300: Rise of an Empire(Imax 3D) hollywood English Film Movie Review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * 1/2

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300: Rise of an Empire(English/3D/IMAX) Rating: *  * ½ Striking but not stirring.  Stylised blood-letting and Stunning artistic CGI can do little to make-up for a weak and opportunistic plot-line. Caricaturist character contouring and  Casting choices that lack in performance power make it a debit in terms of entertainment value!.
The IMAX is no cure for it's debilitating lack of content


English Film review
Johnson Thomas
Film  Review: 300: rise of an Empire:

Director: Noam Murro

Rating: *  * ½
   
Based on Frank Miller’s follow-up to his best selling comic series, this ‘300’ sequel titled ‘300:Rise of an Empire’ with scripting by Zac Snyder and Kurt Johnstad and direction by Naom Murro is not much of a cinematic rendition. Rise Of An Empire is not a follow-up but a ‘side-sequel’. Set before, during and after Sparta’s last stand, this is the same war on another front — a maritime duel between Sullivan Stapleton’s heroic Themistokles and Eva Green’s psychotic Artemisia.
        
It’s more form than content. And the form is largely rendered in CGI so even that is not a plus for cine buffs. Despite live action it fells more toonish than an animation film. And that’s mainly because the merge between CGI and real action is not always seamless. Take for instance the opening sequence where Xerxes(Rodrigo Santoro)  is shown as walking over the Leonidas(Gerard Butler in a brief appearance)’s 300 massacred Spartans. The dead Spartans looks like a picture postcard of a Botticelli painting-flat and unreal. From thereon the narrative jumps to valiant Gen.Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) who is single-handedly laying siege to a marauding Persian army led by King Darius(Igal Naor). He in fact is denoted by myth to have hurled the fateful spear that deals King Darius a mortal blow. Xerxes, a witness to his father’s death and eaten by the venom of vengeance embraces evil through a strangely magical ritualistic passage- leaving behind his once human form and turning into a 8-foot-tall bald, accessory endowed caricature with a permanent snarl.
Commander of the Persian Army, Artemesia(Eva Green) surrogate daughter  to King Darius (who stoked her warrior ethos), has her own personal vengeance to seek from the Greeks. So while Xerxes battles with  King Leonidas (recycled footage from the first film) on land, it is Artemisia who leads Persia’s charge against Greece by sea.
Artemesia is a ferocious presence, but to counter her the film needs  Sparta’s Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey, reprising her “300” role), who though the chief narrator of what transpired, is seen only much later in the movie. Her role is brief but important for balance in terms of story-telling dynamics as well for the war  between Greece and Persia.
The voiceover is intended to evoke the oral tradition of Greek epic poetry but falls way short. The visuals are overcrowded but artistically impressionistic. It’s a spectacular alright but it’s not in any way subtle or meaningful. Stylised blood-letting, brutal hacking of bodies, and epical battle formations both at land and sea are meant to overwhelm with it’s obviousness. It pretty much appears cheesy and it’s giant sized too- on IMAX 3D. The biggest failing though is in the casting choice-of  Sullivan Stapleton as Gen. Themistokles, who has a pivotal role and was meant to take up the slack after an unforgettably Impressive CGI aided  turn by Gerard Butler as King Leonides in ‘300.’ Stapleton is no match and appears too wimpy and unimpressive to be the lead perpetrator in a high-stakes war.  
Murro and Australian d.p. Simon Duggan (“The Great Gatsby”) re-create the previous film’s distinctive, duochromatic palate with the actors again performing against mostly digital sets and resembles quite aptly,  the vibrant, active panels of the comicbook artist Frank Miller. But it’s also too messy to make sense of. Slo-mo action of individual fights makes the going far more tedious. Also it’s tough to differentiate between warring sides because of numerous doppelgangers. As for Eva Green as Artemesia, She evokes menace but it’s also quite caricaturish. ‘300’ was reasonably contained, ‘Rise of an Empire’ is  just too obvious and over-the-top!


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