Audiences were introduced to Zach Snyder’s unique slow motion camera work in 2007, when he made ‘300.’ Snyder loves to enhance battle scenes by slowing things down during the most brutal moments, at times, literally splashing the camera lens with blood. This camera work was all the rage in 2007, but now it feels overdone and perhaps not enough for his sequel, ‘300: Rise of an Empire’ to engage audiences as much as the first film did. Snyder set the bar high and audiences expect to be blown away by his camera work and use of CGI but they are also looking for more. Audiences look beyond the special effects; therefore any character or plot weaknesses are amplified.
With that said, ‘Rise of an Empire’ is still good. Fans of the original film will be happy to see the lovely Lena Headey (currently known for her role in “Game of Thrones”) as Queen Gorgo and Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes. New characters include Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and Artemisia (Eva Green).
The first ten to fifteen minutes of the film is more of a documentary than a film. Lena Headey’s sultry voice explains the impending war and how it came to be (it’s all important information, so make sure to pay attention!) In a nutshell, the Greeks, under the leadership of Themistocles and the Persians, under Xerxes and the evil hand of his naval ambassador Artemisia, are preparing to battle it out. Years ago during another battle, Themistocles killed King Darius, Xerxes’ father and Artemisia’s mentor/guardian. So, vengeance is on the menu for Artemisia, undoubtedly the most memorable character of the film. Eva Green (pictured above) knocks this performance out of the ballpark. She’s powerful, manipulative and unpredictable. She’s everything you want from a Persian villain and she holds ‘300’ up.
Like its predecessor, this film is violent and with Snyder’s graphic novel like camera work, the battles are all the more vicious. This film is not one for young eyes.
If you’re a fan of watching movies in 3-D, this is definitely one you’ll want to pay the extra bucks for to see in 3-D.