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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Adventure > Swords > Battles > Sequel > Epic > Mythology > 300: Rise Of An Empire (2014/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)

300: Rise Of An Empire (2014/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: A/B+ Sound : A/B+ Extras: B+ Film: B+

Please check out my review to the companion book for this film here on FulvueDrive-in.com!!!


When the first 300 film hit theaters in 2006, it was a surprise success. While Frank Miller's incredible graphic novel was a hit with readers, it wasn't a house hold name like a Marvel or DC property. In addition, some of the filmmaking techniques that Zack Snyder employed were pushing the boundaries at the time and perfectly blended a world that is very comic book-y and fantastical. (here Noah Murro directs and Snyder steps down as co-writer/ producer)

The laws of physics can be stretched to provide meaty eye candy, which is seen here in the sequel 300: Rise of an Empire - a film made eight years after its predecessor that I actually enjoyed more. The film grossed over $330 Million worldwide and definitely benefited from the 3D experience (especially in IMAX 3D). As far as Blu-ray presentations go, Warner Bros. really outdid themselves here with a great release full of good extras and an incredible home theater experience.

What this film gains from the first and foremost is Eva Green (Casino Royale) as Artemisia - her character is sexy and delightfully evil and is in my opinion one of Hollywood's more memorable villains. Artesmisia does not hesitate to slit a man's throat or cut off his head and make out with it. Her use of the god-king Xerxes (returning from the first film) is brilliant and the execution of their relationship on screen makes this film a more interesting watch. The first ten minutes of the film is definitely the strongest moments that tell the history of the two characters and an EPIC shot of Xerxes addressing his Persian Armies sending them to war. Additional cast include Lena Heady, Rodrigo Santoro, David Wenham, Andrew Tiernan, and Perer Mensah returning from the original film.

Another thing I like about this film is the fact that it takes place BEFORE the first film, DURING the first film (just at a different place), and AFTER the first film. Characters from the first film (including Gerald Butler's character) bump into each other and the story pushes obviously past the credits of the first one. What also makes this more interesting is that the majority of the film is a battle on the high seas. From my understanding, water is a hard thing to replicate using digital technology - which seen here looks fantastic on Blu-ray. You can see every ripple in the water and fog rising off the ocean reflecting onto ships. The level of detail in this transfer is really something else.

Queen Gorgo (Lena Heady) tells her men about the Battle of Marathon, in which King Darius I of Persia was killed by General Themistocles of Athens. Darius' son, Xerxes, witnesses his father's death, and is advised to not continue the war, since only the gods could defeat the Greeks. Darius' naval commander, Artemisia, claims that Darius' last words were in fact a challenge and sends Xerxes on a journey through the desert. Xerxes finally reaches a cave and bathes in an otherworldly liquid, emerging as the God-King. He returns to Persia and declares war on Greece.

As Xerxes' forces advance towards Thermopylae, Themistocles meets with the council and convinces them to provide him with a fleet to engage the Persians at sea. Themistocles then travels to Sparta to ask King Leonidas for help, but is informed by Dilios that Leonidas is consulting the Oracle, and Gorgo is reluctant to side with Athens.

Themistocles later reunites with his old friend Scyllas, who infiltrated the Persian troops and learned Artemisia was born Greek, but defected to Persia as her family was raped and murdered by Greek hoplites and she was taken as a sex slave to the Greeks, who left her for dead in the streets. She was rescued and adopted by the Persians. Her lust for vengeance gained the attention of King Darius and he made her a naval commander after she killed many of his enemies.

Themistocles leads his men, which include Scyllas, Scyllas' son Calisto and Themistocles' right-hand man Aeskyklos to the Aegean Sea. They ram their ships into the Persian ships, charge them, slaughtering several soldiers before retreating from the sinking Persian ships. The following day, the Greeks feign a retreat and lead a group of Persian ships into a crevice, where they become stuck. The Greeks charge the Persian ships from the cliffs above and kill more Persians. Impressed with Themistocles' skills, Artemisia brings him onto her ship where she attempts to use sex to seduce him to join the Persians as her second-in-command. He refuses, causing her to push him aside and swear revenge. What continues is an epic battle, which showcases the power of teamwork and the bloodthirsty vengeance of the Greeks.

Another plus is the sound track to the film by Junkie XL that provides a fast paced, gut wrenching accompaniment to the tone of the film.

Presented in 1080p digital High Definition 2:40 X 1 and boasting an impressive DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless English 7.1 audio track - the vast soundscape of the film surrounds your senses and pitches you into the stylized action. Other tracks on the disc are Dolby Digital French and Spanish 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are also available in English, French and Spanish. The DVD transfer of the film pushes the boundaries of the format but falls short of the detail in the Blu-ray. Ultraviolet copy is also including for your iPad or computer.

  • The extras on this release are also notable with...

  • Behind the Scenes: The 300 Effect Segments include "3 Days in Hell," "Brutal Artistry," "A New Breed of Hero" and "Taking the Battle to Sea."

  • Real Leaders & Legends which dissects the film's loose adaptation of history, with both filmmakers and historians offering a candid, almost scene by scene, character by character breakdown of the differences between the very real battles and players of the Persian/Greek wars and the version of those clashes and warriors as realized on screen.

  • Women Warriors Eva Green's Artemisia and Lena Headey's Queen Gorgo, as empowered women, warriors and leaders.

  • Savage Warships The ships and strategies of the Greek navy and the sets used to create the naval battles of the film, and the historical developments, advancements, technology and tactics employed by the Greeks in war.

  • Becoming a Warrior where the cast members train for their roles.

Overall this is a great release to a movie I really enjoyed! Recommended!

- James Lockhart



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