300: Rise of an Empire. Have you ever walked out of a movie theatre feeling as though you could be the character you just saw on screen? Well it’s happened to me, watching 300 Rise of an Empire. As soon as this movie finished I was ready to sign up for stage fighting courses in combat or sword skills.
The movie starts with Queen Gorgo narrating in the present, taking us back to where the first film 300 finished. The connection between the first film and this one is achieved quite brilliantly. We follow the journey of Themistocles a Athenian general (played by Australian Sullivan Stapleton) and the way in which his story intertwines with the first film, the battle fought by Spartas King, Leonidas and his 300 men. The links between the two films are well done, as well as the back story of characters such as Xerxes and Artemisia.
Artemisia portrayed by Eva Green is the general for the Persian army. I found myself being drawn in by her character, Greens performance was by far a standout. The plight of her character defined the reasoning behind her need and want for vengeance against the Greeks. Her voice, attitude and dominance within the film creates a character that both men and women will love. Her skills in fight scenes were extraordinary, the costuming may attribute to this. Wearing all black with hints of gold at certain times, this fit in well with not only the army she led but the look and feel of the film.
The link back to this way of styling (not only in costume but the overall design aspects of the movie) can be seen in some of the imagery especially when drawing a comparison to the graphic novel the film is based on. The use of black and white tones really resonated with the previous film as well as the overall feel of the movie. I also really loved the use of slow motion within certain scenes, such as the fight scenes as well as the scenes on the water. The music also complimented this well, with some songs reflecting the moment, as well as the culture.
The message of vengeance and freedom were the primary thoughts throughout the film and the strategies designed by Themistocles displayed a sort of cunning that I couldn’t help but think was missing from the warriors in the first film (it actually had me thinking of Troy). Even Themistocles reflected on this when he said that the Spartans were going ahead with their battle, as it was an offer they could not refuse, a beautiful death.
There were other elements within the film I loved such as the thunder sequences featured throughout. It was almost a character in itself. The use of waves crashing and colour, along with lighting effects, really gave it that extra edge. This was highlighted when a wave was used to conceal the incoming fleet of Persian warriors. Close-ups also featured heavily, the ones I remember clearly were seen at the beginning and the ending. You expect it to close the movie, it makes sense, and it really worked well.
Australians who also feature in the film include Callan Mulvey who portrayed Scyllias as well as David Wenham reprising his role as Dilios. From what I could tell there will probably be a third film to follow, and to be completely honest I can’t wait to see it!