March 7, 2014 Leave a comment
Wham! Slam! Slice! Trounce! There’s tons of fighting, and gobs of CGI blood in 300: Rise of an Empire. There’s even a few scenes where the “blood” spatters onto the lens. Ooh, that’s gory! Well, kinda. It’s computerized gory, but gotta give it to Director Norm Murro for giving his audience exactly what they’re hoping for. What Murro doesn’t give his audience is any kind of coherent story, or a reason to root for anyone other than the SFX folks giving us the bloody eye candy.
With tons of breathtaking visuals — all shot in the usual Frank Miller Style of heavy black, white, red and sepia — Rise delivers on fanboy blood-lust. Pity characters are nothing more than chess pieces thrown around from one battle to the next. And any scene where nobody’s bleeding? Yawn. Literally; I toyed with the idea of a Clockwork Orange eye-opener to keep myself from nodding off. Which is a shame, because Eva Green and Lena Hedley deserve better. Hell, Hedley deserved more than a nanosecond of screen time, especially as her Queen Gorgo goes from a big-ol’ thumbs down on a united Greece to screaming for vengeance. Do we see that switch? Nup. Too busy with Green’s
Xena warrior princess Artemisia and Sullivan Stapleton’s General Themistokles’ awkward hate sex.
And anyone hoping for more screen time for everybody’s favorite Persian God-King in gold lamé, he barely registers. Yes, Rise is touted as the film that’ll give us how Xerxes rose to power…and okay it does. In 10 minutes flat. The rest of the time it’s the Artemisia and Themistokles show. Green and Stapleton are game for shouldering the movie, but all they’re really given to do is snarl at each other and cut things.
As for the 3D, it’s an unnecessary luxury here. With so much blood but little else flying all over the place, this 3D conversion doesn’t add anything to the experience. That said, IMAX certainly does, with each bit of entrancing ultra-violence blown up to Kong-like size. So if you’re going for serious visual awesome, definitely spring for the IMAX upgrade. And honestly, going to Rise for the action should be the only reason you’re hitting the multiplex for this film. Any other reason will leave you cruelly disappointed.
If I were a teacher, I’d give 300: Rise of an Empire a C. Grand and truly spectacular effects can’t lift a film with a patchy storyline above the realm of the mediocre.