen this at my local Showcase Cinema de Lux, 3D IMAX, and it was a really cool experience. If you enjoyed the original 300, the Spartacus series on Starz, or anything Greek Mythology related, 300: Rise of an Empire is for you. I highly recommend you see this in the theatre, 3D if available.
300: Rise of an Empire gets 8 Tom Bradys out of 10