“We chose to die on our feet, rather than live on our knees…” 300: Rise of an Empire.

I didn’t think I would get to see 300: Rise of an Empire at the cinema, but the opportunity arose last night and I need a sufficient reason to procrastinate from my essay about ‘Project Management in a Digital Age’… zzzzz. I hadn’t heard or read great things about this sequel so I went in with my expectations low, I think this was an excellent strategy as what followed came as a pleasant surprise.


Well I use the word ‘pleasant’ loosely. True to some of Zack Snyder’s previous work such as 300, Sucker Punch and Watchmen , this film is dark, gritty, and bloody. What I didn’t realise is that the story line of this sequel actually runs in parallel for the most part with it’s predecessor. What do we call that? It isn’t technically a prequel, or a sequel… a paraquel? Now I’m just making up words… But it did become a lot more intriguing once I saw where the story was heading.


Themistocles is an Athenian General who leads the charge against the Persian army lead by ‘god-king’ Xerxes from 300 (2008). We get to see how Xerxes became the powerful force he is, and what or who drove him to his madness. The story moves along a timeline from before the 300 Spartans set off to face the Persian Army, to what happens after their epic sacrifice. A much bigger story line in this film and with it, a lot more fighting and slow motion blood splatter. Although the story line was much broader for this film, there was something lacking in the way the characters were portrayed. When important characters are killed in 300 I shed a tear, I feel their pain. When characters die in Rise of an Empire, I think I actually laughed out of sheer awkwardness. There was no connection for me there and that is what lets the film down essentially.

300 - Themistocles

Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic characters. In particular Eva Green as Artemisia, the twisted soul of a Greek turned loyal Persian who plays puppet master with Xerxes. She is INTENSE! The complexity of her character, the outfits, and her air of madness really gripped me into the story more than any of the speeches Themistocles gave to his army… Sullivan Stapleton plays this leading man, and for me he was quite dull, especially next to such a powerful female role. I understand that the Athenians were more diplomatic than the Spartans and technically they are not warriors, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed with their lack of presence.


I don’t think it helped that the Athenian army all had varied accents which weren’t well hidden. (Yes I know Gerard Butler’s Scottish Spartan set the tone there, but he has such a gruffly voice it worked). General Themistocles is Australian, we also have a Scot, a New Zealander, a Derbyshire lad, and a Brummy to name a few. It took me out of the illusion every time another accent was introduced. I would say the well spoken English accent works for the old style dialogue, much like Eva Green and Lena Heady, who is back as Queen Gorgo and really gets her rage on this time.

300 - Queen Gorgo

The cinematography is pretty breath taking in some scenes. The epic battles on the sea are worth seeing if nothing else. A little over kill on the slow motion and the endless amount of blood that seemed to pour out of people. But otherwise, it was really quite beautifully shot and I can see that it would have been great in 3D. The sound track is pretty rousing too!


My POV in the end, I enjoyed 300: Rise of an Empire much more than I anticipated but I am still not raving about it. 300 is a legendary film which can’t be matched in my eyes. The sequel is worth a watch, and I will probably watch it again – but it doesn’t raise the bar very high in terms of character development and compelling relationships between them. Like swords and blood?? Well then, sir this film is for you!!



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10 thoughts on ““We chose to die on our feet, rather than live on our knees…” 300: Rise of an Empire.

  1. mikeyb @ screenkicker April 1, 2014 at 10:12 pm Reply

    Isn’t a paraquel a cross between a parrot and a gerbil? I think I’ll enjoy this film, especially Eva Green being crazy!

    • myreelpov April 2, 2014 at 11:03 am Reply

      Haha I think I read in Empire last night its a side-quel – either way its a silly name! Hope you do enjoy it πŸ™‚

  2. CMrok93 April 2, 2014 at 3:11 am Reply

    It’s not a very smart movie, but I think that’s where most of the fun in watching this comes from. Just knowing how stupid it is, even if it does take itself quite seriously. Good review.

    • myreelpov April 2, 2014 at 11:04 am Reply

      Yes it does take itself very seriously which works in the first one, not so much in the second. Its like 300 on steroids. Enjoyable though. Especially the end, I was pretty chuffed!!

  3. Tim The Film Guy April 2, 2014 at 11:17 am Reply

    Not as good as the first one but still pretty fun with plenty of bloody violence πŸ˜€

    Good review.

  4. Hypersonic55 April 2, 2014 at 10:55 pm Reply

    Hi Claire, cool review yo. I think you hint the nail on the head with this one, better than expected but that’s not saying much. For me I liked 300 when I was a teen but I haven’t seen it since I saw it in the cinema in 2007 and I feel like its a bit over-hyped these days. Rise of an Empire was just more of the same, just in absurdly slow motion with boring characters and a lacking story. The action was good but that’s the only nice thing I have to say about it.

    • myreelpov April 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm Reply

      Well that was to the point Curtis!! I agree with you though, all it had going for it was the action and the pretty lens filters.

  5. lauren May 1, 2014 at 9:44 pm Reply

    Hi I’ve nominated you for the sunshine blog award, to accept please follow the link http://mykindofmovie.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/the-liebster-award-and-the-sunshine-blog-award/

  6. The Focused Filmographer May 18, 2014 at 8:42 pm Reply

    And I, too, have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger’s Award! I hope you are well. You don’t have to do anything, but if you want to, that’s cool! Be well and keep watching/writing! πŸ™‚ http://wp.me/pWaTa-5lf

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