Jadia at the Movies – “300: Rise of an Empire”

Jadia Smith, Staff Writer

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Alright.  You guys remember everyone going crazy when the fictionalized Spartan film “300” was released in 2007, right? I remember a lot of guys in my high school going around yelling, “THIS IS SPARTA” quite a bit!  Anyway, March 7th saw the release of the follow-up, “300: Rise of an Empire.”

In case you didn’t already know, I’m going to give you a little bit of the back story for the two films just for fun. The original “300” film was based on a limited comic book series from 1998 written by Frank Miller. Legendary Pictures announced that Miller was writing a follow-up graphic novel, “Xerxes,” which is yet to be released.  Zak Snyder, co-screenwriter and director of “300,” expressed an interest in directing the adaptation of the new follow-up.  Instead of doing so, Snyder chose to direct “Man of Steel” and only produce “300: Rise of an Empire.”

I’m a sucker for movie facts, but with that out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the film. “300: Rise of an Empire” is not a sequel as it was first rumored to be, but it is actually a retelling of what happened before, during and after events in “300” from a different point of view.  Fun, right? I thought so.

As first seen in “300,” King Xerxes, in all his golden glory, was a fierce leader.  Rodrigo Santoro reprises his role as Xerxes in this film which shows how Xerxes came to be.  After witnessing his father’s death, Xerxes travels to a cave, bathes in an “otherworldly” liquid and emerges as the God-King.  He then returns to Persia and declares war on the Greeks.

“300: Rise of an Empire” introduces Artemesia, Xerxes’ naval commander.  Played by Eva Green, Artemesia is a character I both hated and loved for her “take no bull” attitude. Artemesia meets her match in Themistocles who is played by the dreamy Sullivan Stapleton. Themistocles is the general of the Athenian army.  The ensuing Battle of Salamis between the Persians and Greeks is an epic one and takes place in the Aegean Sea.

It’s difficult to try and explain the follow-up without giving away the movie’s plot or that of the first “300,” in case you haven’t seen it. “300: Rise of an Empire” is interesting because of the fact that it shows events that took place during “300”— events that are crucial to the timeline that couldn’t be shown in the first film.

Overall, “300: Rise of an Empire” was good. I’m not going to say it was great because I liked the first “300” better, but it was still enjoyable to watch. The cast was good, effects were great, and there was even a fairly graphic sex scene.  To top that off, producer Mark Canton has said he hopes to release a sequel soon.  On my Most Awesome Rating Scale, “300: Rise of an Empire” deserves a seven out of 10.

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Jadia at the Movies – “300: Rise of an Empire”