300: Rise of an Empire – Review (English)

– @darthvarma

I cannot honestly say I’m disappointed with 300: Rise of an Empire. I had very low expectations to start with, and those expectations were fully met.

300: Rise of an Empire is an utter bore of a film, and the one point of possible interest- seeing Eva Green topless in IMAX 3D- did not happen thanks to the Censor Board.

The film follows an almost parallel path to the events of the 2007 hit 300 and also reveals a bit about the history of the main antagonist of 300, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) and a few of the characters from 300 also make an appearance, and we are introduced two new characters around whom the story revolves – the Athenian general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and Artemisia (Eva Green), the Greek hating Greek outcast who is also the commander of Xerxes’ forces, and a favourite of the late emperor, Darius.

I found 300 eminently enjoyable despite its many faults simply because although it’s an unabashed testosterone trip with six-packs, there was a cavalier spirit to the whole movie.

300: Rise of an empire utterly fails to get any sort of thing going for it, starting with its lead actor. Movies like these, to a large extent, also depend on its stars to carry it, and Stapleton fails to do so. It does not help that inevitable comparisons will be made with Gerard Butler’s Leonidas, but that is exactly what he’s signed up for. Themistocles failed to inspire any awe in me throughout, and that for me, was a big problem.

Eva Green does a commendable job as the scheming, military genius Artemisia, and does come into her own in some scenes, but even her character is largely uninteresting, despite the possibilities her back story seems to suggest.

The action scenes also disappointed. A bit too similar to its predecessor without the same oomph! factor.

I can stand the manipulation they do to historical facts- I’m not kidding myself that this is anything less than two hours of escapism- but I’d have enjoyed the film more if they had populated it with more interesting characters. There’s a lot of blood and gore like in the first film, but I prefer aesthetics of the senseless killing in 300 to the senseless killing in Rise of an empire. Somehow, this one seems a bit overcooked – too many close ups of not too realistic blood, if you ask me.

At some point towards the end of the film, I dozed off briefly, only to find myself at the climactic face-off between Artemisia and Themistocles. I forced myself to stay awake through the remaining ten minutes, thereby ruining a perfectly good nap I had settled into- a folly for which I will atone by spending the rest the month whacking myself on the head more times than is healthy.