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Friday, March 7, 2014

300: Rise of an Empire: Only a Vacuum Could Suck Like This

Posted by on Fri, Mar 7, 2014 at 7:49 AM


If you really liked the movie 300 but you thought it was too arty and didn't have enough of the following:

Plastic-looking digital blood
Voice overs

...then you're in luck! 300: Rise of an Empire is the movie for you. Empire isn’t so much a sequel to 300 as a side-quel, in which the (much more interesting) events of 300 happen simultaneously with this film. To remind you of that fact, characters continually make reference to King Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans, and we occasionally see flashbacks from the first film. As in 300, the enemies of Empire are Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and the invading Persian army. But rather than Leonidas, the hero is Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton, not nearly as intense as Gerard Butler, but charismatic enough in his own way), admiral of the Athenian navy. Instead of the Spartans’ signature red capes, the Athenians wear blue capes. Instead of 300 Spartans fighting off thousands of Persians, it’s a handful of Athenian boats fending off thousands of Persian warships. (I guess 300: Blue Crush didn’t have the kind of menacing ring that producers were going for.)

In case you can’t tell, this is a bad movie. But it’s also kind of insane, in an almost admirable way. First of all, you have Eva Green as the lead heavy, Artemesia, the leader of the Persian navy. With her crazy eyes peering out from behind approximately five pounds of eyeliner, Green gnaws on terrible lines like “TODAY, WE DELIVER SUBMISSION!” She wears ridiculous gowns with spiky gold spines sticking out the back. It’s not a career-making performance, but it sure is a fun one, at least.

Green’s slobbering villainous bravado is matched only by the viewer’s increasing suspicion as the film plays out that nobody behind the camera had any fucking clue what they were doing. 300 director Zack Snyder is too busy transforming Superman into a gloomy, wretched mess to bother directing the sequel, but his fingerprints are everywhere on the credits: He’s the producer, the co-screenwriter, and Noam Murro’s direction is aped directly from Snyder with its relentless love of slow motion and hyper-stylized computer graphics. A lot of Empire could be a dumb video game, with its repetitious violence and those arterial sprays of gooey black blood shooting out of every wound.

The story is garbage, the copious voice overs are impenetrable, and the script is a string of clunky lines about freedom and how today is the time to “SEIZE YOUR GLORY!” Nobody involved in the making of the film seems to know what the point of the movie is, and sometimes it all gets so vacant that it becomes an exercise in the filmography of nothingness. If a parking garage came to life and made a movie, that movie might look a lot like Empire. If I was high and looking to kill time at the multiplex, I guess I’m saying, this is the movie to see. You might not remember anything when it’s all over, but you’ll sure be certain that you watched something.


Comments (24) RSS

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mkyorai 1
This is why I often enjoy reading reviews for bad movies more than good ones, and this was a great review of what appears to be a terrible movie. Good movies tend to be alike in many ways; bad movies have so, so many ways to fail. This looks like a pretty spectacular fail, which is to say, I'm going to really enjoy it when it comes on cable and I've been drinking.
Posted by mkyorai on March 7, 2014 at 8:14 AM · Report this
300 is still one of my favorite silly movies. From the hammy acting, to the weird visual effects, to the whole nonsensical spartan culture.

I am happy to see that this movie appears to succeed in somewhat the same way, but hopefully different enough to be hilarious in it's own right.

When does the rifftrax come out?
Posted by giffy on March 7, 2014 at 8:19 AM · Report this
levide 3
Eva Green!
Posted by levide on March 7, 2014 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Holy shit I went to see this last night because there was literally nothing else playing by my place @ the time. I am definitely dumber this morning that I was last night. Im loading up on SLOG and NPR today to try to get some of the intellect back that I squandered on this piece of steaming poo. I cant even imagine the bro'siest of bros defending this movie. The only audience this makes sense for is that coveted young boy 11-17 demographic that they can suck into another sequel. All this being said If you are into waxed man chests and airbrushed abbs then this will be you Citizen Cane.
Posted by g2000 on March 7, 2014 at 9:01 AM · Report this
JonnoN 5
I knew it would be terrible when seattletimes gave it 3 stars :p
Posted by JonnoN on March 7, 2014 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Headline should say "Only a vacuum SHOULD suck like this"? Because it seems this movie does indeed SUCK.
Posted by bareboards on March 7, 2014 at 9:26 AM · Report this
But the really important question - do we get to see Eva Green's boobs?
Posted by Don't wake me, I'm sleeping on March 7, 2014 at 9:29 AM · Report this
Tim Keck 8
A good voice over should:
- explain the plot no less than two times
- cover three generations of characters
- be recognizable from a Ford commercial
Posted by Tim Keck on March 7, 2014 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 9
The movie isn't aiming to be an art-house philosophical examination.

