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300: Rise of an Empire

Movie Details

300: Rise of an Empire
  • Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama
  • Release Date: 2014-03-07 Nationwide
  • Running Time: 102 min.
  • Director: Noam Murro
  • Cast: Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, Sullivan Stapleton, Jamie Blackley, Yigal Naor, Farshad Farahat
  • Writers: Kurt Johnstad, Frank Miller
  • Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Official Site: 300: Rise of an Empire Official Site

Man, woman, gay, straight, bi: There’s something for everyone in Noam Murro's 300: Rise of an Empire, the XXL sequel to the also-larger-than-life Greeks-in-shinguards extravaganza 300.

In that picture, directed by Zack Snyder and based on Frank Miller's graphic novel about the three-day Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., the Spartans and their small but mighty army kicked the asses of the Persians, with much yelling, grunting, and spilling of black-red CGI blood.

300: Rise of an Empire might have been essentially more of the same, but for one distinction that makes it 300 times better than its predecessor: Mere mortals of Athens, Sparta, and every city from Mumbai to Minneapolis, behold the magnificent Eva Green, and tremble! This time around, Athenian warrior Themistocles, gentle-spirited but tough as a lion's claw, is the star -- he's played by Sullivan Stapleton, who musters at least a few whiskers' worth of authority. But really, who's looking at him?

Green’s Artemisia is something to behold. She makes her entrance in a fringed leather gown with a molded breastplate, sweeping into the Persian palace like a B.C. Morticia Addams. Her over-the-topness -- and, in one scene, her resplendent toplessness -- really gets Rise of an Empire cooking. Artemisia commands her naval warriors as if she were telling them what to do in bed: "Today we will dance across the backs of dead Greeks," she purrs, pronouncing the word dance "dahnse" -- because that's what an all-powerful enchantress would do.

When she lowers her kohl-rimmed eyes, the sailors hear, and they obey. They'll kill for her, and they’ll die for her. Green makes it all look like dahnsing.

Stephanie Zacharek

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