Saw the new 300 movie today (on IMAX in 3D, no less), in all its bloody gory (really, lots and lots of blood, probably more than the first movie). 300:Rise of an Empire tells the story of Themistokles, Athenian admiral of the Greek fleet, taking place roughly at the same time Leonidas fought the Persians at the Hellas Gates. There’s a bit more background this time, explaining why Xerxes was so keen on wiping out the Greeks (though this movie takes plenty of liberties with historical accuracy, much as the first one did). Still, plentiful slow-motion battles replete with decapitations, amputations, disembowelments and general blood-letting. If you enjoyed the slo-mo battles of the first movie (or the Spartacus series on Starz), there’s plenty more where that came from.
Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), while compelling, doesn’t really carry the movie in the way Gerard Butler did as Spartan king Leonidas. Actually, Eva Green, as the Persian admiral Artemisia, really steals the show and probably saves the movie. She attacks the role with gusto and you can tell she probably had a lot of fun playing the Greek-born villainess; you almost want her to win in the end. Lena Heady returns as Queen Gorga, Leonidas’ wife, and while she didn’t get much screen time, she does get to kick a little ass towards the end of the movie.
I have to say seeing 300:Rise in 3D didn’t really do much for me, but then I’m not really a fan of 3D movies in the first place. But watching it on the big IMAX screen was very cool, though I’m not sure it’s worth the $11 ticket price (plus another $3 for 3D 😦 ). Still, Guardians of the Galaxy should really shine on that big screen (just hope it’s not in 3D, so I can save a few bucks).
So, overall, I enjoyed the film, though maybe not as much as the first one. The slo-mo battle thing, while okay, isn’t as fresh a concept as it was with the first movie. But there were plenty of cool battles, the CGI was over the top (in a mostly enjoyable way) and Eva Green was a joy to watch as the villainous Artemisia. If you enjoyed the first move, you’ll probably enjoy this sequel as well. Cheers.