300: Rise of an Empire
Starring Eva Green, Sullivan Stapleton, Lena Heady; Directed by Noam Murro; Written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad
I liked the first 300. I liked the visual style, I liked the “campfire tale” aspect of the storytelling, the violent action was entertaining. But I was always wary of a sequel. It didn’t really warrant one, and director Zack Snyder’s unique sense of visualization doesn’t lend itself to duplication. Do I really care what else may have been going on at the same time, what other Greek armies were doing as the Persians were attacking? Turns out no.
There’s a lot of steely glares between Themistocles (Stapleton) and Artemisia (Green), between Themistocles and Queen Gorgo (Heady), between… Themistocles and Random Athenian Soldier #3. And these are in place of exciting action sequences. What action sequences and fight scenes there are, are too quick to really get us into it, even at the trademarked “Slowed Down/Sped Up” pace.
Director Noam Murro’s only cinematic credit was indie comedy Smart People from 2008, and he didn’t handle the transition to big budget action spectacle too well. It felt like someone trying to be Zack Snyder, than trying to do his own thing with an existing property. Granted Snyder’s stock has significantly risen now that he has Superman under his belt, so he wouldn’t be available to come back to helm this new entry into the 300 franchise.
That just compounded the fact that it felt forced. The graphic novel this is supposed to be based upon isn’t even out yet, as Frank Miller is still working on his followup to 300, Xerxes. I’m having a tough time finding a rational reason this film was produced, other than as a money grab, obviously.
The only aspect that kept my interest was my fascination with Eva Green. She’s a great actress and can usually turn a tolerable performance from a sub-par script, which she kinda does. But with so much working against her, it’s hard to get behind her.
I can’t think of any reason to watch this flick, maybe if you’re bored and there’s nothing else on TV at the time, but I left the theatre feeling like my time and money had been wasted.