300 Rise of an Empire review

I’ve finally watched 300: Rise of an Empire on Blu Ray, a movie I’ve wanted to see for a while. I must say I enjoyed it a lot, perhaps even more than I thought I would given the mediocre rating many reviewers gave it.

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The movie is not so much a sequel to the original 300 but is part prequel, part parallel-quel and part epilogue. It is set more or less at the same time as the first movie but with a larger scale and principally deals with a number of sea battles. Apparently it is based on a not-yet-published Frank Miller graphic novel.

The movie begins with a prologue featuring the Battle of Marathon which was in 490 BC where we see Greek hero Themistocles repel a Persian invasion. Then the rest of the movie covers the three-day Battle of Artemisium followed by the Battle of Salamis which both occurred in 480 BC (around the time of the Battle of Thermopylae which was covered in the first 300 movie). So this one nicely fills in the blanks of what was happening off screen in the first movie.

The highlight of the new movie for me is Eva Green. She plays Artemesia, a Greek-born woman who was raised by the Persians and has reached the rank of general. Eva is great. No one can glare like Eva. No one can drum her fingers which as much contempt and derision as Eva can. She steals the show and makes me keen to watch the other Frank Miller sequel she appears in, namely Sin City 2.

(In case you’re wondering, yes, Eva does reveal her ample top bits. To be more precise it happens on the evening between day two and day three of the Battle of Artemisium. I expect it’s in recorded in Herodotus’s History of the Greek-Persian war somewhere.)

Lena Heady returns from the first movie as Queen Gorgo who was the wife of the Gerard Butler character from the first movie. Perhaps busy with Game of Thrones duties this time out she doesn’t appear too much but pops up at different points and also provides some narration duties.

Some Australian actor called Sullivan Stapleton plays the main Greek character Themistocles who like many of the other characters is based on an historical figure.

As a nice spin off the movie has got me interested in reading about the Greek-Persian wars of the fifth century BC. That’s a sentence I never thought I would write. Anyway I know next to nothing about them and will be looking for a suitable book to improve my knowledge.

Also I need to go back and watch the first movie again because it’s been years since I have seen it.