Rise Of An Empire - The Art Of The Film
(2014/Titan Books Hardcover/Written by Peter Aperlo/Introduction by
Noam Murro (director of the film)/Afterword by Zack Snyder
(producer/writer of the film))
Books has done it again with this gorgeous coffee-table book-size
companion to Warner Bros.' new film 300:
Rise of an Empire.
like their previous Art
of Sucker Punch
book, Titan Books has crafted a very detailed companion to the film
that is invaluable to fans and collectors like me. The pages therein
provide incredible insights on every aspect of the film. From the
pre-production sketches, wonderful stories of how the film came to
be, character profiles, beautiful portraits by Clay Enos (who also
did photography for Snyder's Watchmen),
and breakdowns of each major fight sequence in the film. I also
suggest listening to the soundtrack by Junkie XL as you flip through
the foreword, director Noam Murro explains how creating the film held
several difficulties. One was how
do you make a sequel to a film in which the main characters from the
first film died?
and two was how
do you follow up the first film?
But through the inspiration of Frank Miller and Zack Snyder, he
chose to make a film that takes place along the same timeline as the
first but at a different place.
of an Empire
also focuses more on battles that take place on the high seas -
namely the Battle of Artemisium. Zack Snyder, director of the first
film, co-wrote the screenplay, which is based on a new graphic novel
by creator Frank Miller - who is the comic legend behind Sin
and arguably Batman's greatest story The
Dark Knight Returns.
Introduction pages show us several exclusive behind the scenes photos
of the actors pumping iron and training for the film and the villain,
Xerxes, looking at dailies with the director. In addition, there are
beautiful sketches of the ships and set pieces that were prepared for
the film. I was happy to see my favorite characters, the masked
Persian soldiers, make a return in this film.
next section is the Dramatis
which breaks down the main characters Themistokles, Aeskylos,
Scyllias, Calisto, Queen Gorgo, Xerxes, Artemisia, and Ephialtes who
is the deranged hunchback from the first film. Each character has a
bio breakdown and at least four pages of beautiful photos
accompanying. Artemisia is played by the beautiful and badass Eva
Green in the film and is the highlight of this section. Also back is
the beautiful Lena Headey (from Game
who returns as Queen Gorgo. This section shows us many of the new
characters in the film including Themistokles who is our new hero.
is the Battle
which crafts the story of how Xerxes lost his Father in battle.
Included are beautiful conceptual art images of the boats docking on
shore during a pouring rain storm, swords clashing, and armies
standing await atop rainy hilltops. Also accompanying are before and
after shots of the film, showing green screen compositing which is
fascinating and helps add to appreciation for the film's look and
is the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire and the next location
in our book which Zack Snyder describes as a city
from a fever dream.
We are given maps of the city and detailed production sketches,
followed by the resting place of Xerxes' father and the story of
Xerxes transformation into an unstoppable killing force with God-like
power. A very fascinating component to this section is a sweeping
wide shot of Xerxes addressing his mass army - a scene that was
comprised of a digital matte painting.
Corinth Council is where our hero Themistokles convinces the other
Greek city states to send their ships for the cause. On the next
pages we are shown Hellespont, which is home to a massive bridge
between Europe and Asia over surging waters where Xerxes and Artemis
are forming their army. More awesome concepts of different Persian
Soldiers and their artillery are shown followed by a dark look at the
city of Sparta. These pages in essence show the battle getting
formed on both sides in great detail before the coming pages of war.
are two other great locations shown in detail in the book and are
accompanied by storyboarded sequences and behind the scenes photos of
the locations. The
is where we get our first look at the massive Persian ships in the
film and a look at the extreme detail that went into the design of
them. On the chapter devoted to Athens,
we are shown a more peaceful and bustling environment where anyone
that rise and become a council member.
Battle of Artemisium
is a huge water battle that takes place in the film and really
separates it visually from the first film. Zack Snyder and
production designer Patrick Tatopoulos both agree that it was what
first got them excited about the prospect of making the film.
the help of CGI to help bring the sequence to life, full practical
ships were built atop lifts to provide a suitably realistic look.
Though the difficulty came in that the ships on both sides were too
big to bring in on the sound stages so they had to cut them into
sections and bring them in to film. Though it was a challenge to the
director and the crew, it was something they were prepared for during
the pre-production process of the film.
here the battle is broken up into three different sections, day one,
day two, and day three where we see the span of the battle being
fought on sea. Incredible storyboard sequences and images from the
film accompany and take us on a visual journey leading to The
- a section where Xerxes enjoys his victory over the Spartans thanks
to the treachery of the hunchback Ephilaties. We see bloodied images
of fallen Spartan soldiers and behind the scene pictures of dead body
props that were used in the film.
Return to Sparta
brings us to where the first film ends and the new story continues
on. The city is in mourning and Queen Gorgo is informed that her
husband is now dead. Avenge
she says and onward the Spartan soldiers fight on to The
Battle of Salamis
where the film reaches its incredible climax.
book closes with the Portraits
section by Clay Enos and a warm behind the scenes photo of the cast
and crew on location. All in all, this book is a great read and is
visually stimulating. Whether or not you are a fan of the franchise,
this book really showcases the hard work that the cast and crew put
in to bring this story to life. I can't wait to see what Titan Books
puts out next!