Movie Review: 300: Rise of an Empire

27 Feb


Slow motion. Blood. Action. Nudity. Naval warfare. Accents. Little to no storytelling. Narration. If these things have peaked your attention, then boy do I have a movie for you. 300: Rise of an Empire is the accompanying movie/sequel to 300, which starred Gerard Butler and told the story of King Leonidas and 300 Spartan soldiers holding back a massive Persian army until they [spoiler alert] all died300: Rise of an Empire tells the tale of Themistocles, played by Sullivan Stapleton, an Athenian general who fights the same massive Persian army in hopes to repel invasion and to unite all Greeks – but this time, on water.

Visually, Rise of an Empire is similar, if not the same, as 300. There is a graphic novel or video game feel to all the scenes in the movie, which actually helped hide some of the CGI that would be much more obvious in other movies. I did appreciate the fact that it went over the top with again with the costumes and character and set designs. You really got the sense that this was supposed to be a movie based on a comic. I also like to think that this embellishment of characters and how they looked and acted is how people would tell the story of these battles in ancient times. I’m not entirely sure that’s what their intention was, but hey, it’s a pretty good thought, ok?

In true Zack Synder fashion (even though he was just a writer in this movie), there was a lot of slow motion. It sometimes got to the point where there was so much slow motion in certain scenes that it felt like Noam Murro, the director, was just throwing them in there and going “Am I doing this right?” For those more familiar with video games, the slow motion events of the movie reminded me of quick-time events from God of War. I was half expecting a combination of buttons to flash on screen so that whichever character was fighting at that time would do a sweet slow motion move. So it kind of worked but there was just too much of it sometimes.

Do I dare talk about the acting? If you go and see this movie with the desire to be blown away by someone’s performance, then you’re going to have a bad time. The acting wasn’t horrible, but it was just what you would expect from this type of movie. The action is the important part of this movie, whereas the dialogue is just something that lets you know why the next scene is more fighting. As for storytelling, there isn’t much of that either. Lena Heady, who reprises her role as Queen Gorgo from the first 300 movie, narrates just about the first third of the movie to get you going. The rest is pretty much self-explanatory. Again, much like the acting, the over the top action takes precedent over the storytelling.

Overall, if you’re in middle school, into cosplay, or really into the first 300 movie, you’re going to love this second installment – and I recommend you go see it in theaters in IMAX 3D (the way we were able to last night). If you’re a regular ol’ person who just wants to be entertained and has realistic expectations for this movie, wait for it to come out on Redbox or HBO. But if you’re like the guy who sat next to me last night and was just in utter disbelief about the unrealism of this movie, know that nobody likes you and next time take your date out to a nice restaurant and not to a free screening.

300: Rise of an Empire comes out in theaters on Friday, March 7.

Kibitzers rating – 2.5/5


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