Cinematic Releases: 300 - Rise Of An Empire

300: Rise Of An Empire is a decent Zack Snyder tribute, computer generated blood and all. 

"Welcome to Nippledome!"
It's extremely typical for a director to take over a franchise such as 300 with the high hopes of copping the original feel and tonality of the original. 

In the case of Rise Of An Empire, it feels forced, a bit contrived, and is just way too apparent in its heavy handed effects laden approach. This sequel lacks the heart of the original and tries to make up for it by trying to reproduce the exact same gradient tones and slow motion style from the 2006 release which captured audiences with Snyder's flair for visually appealing film making. With Rise Of An Empire it feels dated and lacks any and all originality. Yet, all is not lost. 

Eva Green is dead on with her performance as the villainous sister of Xerxes. In fact, her performance here outshines all the effects work, every perfectly choreographed sword battle, and the totally non-charismatic lead, Sullivan Stapleton. If I had to base my judgement on Eva's performance alone, I'd say see the movie just to watch her chew scenes and spit them out like dead Greek soldiers. She is undoubtedly the most worthwhile part of Rise Of An Empire. 

"Dude. Stop. I'm doing my best
Gerard Butler here!"
Where the film fails in it's overall delivery, it does score one other major highlight. It's not so much a sequel as it is a multi-tiered story that intertwines perfectly with the original 300. Both films (at least for a little while) are taking place during the same time frame. The way they handled this was most impressive and never becomes confusing in the least. Aside from Xerxes, this style of story telling gives audiences a couple other role reprisals from Lena Headey and David Wenham (under heavy anti-aging makeup). 

To strongly suggest this movie would be a disservice. It's a fair sequel that does its best to cop the feel and tone of 300, but feels a little too "been there done that" much of the time. The battle scenes aren't as epic and the characters don't seem as fleshed out as the heroes of Snyder's film. But, it's still a worthwhile tribute to the original that scores points for overtly bloody carnage, a great sex scene, and tons upon tons of destruction. 

-Chris George