The Movie: 7/10
History is complicated. I’m glad I have Hollywood movies to explain it all to me with truth and accuracy. What? What do you mean movies aren’t historically accurate? But…but..I thought….:) The tales and stories about the history of the Greek Islands is not something I have ever studied. It is the nature of each country’s education that they don’t really focus on the rest of the world too much, just enough. So, to me the ancient Grecian people are statues and crumbling buildings. In reality they were just people living their lives with the same kind of political, religious, economic issues we have today. There was the whole being conquered thing going on all over the world, one country creates an empire and decides to annex everyone in their path. This is what I get from 300: Rise of an Empire. I feel like I got that spark of understanding, even if it’s through the filter of a very fictionalized version of the whole thing. The ah ha moments come when they present the God King Xerxes who has decided to hammer his way across that part of the known world, pillaging and controlling everyone in his path because he was greedy and power-hungry. I don’t know the truth behind it all, but I can imagine that’s how it was because in our modern world we still have megalomaniacs who want to take over whole parts of the planet, if not the whole kit and caboodle. So, even though it’s actually a graphic novel come to life it grounds me enough in human history to see it in a different way.
This part of the story of when the Persian empire was rampaging across the Middle East we get the tales of our beloved group of 300 Spartans alongside an army of Athenians battling the same foe, Xerxes and his puppet mistress Artemisia. She is a force to be reckoned with to be sure. A damaged little girl who is tortured, raped, enslaved by the Grecian army and rescued by a Persian warrior, she’s bitter and set on revenge. To be sure, this is not a super complex story. Revenge, world domination, sexual interlude, battles, and mysticism all tossed in to dress it up does make it compelling even when the bones of the whole thing are thinly grown around some truths.
The look of the movie is similar but just different enough from 300 to be distinctive and as visually interesting. I can do without the super darkness of a lot of the scenes, but my husband (Ascully) assures me that it’s supposed to be that way for directorial reasons. Fair enough, but it’s too dark a lot of the time and I think they don’t need to hide behind the foggy effects and dimness. It looks pretty amazing to see ships ramming each other and soldiers running from deck to deck to fight.
I would watch the 300 movies again in a year or so. It’s a good story overall, excellently strong characters who make it epic and match my vision of the ancient world. If nothing else 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire entertain me for a bit and then got me to look up some actual world history, not bad for a Saturday afternoon flick.
- Behind The Scenes: The 300 Effect – A 30 minute look behind the scenes of 300 Rise of an empire. This is split into four smaller featurettes that cover “3 Days In Hell”, “Brutal Artistry”, “A New Breed Of Hero”, and “Taking The Battle To Sea”.
- Real Leaders & Legends – A very cool 23 minute look at the real history behind the movie. Several historians compare the battles in the movie to the real life events. Obviously the movie is a very loose interpretation of what happened and these scholars tell you what really happened scene by scene.
- Women Warriors – This time around the sausage fest that was 300 takes on a feminine edge. Actresses Lena Headley and Eva Green talk about the roles they were born to play.
- Savage Warships – A lot of the movie focuses on the Greek Navy and the battles on the high seas. Here we take a look at the technology that brought that to life in 300.
- Becoming A Warrior – A 5 minute look at the cast members getting buff for the movie.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
I would have this cover as a poster, believe it or not. There is something about it that captures the whole 300 vibe, both movies. The menu is OK, I don’t really care about menus anymore, but if one comes along that catches my fancy I’ll let you know.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Rise Of An Empire’s 1080P/AVC encode is top-notch from start to finish, gone are the crushed blacks and overblown whites of the original and they are replaced with a muted blue brighter looking image. The movie is highly stylized just like 300 so most of the image looks unnatural and color corrected but everything here is stunning to behold. From the sea battles to the amazing looking CGI blood soaked hand to hand combat you are in for a couple of hours of visual goodness.
Warner also pulled out all the stops with a DTS-HD 7.1 track that envelopes the listener at all times. if I had a complaint to make the poorly looped audio sometimes gets lost behind Junkie XL’s pounding score. LFE and surround activity are literally constant and even the very few quiet moments come across clean and clear. 300 Rise Of An Empire is a visual and aural treat spending a couple of hours in its company will really raise your spirits.
Overall Score 7/10