300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

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300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
  • Time: 102 min
  • Genre: Action | Drama | Fantasy
  • Director: Noam Murro
  • Cast: Rodrigo Santoro, Lena Headey, Eva Green

Storyline:

After its victory over Leonidas’ 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes marches towards the major Greek city-states. The Democratic city of Athens, first on the path of Xerxes’ army, bases its strength on its fleet, led by admiral Themistocles. Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops. But Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land.

5 reviews

  • 300 Rise of an Empire is probably one of the most enjoyably awful films I’ve ever seen. After the relative success of 300, I was quite excited about going to see this film. What I will say is that it made me laugh. But I’m not sure that was what the director was intending.

    If you thought 300 was unsubtle, then Rise of an Empire is not the film for you. Like the original film, blood erupts from bodies like a volcano and limbs fly 20 feet in the air. But what is really striking is how much the director is trying to appeal to the senses. Oars smash into the ocean with a hollow boom and at one stage the moon is half the size of the screen. Everything is in-your-face chaos, as you’re force-fed a mixture of grimy visuals and unsettling sounds.

    What I will say for the film is that it provides a strong female lead in the form of Eva Green, and she dominates the screen in most of her scenes. However the rest of the cast are an eclectic mix of English, Australian and South African (judging by the accents.) This didn’t add a lot to the realism of the film, but since when was realism a big part of the 300 saga? Unfortunately there was not much in the way of plot either, as the film lurched from one unrealistic battle scene to the next. Although relentless in terms of pacing, it misses out on any really memorable scenes and the dialogue is pretty awful. The visuals seem less striking too, as it felt like a re-hash of 300.

    In all honesty this wasn’t one of the most sophisticated films I’ve ever seen and I wouldn’t exactly call it a classic. But if you’re in the mood for a bit of light entertainment that doesn’t require any real concentration, then look no further. There was enough beheadings and slit throats to keep me entertained for most of the film, but most of the fight scenes seemed like a bloody mess in comparison to the film’s predecessor. Even so, it was effective on it’s own terms. Watch out for the supernatural horse though.

  • I think almost everyone can agree that a sequel to 300 is completely unnecessary. However, deeming something unnecessary doesn’t certainly make it bad. In an ideal world, one may even argue that a sequel to 300 might be a very good movie: considering how the original had its fair share of flaws, the sequel could easily eliminate these flaws, while still focusing on what made the original enjoyable. The only problem with that argument is that we don’t live in a ideal world (actually, we live in a world where a big chunk of sequels are made exclusively for profit, not for improvement of the first installment) and that 300: Rise of an Empire is just a horrible movie, which everyone should skip.

    Calling 300: Rise of an Empire a sequel to 300 could be a misinterpretation. Rise of an Empire’s plot timeline occurs before, during and after the original movie’s timeline. The movie is narrated by King Leonidas’ wife, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), who tells the story of an Athenian hero called Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton). Themistokles killed Xerxes’ father Darius (Igal Naor) during the Battle of Marathon. Ten years after that event Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) decided to revenge his father and destroy all of Greece. This time Themistokles must stop the giant Persian navy lead by Xerxes’ second in command, the menacing Artemisia (Eva Green). Even after just glancing at the movie’s synopsis, it’s very obvious that 300: Rise of an Empire’s title doesn’t make much sense. There are much more than 300 warriors in the movie (none of them Spartan) fighting the Persian hordes, and no empire is rising during the movie. There are some talks about uniting the Greek city-states, but that’s about it.

    I know Rise of an Empire wanted to be connected to the original movie in some way, but throwing a bunch of out of place references definitely isn’t the best possible way of obtaining that. Even the Persian emissary, who was famously kicked in the bottomless pit in the original, makes a cameo appearance. But in Rise of an Empire not only does he have nothing against women speaking in front of men, but he even plays an important role in Artemisia’s military career. And speaking of continuity errors – Queen Gorgo’s narration doesn’t make much sense since the movie portrays some situations in which she clearly didn’t participate; and not only that, but there were also some flashbacks in the movie, which weren’t her own! Continuity errors and plot holes similar to these two (there are much more) quickly destroy any suspension of disbelief and ultimately ruin the moviegoing experience. I’m thoroughly aware that some people could label this plot hole criticism as simple nitpicking, but Rise of an Empire also fails in many other aspects, not only in delivering a coherent plot.

