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300: Rise of an Empire

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Scott Roberts
300: Rise of an Empire
on Mar 10, 2014 at 1:43:24 pm







Premise: The prequel that no one really asked for, 300: Rise of an Empire is about the naval battles that preceded the events of the original film. It now focuses on a general of an Athenian army and his conflict with the Persian lady admiral who is Xerxes' second-in-command. It has all the violence, boobs, and slow motion we remember from the first one.



Pros:

-Pretty good visuals for what I assume is a smaller budget cash grab of a sequel to the first one. Let me just check to see how much less this cost than the orig- WHA? This cost $35 million *more* than the original 300...?! Well, ok then, the decent visuals have been explained. Seriously, you guys, there's some pretty beautiful/badass/cool as hell imagery in this thing. It appeared as if the producers spent their $100 million better on this movie than the producers of Pompeii spent their $100 million. Also, the fact that these movies cost $100 million each makes me frown at the amount of money in my checking account.

-RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME/HILARIOUS MOMENT #1: Xerxes walks into a pool as a 5 foot tall dork, walks out of the pool as an 8 foot tall bald God King covered in jewelry that may or may not have been a sweet metaphor about political marketing.

-Eva Green is awesome in general. I don't understand why her career never got huge. I thought her big push was going to be Casino Royale, but then she did... what exactly? I don't know? IMDb says she's also going to be in the Sin City sequel we didn't ask for later this year. Is she going for the 7-to-9-Years-Later-Sequel Award? I didn't realize we were getting so nostalgic for the mid-2000's. Regardless, Green usually dominates in every movie she's in. Same goes for Lena Headey.

-RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME/HILARIOUS MOMENT #2: Woman makes out with decapitated head of man she just decapitated. Girl power, amirite?

-I normally roll my eyes at unnecessary sex scenes in movies like these, but the one in this movie was so extravagantly unnecessary that it became awesome.

-RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME/HILARIOUS MOMENT #3: In the middle of a naval fight, a dude gets on a horse and starts jumping the horse from boat to boat, beating people up with his boat horse.

-At first I was like "Ehhh, CGI blood..." Then I was like "Heh, CGI blood..." And finally I was like "Hahaha, that's a lot of CGI blood." Much like listening to a Katy Perry song; as terrible as it seems at first, the more times I'm exposed to it, the more I come to enjoy it.

-RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME/HILARIOUS MOMENT #4: The director chose to include a shot of plesiosaurs eating people underwater for some reason. THERE ARE DINOSAURS IN THIS MOVIE. FOR. SOME. FREAKING. REASON.

-Despite being an evil empire of freaks and weirdos, the Persians have some pretty sweet naval uniforms.

-Nothing wrong with playing "War Pigs" during the credits.

-After burning Athens to the ground, Xerxes eats... ...chicken wings...? God King, indeed.



Cons:

-Hits a *major* pacing problem in the third act, which also happens to take place after the original 300. Is this the first movie to be both a prequel and a sequel at the same time? It reaches a natural conclusion (right before the events of the first 300), then drags for a few scenes, and then continues the story after the events of the first 300 for like thirty more minutes. It's almost like they could have included an (INSERT FIRST MOVIE HERE) slate right before the final act.

-These pacing problems also made this movie feel a lot longer than the run time actually was.

-The CGI on the hunchback guy wasn't very good. I don't see why they didn't just use the real make-up from the first movie?

-Missed opportunity for a cheesy callback line: "THIS MORNING... WE EAT BRUNCH IN HELL."

-(watches a bunch of ripped, shirtless dudes fighting people for 100 minutes) ... ... ... ...Holy cow, I'm fat...



Final Thoughts: I think it's kind of funny how a literal imitation of a Zack Snyder movie has become more entertaining than an actual new Zack Snyder movie (Man of Steel). Rust Cohle was probably right; time is a flat circle [takes sip of Lone Star]. I mean, I won't try to oversell you here, 300: Rise of an Empire isn't a great movie. And it's probably a movie that most people won't like, especially if you didn't like the first 300 (seriously, this was just some other director being told to copy the exact, distinct style of 300) . But I happen to enjoy this kind of level of absurd action crap. For a film that I assume was created simply as a very random Warner Bros cash grab; it was still created as if the filmmakers actually wanted to make it, and it kind of showed.

7.5 out of 10


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Jeff Breuer
Re: 300: Rise of an Empire
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:39:55 pm

I don't think I need to see the movie. This review was entertaining enough, and it was free!

