After its victory over Leonidas' 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes marches towards the major Greek city-states. The Democratic city of Athens, first on the path of Xerxes' army, bases its strength on its fleet, led by admiral Themistocles. Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops. But Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land.Written by
Admiral Artemisia's street-urchin back-story is completely fictional. She was born with a proverbial silver spoon in her mouth to the royal family of Halicarnassus in what is now Turkey, and inherited great wealth and power. See more »
If you enjoyed the original "300" directed by Zack Snyder in 2006 (and I did), then you will delight in "Rise Of An Empire" which Snyder helped to write and produce - while leaving direction to first-timer Noam Murro - coming along eight years later. Again the focus is on the clash between the Persians and the Greeks in 480 BC, but this time the Battle of Thermopylae is a footnote as the action both precedes and succeeds that conflict, culminating in the sea battle at Salamis which has been described as one of the most significant battles in human history.
Of course, great liberties are taken with historical detail, the exposition of the narrative is a bit plodding, and much of the dialogue is frankly risible, so most film critics are not going to admire this work, but audiences will thrill to the return of so much of what make the first "300" so distinctive and such fun: the muscular bodies, the slashing swords, the spurting blood, all drawn from a palette of subdued colours and underlined by the slow motion-fast forward shots. Although much of the action is set at sea, the whole movie was shot at the indoor green-screen sound stages of in Bulgaria. and the special effects look good in 3D.
British actress Lena Headey is back as Queen Gorgo (having meanwhile starred in television's "Games Of Thrones") and the Brazilian Rodrigo Santoro reprises the role of bejewelled Xerxes. This time, the hero is Athenian politician and general Themistocles played by the Australian Sullivan Stapleton who does not have quite the presence of Gerard Butler but does well enough.
The star of the movie though is Eva Green as kohl-eyed, sword-Wheeling Artemisia, the Greek queen who sided with Xerxes and was the only female commander at Salamis. I've had a bit of a thing for Green since seeing her in "Kingdom Of Heaven" in 2005. This French actress with the cut-glass English accent has the most stunning eyes and these are not the only parts of her on display in a brutal encounter with Themistocles. Sad that she won't be around for the likely sequel (but I'll be there).
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