Where Honesty Never Ends.
300: Rise of an Empire
Director: Noam Murro
Greetings! No Labels here!
I am a fan of the first 300. Sure there is glamorization of violence, particularly some of the blood shots, but there was passion. There was a plot I could get behind. The way King Leonidas stood and spoke to his men; heck, to anyone! He had leadership swag. Gerard Butler played that role like a boss. I would have suited up and followed him to the death.
I was thrilled to hear the sequel was finally out. I was a bit thrown off that the original director, Zack Snyder, wasn’t going to be a part of this one, since that particular style seemed to fit the movie.
It brings to question: Can an imitation ever be as good as the original?
Where 300 focused on Sparta’s charge against the Persians, 300: Rise of an Empire turns its attention to the Greek general Themistokles.
Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy. (Source imdb.com)
The action in the first few minutes had me right away. Then as the movie progressed, the grip on me loosened and by the time it got to the biggest fight scene of the movie, I was drowning like some of the ones who got killed in the battle.
Ahem, where did the plot go?
In 300, the plot of the movie was stated and stayed in focus amidst the bloodshed. In 300: Rise of an Empire, it is stated but seems to go all over the place and just never takes off the ground. The action packed sequences felt like an attempt to cover up the lack of plot development, but those who are fans of the total package noticed this flaw right away. Guess which category I fall under?
Loving the villain more than the hero
Eva Green as Artemisia
“You go, girl!”
(She’s the villain? Oops!)
In this movie, I found myself sympathizing for Xerxes but more so for Artemisia. I loved her character. She’s a bad ass. Her whole makeup (and I’m not talking about just on the face) was just wonderful. Wait, but she’s not the hero! She’s the villain. Themistokles is the hero, yet I feel nothing for him. It just looked as if he was trying too hard, like a King Leonidas knock off. I’m supposed to be like F*** the Persians, not Persians, F*** them up. That is when you know the hero wasn’t pulled off effectively.
They could have just renamed this 300: Rise of Artemisia because she’s the main reason I kept looking at the movie. Sorry, Xerxes, you are the perfect example of: Behind every man (in your case man-god), there’s a great woman. Artemisia is more man than the man-god. Chew those apples!
If imitation is flattery, it’s flattery done badly
I get it! In the absence of plot, put in more gory action. That was the formula used here. The director tried to imitate the style of his predecessor, and it just looked forced. Even the blood splatter timing seems misplaced and thrown off—damn near unrealistic.
One particular scene towards the end didn’t make sense: how is she the one fighting with no shield? Everyone else has shields; why doesn’t she? Yes, it makes the Queen look superhero like in proportions but still…really?
So back to the original question: Can an imitation ever be as good as the original?
Unleashed says: 3 out of 5 Stars.
The action and the performances of Eva Green (Artemisia) and Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo) saved this from being a 1 star.
Answer to the original question:
Can we get a Hell No! (Sorry Stone Cold)
Whereas the first 300 was worth the cost of a ticket, save your money for the DVD with this sequel.
The actors did the best they could with what was given, but no amount of great acting in the world can salvage a poorly drawn out plot and directorial feats gone sour.
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