It's aiming to attract teenage boys in droves by essentially showing them a big budget video game.

And in that respect, I suspect it will succeed remarkably well.

Not every movie is designed to be "good" by film critic standards. This is an example.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on March 7, 2014 at 9:56 AM · Report this
schmacky 10
I know we saw them often enough in The Dreamers (and, likely, other films I didn't see), but are Eva's included in the expanded boob count? Also, I am always happy to see more boobs, beheadings, boats and plastic-looking digital blood, as well as--depending on how it's presented, of course--choke sex. Voice overs, never.
Posted by schmacky on March 7, 2014 at 9:57 AM · Report this
laterite 11
Didn't the Spartans mock the Athenians as "boy-lovers" in the first movie? What?
Posted by laterite on March 7, 2014 at 10:02 AM · Report this
AFinch 12
"If a parking garage came to life" - priceless!
Posted by AFinch on March 7, 2014 at 10:31 AM · Report this
@6 The point is that the movie *is* a vacuum, you see. And that's why it sucks. It sucks because it is devoid of anything worthwhile.

Which is kinda too bad, as the actual history of the Athenians is much more interesting than the overhyped bullshit accolades history has heaped upon those asshole slavemongering Spartans.
Posted by Avi on March 7, 2014 at 10:48 AM · Report this
If this were a just universe the next insufferable joint Miller/Snyder venture would be them fighting to the death on some remote island and the winner eventually starving to death.
Posted by tkc on March 7, 2014 at 11:09 AM · Report this
seattlestew 15
... and with every passing year/project, Frank Miller goes a little more insane.

That said, I'll be drunk-watching this with friends at some point in the next 3-6 months, I'm sure.

And when is this xenophobic, psychopathic gem coming to the silver screen?…
Posted by seattlestew on March 7, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
sirkowski 16
Praxagora: I want all to have a share of everything and all property to be in common; there will no longer be either rich or poor; I shall begin by making land, money, everything that is private property, common to all.
Blepyrus: But who will till the soil?
Praxagora: The slaves.
―Aristophanes 392 BC
Posted by sirkowski on March 7, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
So, better than Ran?
Posted by Joel_are on March 7, 2014 at 7:32 PM · Report this
Knat 18
When every trailer for a film does its best to hype up everyone behind the camera but the director, it's for a very good reason.

On a separate note, I have to go find a copy of The Dreamers now...
Posted by Knat on March 8, 2014 at 12:04 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 19
@1: Tolstoy, the film critic.
Posted by undead ayn rand on March 8, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Report this
F**ng terrible movie. Should not even be compared with the original 300.

Terrible plot, Terrible acting (so many piss weak/wrongly cast characters - eg. Themistokles), unimaginative cinematography/editing, crap ideas and boring computer game style fights and effects.

Did not like a single character in this film. This was torture to sit through.
Posted by Noms on March 9, 2014 at 5:45 AM · Report this
King Lionidis said in the 1st movie how the athenians were shit soldiers, boy lovers, and a bunch of drafted men from other careers, so explain how all of the sudden they kick ass like the spartans did? even the newly drafted youth from greece magically had sylvester stalone moves when fighting against veteran persian soldiers. Makes no sense.
Posted by TheOriginalAbbott on March 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM · Report this
If anyone really cares to see action from this time period, and see real Persian troops fight Greece, watch the classic movie "Alexander", an actual GOOD movie.
Posted by TheOriginalAbbott on March 16, 2014 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Or, perhaps even better, watch the History Channel program "Last Stand of the 300". It details the events of both the land battle between the invading Persian army & the 300 Spartans AND the naval battle between the Athenian fleet under Themistocles and the Persian fleet. Lots of info on the military tactics & weapons used, and interviews with actual historians who can explain how crucial these events were in the development of what we now call democracy.
Posted by YoungbloodG on April 1, 2014 at 6:04 AM · Report this
Those new characters look like kind of comic superheroes, which is disgusting.
Posted by Iron Wing on May 12, 2014 at 9:24 PM · Report this

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