#REVIEW: “300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
The story of Themystokles and his Athenian warships is as old as that of Leonides and his Royal Guard. Both fought valiantly against the Persians whilst they still ruled atop their Ziggurats. However, Themystokles differed from Leonidas in one regard, he wasn’t a King. Themystokles was an poor Man turned Politician, the American Dream personified over two-thousand years before it was as commercialized as candy. Themystokles was and is a legend in his own right, and his is the Story told in 300: Rise of an Empire.
Directed by relative Newcomer Noam Murro, the Movie is chronologically concurrent with its cinematic Predecessor, 300. Both Films are aesthetically inspired by the seminal work of Frank Miller; both Films are written in part by Zack Snyder, but Empire has a Cast of Characters all its own. Even though Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo) and Rodrigo Santoro (Xerses) reprise their Roles, it is the Newcomers that steal the show, for the show is Theirs.
Australia’s Sullivan Stapleton plays Themystokles, and he does so convincingly. Not simply because he has the abs, but more importantly because he knows how to use them. Meaning, he performs his choreography perfectly. He spills the blood of many as the reel spins, but there is one who spills more… Artemisia. Artemisia, as played by Eva Green, is the most impressive part of this picturesque Show. She is as beautiful as she is lethal, and it’s tantalizing to watch such a horrific truth unfold, (hopefully her performance will win her more attention than she already has).
She does play the Bad Guy mind you. She plays it before awe inspiring sets and within award worthy attire. Leather and steel adorn all parties in this play about Greece and its Morning Glory. Long before Alexander came from Macedon to take Hellenism to the east, Themystokles and his Warships pushed the east back. Long before Plato discussed his Theory of Forms, the Greek Empire was forming itself. Kudos to Murro and his Company for creating a worthy Followup to 2006’s Start. From the visuals to the narrative they unfold, his Movie is one worth seeing on the Big Screen. It is a bit bloody mind you, a breast or two find their way to freedom as well, but be that as it may it’s a fun piece of Film, and a pretty one too.
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release 300: Rise of an Empire on Friday, March 7, 2014.