    Rise of an Empire has all the flaws the original one had, without any of its charm or virtues. The characters in Rise of an Empire are even less developed than they were in the original (believe it or not!) and the slow motion is as abused as ever. The man who replaced Zack Snyder in the director’ chair, Noam Murro (who only directed one movie before this), struggles between ripping off Snyder’s visual style and finding his own voice. The ultimate result of this painful struggle is a bland, boring and uninspiring movie, which does almost nothing spectacular. Some action sequences (especially the ones of naval battles) looked decent but everything fell apart when the fake CGI blood (which looked like something created in Microsoft paint) started spraying around. The two leads, Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green, do their best to save this movie, but even their combined forces aren’t enough to make Rise of an Empire a watchable movie. In the end, it’s not the lack of coherent plot that made me hate Rise of an Empire, nor the awful special effects, nor the non-existent character development; what made me hate it is the possibility of another sequel.

    Rating: 3/10

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  • The sequel to Zack Synder’s 300, set before, during and after King Leonidas and his 300 do battle with the Persians. Themistokles of Athens leads a charge against the invading Persians led by ‘God-King’ Xerxes and Artemisia, the vengeful commander of the Persian navy. The first film was set mainly on land, while the sequel is more about battles over sea.

    Positives

    It’s been nearly seven years since we first saw 300 and so naturally unless you re-watched the first film before seeing the sequel it’s hard to remember exactly what happened. The film does a great job for people who haven’t seen or remember the first. As it’s set at the same time as the original and so you are re-introduced to what happened in the first throughout the film as well as a…
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  • 300: Rise of an Empire 6/10- Coming off of the widely successful 300, this new sequel attempts to do what the original 300 did but on a much bigger scale. Rise of an Empire may not achieve the same level of originality or high quality screenwriting. Yet, with Eva Green stealing the show and a ton of hard-core sea battle sequences ingeniously crafted, the audience members cannot help but appreciate how rare an extremely epic film comes along.

    I will start with the slightly bad aspects of the film. This term may not be used to often anymore, but in certain scenes of this picture, it seemed a little too “Hollywood.” Most avid movie-goers would agree that in certain scenes of Rise of an Empire, especially the beginning, it over uses slow motion effects in the battle scenes. And yes, to a certain extent slow mo can definitely make fight scenes undeniably better. Having said that, when slow mo is used repeatedly, the audience will start to stray away from how great the fight looks and start to think why the directors felt it be necessary to include this much of one particular special effect. This is not all this movie’s fault do to the fact that since the widely successful original 300, a lot of films have exhausted the medieval blood-gore genre.

    It is not exactly fair to say that this sequel lacks originality, since after all it is a sequel. But, they should still bring something new to the table and should definitely be able to stand apart from the original. To be honest, this film would not done half as well if it was not for the monster box office success of the first film. As far as sequels go in terms of comparing it to the original, Rise of an Empire still offers something new has not been seen in a while and the plot is at the very least decent.

    For full review and more, http://reviewsbywest.com/300-rise-of-an-empire–noah.html

  • “300” which appeared in 2007 was a groundbreaking revelation. Not so much in terms of content, but in terms of the visualization of the heroic battles that 300 Greeks fought, in the battle of Thermopylae led by King Leonidas.The slow motion chopping spectacle with blood splattering all over the place,is still burned into my memory.A breathtaking movie.

    This movie isn’t a prequel or sequel. It’s an epic drama that encompasses the story of “300”.Does it add value? Can it outpace “300” in terms of violence and bloodshed? Does the heroism increase in this film to a higher level? Are all your nerves strained to the limit when viewing this Greek tragedy? Bwah,not really. To be honest I was quite disappointed, annoyed and disinterested after a certain time.An easy duplicate of the original film in which the artifices and tricks are recycled. I’m convinced that the chair of history fanatics and historians will have some wet spots after seeing this movie.My chair was as dry as an old souvlaki.

