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'300: Rise of an Empire' is a war movie machine

Eva Green in "300: Rise of an Empire".
Eva Green in "300: Rise of an Empire".
© Warner Bros.

300: Rise of an Empire


"300: Rise of an Empire" is one of the most over-the-top movies you are likely to see. This comes to no surprise as it is the sequel to the extremely over-the-top "300". What is surprising is that "300: Rise of an Empire" is also one of the most boring movies ever made.

"300: Rise of an Empire" is the story of Greece's quest to stop the conqueror Xerxes after what he did to the Spartans in "300". It is, like "300", a movie filled with action. It is a war movie with many battle scenes. It should be thrilling, but it isn't.

The dialogue in "300: Rise of an Empire" was mostly gibberish to me. This is not because it was hard to understand. The dialogue in the movie is all clear and spoken in an intelligible manner. The dialogue was gibberish to me because I could not pay any interest to it. I kept zoning out as people were speaking. I would see the characters' mouths moving, but the words would just be all "Blah blah blah." There is rarely ever any emotion to anything in the movie. All the actors seem to be playing not three dimensional characters, but completely wooden caricatures of characters they have seen before in countless other movies of this nature. The dialogue is the same way.

There are so many lines in this movie that had me recalling movies of the past. Almost nothing said here by any character is anything new. All the dialogue is regurgitated from scenes in other movies. For example: how many times in a movie have you heard a character end a sentence with "My Queen" or "My King" or "My Lord" or "Mr. President" in a condescending manner? Yeah, it has been done too many times to count. This movie continues that tradition and many other movie traditions in a similarly boring rehashed style.

Speaking of rehashed style, this movie's whole style is a rehash of the original "300". The movie might as well have been directed by the same director, Zack Snyder, but it wasn't. Noam Murro, the director of this movie, decided to keep everything visually the same as "300" which makes sense in one way, but also causes the movie to seem too familiar and thus bland and boring in another way. There are a few memorable moments with this style of slow motion, booming bass, and then a return to normal motion, but some of these can already be seen in the movie's trailer.

The highlight of this movie, however, does not happen during one of the many battles in this movie. At least, it does not happen during a battle involving any sort of army with swords and arrows. The best scene in the movie is a battle in the form of a sex scene. The sex scene is just as over the top as any battle in the movie and is a lot more entertaining and thrilling than any other battle too. There is intensity and emotion in this scene that is not felt in any other scene in the movie. If the whole movie had been like this then it would have been an enjoyable film.

As it stands, however, "300: Rise of an Empire" is a bore. The images on screen look pretty and are well made, but they have no weight to them and all seem so similar not only to other images in this movie, but to other images in other movies. The script is similarly dull. The scenes in this film are largely ones that have been done many, many times before. Almost nothing feels new here and the battles, which start bland enough, just get more bland as they continue in the same fashion over and over again throughout the movie.

The movie tries to end on a rousing and epic moment, but it falls flat because it is a moment that ultimately leaves the viewer with little resolution. "300: Rise of an Empire" goes for more of a character oriented ending rather than a story oriented ending. The problem with that is that none of the characters in this movie are particularly interesting and are without much emotion. They all seem to be robots programmed to say all the things we have come to understand characters will say in this kind of movie. With no real connection to the characters there is no real emotion felt at the closure of the character's journey that is presented in the final scene of the movie.

Fortunately, the movie does end on a positive note as the end credits are accompanied by a hilarious yet somewhat appropriate song for the movie. It is this funny side to this ultra serious movie that helps the viewer get through it. I couldn't take much seriously in this movie that seemed to be filmed with a very serious intent. Instead, I found laughter at just how over the top and serious some of the moments were in this movie. It's small moments like a man shouting simply "Rocks!" after the army's ships have already started to be completely destroyed by crashing into giant rocks that makes this movie bearable.

I feel like a good video could be made combining all the rehashed scenes from this movie with all the other movie scenes that are so similar. The YouTube channel Screen Junkies already does hilarious videos like this called "Supercuts". For example: there is a "Supercut" of the many times Jason Statham references "The Job" in his movies (click here to see). There is also a "Supercut" of the all the scenes where a superhero introduces his or her self in a movie (click here to see). If one of these funny "Supercuts" could be inspired by "300: Rise of an Empire" then it would give this movie more purpose to exist than it does at the moment.

"300: Rise of an Empire" is, on the surface, a totally well-made and well-functioning product. All the right scenes and elements are there for the type of action-filled epic that this movie wants to be. All the parts are there and technically there is nothing wrong with them. The acting is not bad and the visuals are not poor, but there is something missing. This movie is a machine performing its task as programmed to do, but without any kind of flair or originality put into anything it does. "300: Rise of an Empire" simply lacks a soul of its own.