REVIEW: 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

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CAST

Sullivan Stapleton (Blind Spot)
Eva Green (Dark Shadows)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Hans Matheson (Sherlock Holmes)
Callan Mulvey (Batman v Superman)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Rodrigo Santoro (Lost)
Jack O’Connell (Unborken)
Andrew Tiernan (The Pianist)
Igal Naor (Green Zone)
Andrew Pleavin (Inception)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Luke Roberts (Reign)


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.

7 years of waiting has paid off. 300: Rise of an Empire is thoroughly satisfying. The violence in this film makes you grin with glee from ear to ear despite considering yourself a seasoned veteran of gore films. 300: Rise of an Empire is not just about the sea battle, but masterfully takes us through several flashbacks without jeopardizing the story and turning it into a mess. The film also leaves enough room to create several believable characters, most prominent of all the real historic female naval general Artemisia, wonderfully played by Eva Green. Green plays Artemisia with an authoritative aura that has warrior written all over it. Xerxes takes a back seat this time, but we do get a glimpse into his past and who the man once was.

At the end of the day, if you hadn’t already come to this realization 7 years ago, you need to now: 300 is a work of art, not a historic movie. It is the film adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novels and thus sticks to the literature both in story and in art design. Hence the oversized moon. Hence the ridiculous blood splattering. When viewed in this context, it is almost impossible to find flaws in these two adaptations, as they masterfully bring the graphic novel to vibrant life.

Last but not least, 300: Rise of an Empire offers breathtaking setpieces and backdrops, and is arguably more grand than the original 300 film, although of course we aren’t treated to the plethora of enemies and fantastical creatures as the first film did. Nevertheless, a well done and truly satisfying sequel. My only gripe is that the final duel should have been far more epic, and the soundtrack could have used some of the familiar thematic choirs of 300. Still, a 5, out of 5 stars.

REVIEW: 300

CAST

Gerard Butler (The Ugly Truth)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Dominic West (Punisher Warzone)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Vincent Regan (Lookout)
Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
Tom Wisdom (Dominion)
Andrew Pleavin (Inception)
Andrew Tiernan (The Pianist)
Rodrigo Santoro (Lost)
Stephen McHattie (Watchmen)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Michael Sinelnikoff (The Lost World)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)

In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian army in the mountain pass of Thermopylae. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the enemy in one of the most famous last stands of history. Persian King Xerxes lead a Army of well over 100,000 (Persian king Xerxes before war has about 170,000 army) men to Greece and was confronted by 300 Spartans, and several hundred Arcadians. Xerxes waited for 10 days for King Leonidas to surrender or withdraw left with no options he moved. The battle lasted for about 3 days and after which all 300 Spartans were killed. The Spartan defeat was not the one expected, as a local shepherd, named Ephialtes, defected to the Persians and informed Xerxes of a separate path through Thermopylae, which the Persians could use to outflank the Greeks.

300 is basically  just one epic fighting scene after another. Most noticeably is the camera work and the visual effects. Every shot seems like it was intended to be a work of art. The colors, the characters, the costumes, the backgrounds… every little detail has been given so much attention. During the big fights you’ll also instantly notice the unique editing. There are a lot of “time slowdowns” throughout the battles which show what exactly is happening. Fatal wounds that slowly leak blood spatters in the air, decapitated heads traveling in slow-motion across the screen… it’s all there.

The story on the other hand isn’t very complicated, in the sense that the whole movie could probably be described in a sentence or two. The dialog is simple and most often talk about moral values like freedom and honor.

For me the good outweighs the bad by miles. From the second the movie started it grabbed me and didn’t let go. Every battle, every scene of the movie had me at the tip of my chair. Everything from the strong acting to the wondrous visuals to the war-shouts of the soldiers was just so stunning… it was truly a wonderful experience.I did not one single moment felt like the movie lacked anything.