Eva Green (Left) and Sullivan Stapleton in “300:Rise of An Empire”
It has been twelve years since Director Zack Snyder has wowed everyone with his blue screened (yes, 300 was shot on film) and visually stunning retelling of the battle of Thermopylae. It was only a matter of time before a follow up was due out. Because, anyone who has studied Greek history the Persians didn’t stop there invasion of Greece after the mighty king Leonidas showed them what 300 Spartans were capable of. They continued to push on and didn’t stop until the battle of Plataea were they were eventually defeated.
Rise of An Empire is a fun and entertaining film in that it does all of the thinking for you and allows to sit back and watch some gratuitous violence. It does however; take place before, during, and after the events of Thermopylae. Persian King Xerxes and new character Artemisia (Eva Green) are given origins that allow an audience to better understand their motives. While Athenian General Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) is completely established as the hero during the battle of marathon. While, still building to the Battle of Atemisium, in which this film spends most of its time.
Stock Footage of Leonidas (Gerard Butler) is seen briefly before he makes his triumphant stand and while Themistocles is trying to unite Greece in a battle they can’t afford any losses in. Other 300 characters like Dillios (David Wenham) appear while Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) narrates the film. Rise of An Empire could almost stand on its own two feet, but it is pertinent that an audience should know that Thermopylae and Artemisium took place simultaneously rather than one after the other. Writers Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad do a good job of answering questions left by the previous 300 film, but ultimately leave the door open for another installment as well.
300: Rise of An Empire is something that I wouldn’t run out and see, but it does its best to pay its homage to Greek history, as we know it. Which does give its creators some credit, otherwise this would a stellar rental. Unless you’re a die-hard fan I’d wait the three months that it will take for this film to show up on Blu-Ray and DVD.