300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE- A COMPELLING WORK OF ART
By: Bliss Ndapasowa
Cruel and Unusual Films have again proved their ability to portray ancient Greek history on the big screen earlier this March.
Characterised by intensely planned battle scenes, vengeance is the order of the day. As a follow up to the movie 300 from 2007 starring Gerard Butler, Zack Snyder’s 300: Rise of an Empire is an entertainment filler based on Frank Miller’s latest comic novel “Xerxes.
Unlike most sequels, where the story unfolds from the ending of another, producer Mark Canton brings a fresh approach by telling the events that occurred prior to the perishing of the Spartans in 300, and the aftermath; something to be expected from the hand behind 19 films including Piranha 3D.
The movie plays out as a narration by Queen Gorgo of Sparta (Lena Headey), wife of King Leonidas who died in 2007’s 300. In the first scene she is seen ready for war with her army as they battle alongside allied Greeks in a bid to outnumber the Persians.
She outlines the motive of the oncoming fight by telling her men about the Battle of Marathon and how her husband died- thus the movie kicks off.
With brutal fighting as the driving concept, Wyatt Smith and David Brenner understood this and tightly edited the movie in ways that maintained the theme and pace. Use of slow motion ultra-violence and 3D effects as battles unfold give hightened impact, ensuring the movie does not fall short of being categorised as action packed.
Themistocles of Athens, (Sullivan Stapleton), goes for Persian King Darius’ heart using his arrow at the Battle of Marathon in the presence of his son Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and naval commander and warrior protégé
Artemisia (Eva Green). On his death bed, the king advises his son not to repeat his mistakes and avenge the Greeks- “Only the Gods can defeat them”, he said.
Artemisia, (Casino Royale star Eva Green), plays a central role in the plot as her hatred towards Greeks drives her desire for vengeance.
Women are afforded a fair share of screen-time, from Artemesiaia to Queen Gorgo as they are portrayed as powerful individuals capable of commanding authority and upholding leadership as well.
The movie wraps up in a battle led. by Themistocles himself and Queen Gorgo fighting side by side, avenging their losses.
Director Noam Murro’s 2014 300: Rise of an Empire might possess a predictable plot but nevertheless serves as a gripping addition to the Franchise.
The movie’s production team comprised film making gurus including 64-year-old Mark Canton who has been in the industry since 1980. Dedicated team members also contributed to the brilliance as director, Noam Murro who was due to direct ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ left the production for this particular film.