300: Rise of an Empire (2014) Directed by Noam Murro. Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey . IMDB says: “Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.”
300: Rise of an Empire is a fun film. The much anticipated sequel (kind of) to the 2007 action flick 300, this film sort of zooms out from the battle that takes place in the first film. Specifically, the film chronicles the events that take place before, during, and after that battle. The primary focus is the naval battle that takes place around the same time as the events of the first film. Only a few of the actors reprise their roles and only a handful of connections/references are made to the original, so this film is left to stand mostly on its own merits.
I’ll start of by saying that this film is best enjoyed in 3D. The way in which this film is shot is fantastic and displays its graphic novel origins in a very convincing way. The battle scenes and establishing shots are choreographed in such a way that you truly feel immersed in the film and the 3D serves to supplement that feeling. The directing and cinematography are solid, working together to pull you into the film and really make you feel like this is live action. The acting could have been better, honestly, this isn’t a film that will earn anyone an award nomination (apart from the technical disciplines). The dialogue is a little thin at times and there can be a bit of overacting but nothing is so detrimental that it detracts from the films impressive visuals and narrative.
The film has already taken a beating from folks over the supposed historical inaccuracies throughout the film. As I do not possess any particular knowledge of Greek history, I can’t speak to that. I can speak to the thrill of pretending to learn about Greek history. I actually came out of this thinking I had learned something and gained a more complete picture of what happened in the first film. Whether that’s true or not is mostly inconsequential because I had fun and truthfully that’s what this film is all about. This is a graphic action flick with a ton of violence and a strong enough story to keep the viewer interested.
Apart from my grievances with the acting mentioned earlier, I don’t have too much to complain about. The visuals are great, helped by the directing and strong character portrayals. The story is at least as convincing as it needs to be to make this film work. This is one that will keep you entertained and is at least somewhat rewatchable. I do think the 3D made an impact and because of that I would encourage you to see it in 3D, on the biggest screen you can find and with 3D enable. Overall, it’s a strong film and I think it will have mass appeal. Oh, and you get to see Eva Green’s boobies. In all three glorious dimensions. For at least 1 minute and a half.
OVERALL SCORE: 73%