[Scott Roberts] "WHA? This cost $35 million *more* than the original 300...?!"

That's probably about in line with inflation, so I don't expect they felt like they had a lot more freedom for this one.


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Tim Wilson
Re: 300: Rise of an Empire
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:07:40 pm

[Jeff Breuer] "That's probably about in line with inflation"

According to Box Office Mojo, the second one cost $45 million more, $110 vs $65. It's only been 3 years, and you KNOW they're using cheaper labor, so my guess is that the money mostly went on screen.

I loved 300's look, but it didn't go very deep. It really was the embodiment of a graphic novel (emphasis on GRAPHIC), and I mean that in the best possible way. I really got a kick out of it, but the detail was mostly in the middle of the frame. From here, anyway, it looks like they went the extra mile to go super-rich from border to border.

I'm also guessing that the marketing budget was higher this time, and why not? The first one snuck up on people, on its way to passing $450 million worldwide. (Did you remember it doing that kind of coin?)

The numbers this time are looking a little disappointing. It's on track to do better than half of the first one, which is really a shame. To me, the first one was begging for a sequel. At least I was. LOL I still haven't seen anything swinging for the visual fences like this. I haven't seen this prequel/sequel yet, but I definitely plan to.

And have mercy, Eva Green is a big reason why. AWESOME insight here: Let’s Discuss the Crazy Sex Scene in 300: Rise of an Empire, starting with the observation that we haven't had a woman this dominantly sexual since pre-beatified Angelina Jolie. Even if you (understandably) plan to skip the movie, it's worth reading.

Also worthy: the observation that the audience is about evenly divided between men and women, and that women are liking it as much as men are. I wouldn't be surprised if Eva factors into that....

As always, thanks for being our man on the spot, Scott....


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Jeff Breuer
Re: 300: Rise of an Empire
on Mar 10, 2014 at 11:57:57 pm

[Tim Wilson] "According to Box Office Mojo, the second one cost $45 million more, $110 vs $65. It's only been 3 years,"

No, no! I don't know when you saw the movie, but I saw it when it really came out in 2006, eight years ago. According to Scott, Rise was a $100 million movie that only cost $35 million more than the last one. So using my handy-dandy calculator, a $65m movie in '06 would be $104m today, at a 1.6 inflation rate (thank you Google).

Now, maybe Box Office Mojo is correct, I've used it to win arguments myself, however, Scott DID call the short documentary win over me and I even saw the friggin nominees myself, so that wins him some sort of credit line with me.


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Tim Wilson
Re: 300: Rise of an Empire
on Mar 11, 2014 at 12:28:16 am

[Jeff Breuer] "No, no! I don't know when you saw the movie, but I saw it when it really came out in 2006, eight years ago"

My bad. All that 300 stuff, and I blanked and hit the 3. I'm not saying it's a typo, though. It was a complete lapse.

300 came out this very week in March, 2007, in the US. March 23 in the UK. (I saw it much later in the year, though.)

I double-checked that against both IMDb and BoxOffice Mojo, whose opening weekend reporting is here.

My check of the US Government Consumer Price Index gets us from $65 million 2007 to $73 million in 2014. Whatever other disasters have befallen the world economy, US inflation has been pretty stable - between a range of 4% in 2007, to .1% in 2008, and only 1.6% in the past year. In fact, under 2% the last 3 years running. You can read more here.

I probably should have looked all that up BEFORE my last post. LOL In any case, I completely goofed on the year, but inflation is definitely not the driving force behind the bigger production budget.

I'll talk about this when I finally get around to finishing my Oscar notes, but the monkey thrown in everyone's wrench when making predictions is that this is the first year that Best Documentary awards were voted on by EVERYONE, and not just the documentary branch. Think like a "documentary" viewer rather than as part of the universe where The Walking Dead is the biggest TV show, and bigger than most movies, and you're doomed.

In fact, predicting documentary winners in the future will be made much easier if you DON'T see the movies. LOL


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Jeff Breuer
Re: 300: Rise of an Empire
on Mar 11, 2014 at 12:48:34 am

Well played Tim, well played.


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Scott Roberts
Re: 300: Rise of an Empire
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:51:12 pm

Let me just say that inflation has nothing to do with the *creative choice* to include underwater dinosaurs in a movie about shirtless Greek dudes fighting. Which, c'mon guys, is the most important thing about this entire movie. ;)


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