Love him or hate him 300 was the movie that introduced the world to Zack Snyder. Yes, he directed Dawn of the Dead before that, but it was really 300 that showed us his unique visual style. Some might argue that he borrows too much from the comic book source material, but those are only static images which require them to be translated to moving images. I personally am a fan of Zack Snyder and will watch whatever he puts out. Even if it sucks, ahem, Sucker Punch. But Zack Snyder didn’t direct this one you may be screaming at your screen. Yes, I know. But to you can’t talk about 300: Rise of an Empire without referencing the original 300. In a recent interview the Snyder’s had stated that this movie was intentionally trying to duplicate the look and feel of the original. It makes sense because this movie takes place before, during, and after its predecessor and very much takes place in the same world.
It’s hard to blast the director too much about copying the visual style as am sure his hand was pushed to make this look as much like the original is possible. That being said he still brings his own style to the movie. The fight scenes are more frenetic and less static than those of the original. They were more fully immersive as compared to the diagram like visuals of the original. The visuals also seem less reliant on CGI as there seemed to be more practical effects and set pieces.
There were a few detractors with the flick. With the weird timeline it sometimes felt like some events were sped up while other events were haphazardly stitched into the original narrative. It also seemed like the themes and tones in this one undermined the themes of the first. I think I understand what they were trying to accomplish, but it was poorly executed. Violence was a big issue with the first and I have no doubt it will come up again, but this one featured violence for violence sake. For a movie that takes place mostly on water I think they missed the boat on some cool, visually amazing fight scenes taking place on the high seas.
In the end it was an entertaining movie that loses a lot of the mysticism that made the original stand out. It is definitely a worthy follow up even if it stumbles here and there. It can best be described as the 300 themselves, it puts up a worthy stand, but it is no match for the superior fighting force of the original.
6 out of 11
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