300: Rise Of An Empire – Movie Review

300: Rise of an Empire300: Rise Of An Empire – R
Release Date: Fri 07 Mar 2014

After seeing the 2006 movie 300, I didn’t imagine there was much room for a sequel or anything approaching a franchise with this story. Yet after seeing how this movie wonderfully expands the scope and mythos of the original I can put this movie in a rare category alongside The Godfather Part 2. Both are better than the original by giving us more information about what happened before, during and after the original.

300: Rise Of An Empire digs deeper into the backstory of Xerxes, the “god-king” to reveal a new antagonist in Eva Green’s fascinating Artemisia and protagonist Themistokles. Where Leonidus was a one-note killing machine, Themistokles is a political leader first and a warrior second. He sagely uses the sacrifice of Leonidus and “the brave 300” as martyr to the cause of uniting Greece to fight Persia as one. Sparta was the strongest of the Grecian city-states, but Xerxes impeding invasion of Athens must be answered.

Much like 300, the action here is heavily stylized and unrealistic. This works within this very mythological story, and this one comes across closer to Clash Of The Titans than Hercules. There’s more to see and learn here. While computer-generated blood spills in abundance, the movie is sparse with showing wounds and realistic gore to give it a bigger impact when it does appear. The focus on naval combat does a lot to keep the visuals more interesting than its predecessor, and Artemisia and Themistokles are both sympathetic characters because they are given enough depth to be understandable.

Though I saw it in IMAX 3D I can’t imagine it loses anything going down to a 2D showing, if anything it would just be bolder and sharper than the already dingy style that becomes overstated when you add the 3D glasses. The IMAX part was great, but the 3D blur-factor on top of the stylized filters made it like watching the entire movie through Saran Wrap. Since it’s unlikely to show in 2D IMAX, the best picture will likely be the Blu-Ray release.

Cal and I saw it in the theater together and recorded a discussion in the car afterward:


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