    However it begins in a strong way with the surprise attack of the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon. A treat on upcoming Greek violence with bare torsos so you can admire swollen muscles and six-packs.Fierce brandishing sharp swords which causes gaping wounds in slow motion and limbs being amputated. Spears pierce chests and skulls are split. And this together with gushes of blood. But haven’t we seen this kind of images already in “300”? Yep ! So it can’t outpace the original movie in terms of violence and bloodshed. In fact,you could feel the adrenaline increasing during the fight scenes in “300”.The testosterone level was several dashes higher.

    It’s in this battle at Marathon that commander Themistocles kills the Persian king Darius with a phenomenal well aimed shot. The son of Darius, Xerxes, gets after the death of his father the advice not to start a war against the Greeks, since only the gods can defeat them.Naval Commander Artemisia, sees a challenge in these words and sends Xerxes into the desert to return as a god after he has dipped in gold luminous water in some cave. That was the part with a bit of Greek mythology. Xerxes looked more like a member of the “Village People” afterwards and ended up playing only a secondary role.The lion’s share of attention was claimed by Artemisia.Xerxes largest share was declaring war with the Greeks afterwards.

    Meanwhile Themistocles can convince the board of Athene to give him a fleet so that he can stop the Persians.He asks the arch-rival Sparta to assist him in this mission, but they refuse.After this, the battle focuses on the battle in the streets of Artemisium.The Battle of Thermopylae is of less importance in this film and is only shown with a few clips from the first movie. Ultimately,the focus in this film is on the cruel actions of Artemisia and the attempt of Themistocles to form an united Greece and thus to go to battle against the Persians.

    Sullivan Stapleton is not such an impressive figure as King Leonidas played by Gerard Butler.During the battle it’s a formidable opponent and next to that he shows his talent as a charismatic orator.Butler was a fearsome leader who shouted his men into battle with snappy one-liners.Artemisia on the other hand is an intriguing character which was played in a proper manner by Eva Green.A spirited cruel captain who originally was Greek,but during her childhood witnessed the atrocities that were committed against her family by the Greeks themselves.She was taken as a slave, and left for dead.Then she was adopted by the Persians and teaching martial arts.She makes good use of this and shows no mercy.She hates the Greeks and the only thing important in her life is to kill as many as possible.The moment she beheads a Greek prisoner and gives it an intimate kiss,after which she throws it in the sea,is pretty impressive.In contrast, the amorous and erotic affair she has afterwards with Themistocles, which she uses to get him on the side of the Persians,was laughable and hilarious.It was more like a wrestling match.

    Just like the original movie “300”,this one is a spectacle and you will be treated with some violent and bloody film clips.In “300” the fighting took place in a narrow pass.In this movie most battles take place at sea with a huge drifting fleet of the Persians,and a tiny flea from the Greeks. The Greece’s fleet looked more like a squadron of floating cigar boxes. The battle scenes are again impressive and flashy.A forward-moving human killing machine that destroys every intersecting opponent. Gallons of blood flows again.The choreography is beautifully worked out during the fighting and slow-motion pictures match the original film.

    And that’s precisely where the sticking point is.It’s a film with entertainment from the top shelf, but it’s actually an ordinary remake of the first film. But with the emphasis on the immense battle at sea. For me, no gain. There was only one thing that started to bother me after a while. There isn’t a single scene in this whole movie, or something is floating around : sparks emanating from burning fires, dust particles that fly between sweaty bodies, small particles of shaft whirl through the image, also something like fireflies and drops of blood. At one point I was paying more attention to this than the actual movie. The battle with an awful lot of boats floating around wasn’t very convincing. And it was also clear to see that they were computer images. And certainly when the horse came up. That really looked bad. And after a while I got sick and tired of the computerized streams of blood.

    All in all a pretty intense movie in which Eva Green sparkled and the screen turns red again. Still, I thought it was a mediocre sequel to a peerless original film.An unnecessary sequel in other words.

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