300: Rise of an Empire is like the classic “pizza scenario”. For those of you who are unaware of the “pizza scenario”, it is that moment when you order a pizza, and thoroughly enjoy it on it’s first night. You crave more the next day, and anticipate leftovers; however, you leave it in your fridge to pursue new eating opportunities. Before you know it, it has been five days, and you aren’t sure if perhaps you waited too long to have some more of what you once craved. So, you open your fridge, look at the five day old pizza, and tell yourself, “It still looks like pizza; maybe it’s still good?” Joyous news my friends, that pizza- while not fresh, and as satisfying as it was upon arrival- is still good, and will not give you diarrhea later.
300 is like pizza; even when it’s bad…it’s still pretty good.
300: Rise of an Empire is the follow-up/rewind/behind the curtain installment to the hit 2007 blockbuster, 300.
I state all of these definitions simply because I can’t quite tell you what this movie is, or what it is trying to accomplish.
The story is extremely weak, with several new characters that -while at times show potential- do not possess the memorable features which made us fall in love with Leonidas and his men in the original film.
With all that being said, I can say that I really liked Rise of an Empire!
What worked with this film was actually the one thing that bothers me most about films like this; and that is when they bring back original characters just for the sake of bringing back original characters. It was truly a breath of fresh air to see familiar faces like Lena Headey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro, and even Gerard Butler at one point.
Because the plot falls short, we ride on the emotions of the characters we already know to help us better understand the ongoing war between the Persians and the rest of Greece.
The film- while bringing back many familiar faces- revolves around Athens war hero Themistokles (who really is a nod to one of the great underrated heroes of cinematic history Achilles from 2004’s Troy.) The story is mainly centered around his conquest to bring down the Persian army where many Greeks consider to be Themistokles home territory…the sea.
During all of this, we are constantly reminded what is happening with King Leonidas and his army of 300, the aftermath involving Queen Gorgo (and her duties as queen of Sparta once her husband is killed), and finally…the emergence, rise, and legacy of the God King Xerxes.
What a prick…
Xerxes is easily the biggest pussy in Greece. I mean, this guy parades around in his ridiculous gold piercings (and his gold panties), acting like the worlds biggest hot-shot…all because he took an exotic gold bath somewhere in the desert. Actually, it sort of bothered me that the film didn’t touch on the Persians reaction to Leonidas throwing the spear at him, causing him to bleed. I mean, we see the scar and stitched mouth from the incident…WHY DOES NOBODY STAND UP AND CALL THIS MOFO OUT? Doesn’t the whole belief of the “God-King” revolve around the idea that God’s can’t bleed?
So, if Xerxes is once again hiding from the battlefield, than who is leading his army of Persians?
The answer to that question is Artemisia, a female bad-ass who shares with Xerxes one common belief…all of Greece must burn!
While proving to be a great villain, Artemisia also provides the films greatest line! SPOILER ALERT:“You fight harder than you fuck…”
One major thing that the film lacks from the original is it’s great lines; ones that will be quoted for years. There is no “This is Sparta!” Or, “Tonight, we dine in Hell!” What we are left with are simple subplots, memorable recurring characters, and sea battles so fun that you forget how stupid the blood looks.
(For real though, I understand that the visual style of the film doesn’t call for realistic blood; however, it straight up looks like Bill Cosby’s red jello!)
Overall, this is a film that I would not mind seeing again in the theaters. If you can manage to shut off your brain, and not look for an equal to 300 (or a sequel/prequel for that matter), than you too can have a fun time with Rise of an Empire!
p.s- I saw a trailer for Edge of Tomorrow before this film, and whoa! Emily Blunt looks so hot!
-Jimmy Kenneth Presley