300 Rise of an Empire – Film Review
I have just now watched Part 2 of 300 titled Rise of an Empire and I am writing this review on my journey back from the theatre. I usually don’t operate so fast especially not for movie reviews as I prefer to take my own sweet time to watch a movie and then let the immediate effects dissipate a bit before I start writing a review about it. But for once I feel justified in writing this review as soon as I can for two reasons- first, I was lucky enough to watch this movie first day first show on its global release and so I am racing against time to get my review out there before others and secondly this movie is worth writing a fast review for. It is my kind of movie and I totally enjoyed the experience of watching it especially as going to this movie was a spur of the moment decision made this afternoon by a friend and we got tickets just ten minutes prior to the start of the film
Let me get the basic facts out first- there is no story, no backstory, no flashback, no hero, no heroine and no romance in this movie. So what else is there you ask? Action. Unbelievable action scenes running continuously for a little over two hours is what you get for your tickets price. The story runs in a parallel timeline to the first part – 300 – where King Leonidas and his Spartans defend the Hot Gates from the Persian King Xerxes and die for it. This one tells the story of yet another Greek city state the Athenians who fight a sea war to prevent the Persian fleet from landing on the Grecian mainland and invading Athens. By the end of the movie the Athenians are defeated and killed almost to a man and Athens is burned to the ground by King Xerxes and his Persian army.
In the beginning of the movie the Athenian leader Themistocles (or something like that) goes around all the independent Greek city states begging for Greek unity to fight the invading Persians. He is snubbed everywhere and especially in Sparta by Gorgo, Queen of King Leonidas (part 1) who says the Spartan warriors wont fight beside the Athenian Pacifists as they know nothing about war while the Spartans are all warriors from cradle. So the Athenians who face a sea borne invasion of the Persians go out to fight them alone. The Athenians are all farmers, artists, poets and as unwarlike as they can be (in contrast to the Spartans of the first part) and they choose to fight the Persians on the sea before they land an army on Grecian soil.
The movie is one long sea battle after another continuously. The naval warfare is richly picturised with plenty of breathtaking visuals (hats off to CGI) and grand strategies. It’s a sight to watch a 1000 ship armada being fought to a standstill by a handful of Athenian triremes. The victory of the Athenian fleet is solely due to the intelligent tactics deployed by their Admiral Themistocles. In contrast the Persian fleet is under Admiral Artemisia (Eva Green) who, hold your breath, is a Greek lady who was raped sold as a slave and whose whole family was slaughtered by fellow Greeks leading her to swear vengeance on all Greece and goes over to the Persians and leads their navy for King Xerxes.
In a series of naval battles including one where Themistocles rides a horse over a ships which have dashed against each other the Athenians manage to destroy fleet after fleet of the Persians till King Xerxes even questions his Admiral’s battle sense and loyalty to the Persian cause. Admiral Artemisia is so enraged by the Athenian tactics of fighting and running away that she chooses to chase the remaining four Greek warships to the narrow bay of Samara. Here the Athenians fight back with no hope of survival and they are destroyed one by one till the last person standing alive is Themistocles himself facing Artemisia. And then in a final twist the vengeful Spartans who have just leaned of the death of King Leonidas by King Xerxes army in Thermopylae bring their whole fleet and attack the rear of the Persian fleet destroying it in a perfect ambush. The movie ends with Themistocles along with Queen Gorgo the widow of King Leonidas (remember part 1?) along with the Spartan army chasing after the remaining Persians which leads one to believe that a part 3 is definitely in the future.
The outstanding performance of the movie is by Eva Green of James Bond fame who plays a chilling murderess who leads the Persian navy. The best dialogue belongs to her too when she says “you fight harder than you fuck” to Themistocles who does both by the way. 300- Rise of an empire is a movie worth watching for the visual spectacle alone. The naval battles will remain long in memory for their sheer magnificence. And it’s a movie to be watched only on the big screen in 3-D just to feel the blood spraying all over your face every two minutes.
My Verdict – Go watch as soon as possible.