300: Rise of an Empire
300: Rise of an Empire
I was originally going to wait until this came out on home video, but I recently got the opportunity to go to a Winter Soldier pre-screening event. As this was the first time showing up to one of these events I thought that an hour and a half early would be enough time to be able to get into the showing. Unfortunately I was wrong, by well over 50 people wrong. Not only that, but the theater wasn’t doing a very good job at communicating how many people actually were in the line ahead of us and it wasn’t until about 10 minutes before the showing was supposed to start when they finally came to us near the back of the line and told us the bad news and offered us tickets to any other movie showing at the theater. Luckily there was a screening of 300 starting right at that exact moment so that’s what I went with. So on top of seeing an underwhelming movie, it also has the detriment of being the movie that I had to see instead of Captain America 2. I was a fan of the original 300 and even own it on DVD (though I don’t think I’ve re-watched it since buying it. While this still had involvement with Zack Snyder, the direction was passed onto Noam Murro who seemed to think the best way to follow Zack Snyder’s style was to increase the amount of slow motion moments of blood flying at the camera.
Also when I was originally hearing about this movie I was under the impression that it was a prequel to 300, then it sounded more like a sequel, and after watching it, it’s actually a bit of both. It is another side to the 300 movie, and the events of the first movie take place sometime during the middle of this movie. This side of the story focuses mostly on the naval battles between the small Greek forces led by Themistocles played by Sullivan Stapleton and his abs and the overwhelming navy of the Persian armies led by Artemisia played by Eva Green and her breasts. I will say that there were a couple high points in this movie and they were Themistocles and Artemisia. Eva Green totally sold every scene that she was in with the possible exception of the really weird kinda rape-y feeling sex scene between the two of them. It was also kind of interesting seeing the handful of moments where they used Gerard Butler’s Leonidas in moments referencing the events in the original 300, though I almost felt like they used CGI instead of bringing him back, and it’s quite possible that they did considering that they wanted him for a major role which he turned down.
Another thing that I did like in this movie were the actual naval battles including their tactics. I always enjoy seeing unusual battle tactics that work, and there are quite a few good ones showcased here which give the advantage to the smaller force over the larger force, though I never did get the sense that the Athenians were all just farmers and fishermen as they kept referring to them as, since they almost always fought just as well as the heavily trained Spartans from the first movie. I also quite liked the substory between Themistocles’s friend and his son who is just barely old enough to take part in the battle, though of course he is also an extremely skilled warrior in his first battle with no remorse against killing Persians. Not only that, but I never understood why Atermisia specifically sought him out as the one for her to personally kill, while the audience knows that the two of them are close friends, I didn’t get the fact that Artemisia was also aware of that fact, nor did she kill anyone else in that manner.
This movie really is a full of good ideas that then get undercut with bad plot points. For every element of the movie that I like, there is a subelement that I do not like. There are some amazing choreography in the fight sequences, especially the ones towards the end, but they are too often overrun with moments that move into Snyder-vision super slo-mo with the overly CGI blood spraying towards camera in a full-on slo-mo fountain. I also don’t really care for the voice over which also starts the movie in the middle of the story for no reason other than to have an “ohhh” moment when the movie catches back up to that point in the story. It also makes me curious if re-watching the original 300 will hold up as the stylish, well-made movie that I remember it being, or if it will be seen as a shallow slo-mo festival of blood and abs. Time will tell, so until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.