300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JUNE 27, 2014

Eva Green is a sexpot. Taking on the role of the villain Artemisia in the somewhat sequel to “300” (more of a side-quel as the timelines run parallel), “300: Rise Of An Empire” proves that Eva has the sinister vivacity that makes her a highlight under the right circumstances. Without her, the film would have been extremely lacking, so kudos to the casting director, allowing Eva to carry the film, helping to bring out memorable performances in Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles and Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes. Apart from one steamy, erotic tumble with Stapleton, for the most part, Eva commands the role simply with her domineering presence and impeccable delivery. But take her out of the limelight and you are left with a patchwork quilt of Greek mythology ideas that just barely get the filmmaker’s vision across.

The film opens as a prequel, telling how King Xerxes became the God of Persia at the hands of Themistocles before bringing the fight to Sparta’s King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his 300 soldiers in the first film. Themistocles becomes the guiding force of the Greek’s navy, taking the fight to Xerxes’ right-hand woman, the aforementioned Artemisia, at sea, despite their obvious disadvantage in being outnumbered. Setting itself apart from its predecessor by being at sea, the film uses the stylings of the first Frank Miller adaptation but adds some of its flairs. Where the first film’s production design was mostly oranges and reds, with the ocean theme, the design leans more on aquatic colors like blues and greens. The reds are still seen with each swing of a blade or shot of an arrow, producing ridiculous crimson sprays of blood as if a paintbrush loaded with red paint was whipped across a canvas. Despite its reliance on over-the-top, stylized violence, “300: Rise Of An Empire” is just different enough to remain memorable and launches Eva Green that much further into the spotlight.

RELEASE DATE
March 7, 2014

DIRECTOR
Noam Murro

WRITTEN BY
Zack Snyder
Kurt Johnstad

BASED ON
“Xerxes”
by Frank Miller

STUDIO
Warner Bros. Pictures

R
(for strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language)

ACTION
DRAMA

102 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Simon Duggan

COMPOSER
Junkie XL

EDITOR
Wyatt Smith
David Brenner

CAST
Sullivan Stapleton
Eva Green
Lena Headey
Hans Matheson
David Wenham
Rodrigo Santoro
Jack O’Connell
Callan Mulvey

PRODUCED BY
Gianni Nunnari
Mark Canton
Zack Snyder
Deborah Snyder
Bernie Goldmann

BUDGET
$110 million

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