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300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

SYNOPSIS:
Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) leads the charge against invading Persian forces ruled by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and led by Artemisia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Sticking to the premise of the original, in which uniting the various Greek cities against the invading Persians was the dramatic glue, Rise of an Empire elaborates this theme. IN admirable sequel fashion, the events in this film follow logically from the original 300 (2006). The signature style of Frank Miller's graphic novel as realised by Zack Snyder in 300 is magnified now, with this film shot in 3D ... seems like 300D, actually. Slo mo sections of scenes where blood flows and sprays as deaths fill the screen are almost comforting with their familiarity.

Such tools of cinema are used in abundance, with the camera taking us into a brooding world of menace and danger, where courage and revenge are blood brothers, pride and loyalty the currency and survival is always at risk.

The film's visual and technical achievements are awesome, from the epic seascapes of naval battle to the tight close ups of personal drama - not to mention a raunchy sex scene. Bravura ideas befitting a graphic novel (that is, not to be taken as of the real world) add to the thrills and blood spills, while some of the costuming is wonderfully outrageous. I especially like the beaded wretch of the hunchback, whose chains of jewellery match the finery decorating young Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) to within a pearl of his life.

With all this eye-filling stimulation, we hardly notice the purple prose of the narration or the sometimes clunky dialogue as the writers try to retro fit noble intent into tired period-evoking phrases. Nor do we care that Eva Green's Artemesia is an overstatement, because she is a hissable villainess.

Gory for the greater glory of the genre, 300: Rise of an Empire delivers what its predecessor promised, with all the skills of the filmmakers focused on gripping our senses and exciting them.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (MA15+)
(US, 2014)

CAST: Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green, Lena Heady, Jack O'Connell, David Wenham,

PRODUCER: Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann, Gianni Nunnari, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Thomas Tull

DIRECTOR: Noam Murro

SCRIPT: Zack Snyder Kurt Johnstad (graphic novel, Xerxes, by Frank Miller)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Simon Duggan

EDITOR: David Brenner, Wyatt Smith

MUSIC: Junkie XL

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patrick Tatopoulos

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 6, 2014







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