Thanks to IMAX Melbourne, I was invited to the Melbourne premiere of “300: Rise of an Empire”. Eight years after the original film was released, a new film of the now newly formed film series has emerged to follow up “300”. But it’s not really a prequel, nor is it a sequel. “300: Rise of an Empire” is actually a story that rides alongside the original film, taking place before, during and after the events of “300”.
For someone who hasn’t seen the original, I don’t doubt that this film would be easy to follow. However, because I did a refresher and watched “300” prior to watching “300: Rise of an Empire”, I believe I enjoyed this movie more because I could identify the subtle tributes in reference to the original movie.
I’ll be honest, there isn’t really much of a plot. But for the little plot that the film does have, Greek general Themistokles, played by Sullivan Stapleton leads the Athenian soldiers to battle against the Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, played by Rodrigo Santoro, with Artemisia, a vengeful commander of the Persian navy fleet played by Eva Green at his side.
Whilst the cinematography, graphics, costumes and props are great, what “300: Rise of an Empire” lacks is character development and spirit; two things defiantly evident in the first film which made us love “300” in the first place. Throughout the entirety film, there is an emptiness that only Gerard Butler‘s King Leonidas could fill. It was great to be reunited with brave soldier and storyteller, Dilios played by David Wenham and Queen Gorgo played by Lena Headey, but these characters don’t stay on screen for long, as this film is not about the Spartans, but about the Athenians. And to be frank, it just didn’t feel the same. This film lacked the ingredients which made it’s predecessor a phenomenon.
If you want a film that’s historically accurate, I really don’t suggest this film as they are based on the Frank Miller graphic novels. The accents are all over the place, and some things don’t even really happen. But that’s what’s so great about it. It’s fiction. And I don’t think it is meant to be taken seriously.
You could either see the funny side of it; almost naked caped men all fighting alongside each other on boats… or you could enjoy the action scenes for what they are, because there is blood, and lots of it. Regardless of your mood and expectations, I believe if given a chance one would find “300: Rise of an Empire” to be quite an entertaining film either either 3D or 2D. I believe, the bigger the screen, the better. I personally enjoyed it and would definitely recommend a viewing over popcorn.