The best way to watch 300: Rise of an Empire, well the way i watched it at least is simple. Get a job that requires you to work on Saturdays. Go home after work on that day and quickly realise that you would rather be anywhere in the world than indoors. Get up and leave the house with no earthly idea where to go or who you will meet when you get there. Don’t forget to grab some red wine from that bottle that was opened last week and pour it into a coke bottle. Do this because red wine looks a lot like Coca-Cola and drinking in public is illegal. Walk until you feel like getting into a matatu and then just go town. You must have faith that something will come of this. The faith of a mustard seed can move mountains said one guy who had less than 13 at his side and yet changed the world forever(take that Leonidas). Walk randomly and aimlessly into the cinema hall. Look around at the posters and think about how this is a movie you do want to watch but you need to be prepared, armed at least with a student id card and ideally with a mind altering drug coursing through your system. At this point meet an old friend from school who offers you a free ticket. Accept, walk across to the bar, get some beers and then sit down and begin watching.
First I should say this was a beautiful movie. Because of the 3 d effect they found ways to incorporate every single thing they could into it. There were flecks of dust that looked like gold floating and flowing through the movie. Dust everywhere. Everyone was photoshopped to a high sheen. So much Vaseline used on the bodies here I thin global masturbation levels may have dropped by necessity. There were some scenes that showed this version of ancient Greece in all its glory. Backdrops of such beauty and detail, a canvas in front of which the actors are working and every once in a while I’d get distracted by the mountains rising out of the mist and wondering where those roads lead and all the beautiful golden suns that were used to represent dust.
there follow spoilers but all these things happened thousands of years ago
I always laugh at people who rush to get to a football game on time. I always say, “hey if you miss the first five minutes then nothing else will make sense so don’t be late.” I missed the first five minutes of the movie. I spent the time looking for my seat before it hit me that I didn’t have to, I could just sit anywhere and hope that no one came to ask me to move. The first five minutes talks about the ascension of the god-king Xerxes to the throne of Persia.
After this the movie proper begins. The question going in is what the movie could possibly be about when the brave 300 are already dead well; it could be about nothing at all to do with the number or the people. The surviving Spartans are seen more in the trailer than they are in the movie. And that rousing speech from the one who survived talking about bringing the Spartans to war against the Persians? He seems to forget on the road back from Thermopylae. I wanted to see Spartans immediately. This is what I had comeback for the glory of Sparta and instead I got treated to a conference between the other Greek city states as they discussed what to do about the war. Soon it becomes clear that the two movies share the same timeline. In fact our hero visits Sparta soon after the 300 have gone to war. When Leonidas has already breached the rules of diplomacy so badly nothing could save him but an op-ed by Vladimir Putin in the New York Times. He then utters what is perhaps the best line in eh movie. “The Persians promised the Spartans something they couldn’t refuse…a beautiful death.”
Then the movie becomes what it actually was, a naval war movie. The Greek and Persian navies meet again and again and in an incredible turn of events our hero is a great naval genius. Commanding the Persian fleet is a Greek woman who turns against her nation due to act of brutality so sustained that I completely forgot who the bad guys were supposed to be. The Greeks, like America fought for freedom except for those who they had taken it away from and being both disgusted and deformed by the brutality she experienced as a sex slave the real hero of the movie moved to the Persian side. And all she wants is a man who is man enough to stand by her side and make her feel whole. None of the Persians are man enough and this leads predictably to a sex scene between her and our other hero. It’s a strange scene. They fight out their naval battle in bed. There isn’t a lot of sensuality in it. Anyone expecting the play that happened last time with lights flashing off and on will be sorely disappointed. They have sex so loudly and so violently that her guards turn and look to each other wondering about the sounds that were coming from inside. Everyone in the cinema laughed and then I thought about how strange it was. There we all were in a darkened theatre watching these two people have sex. There must have been a couple of boners in the audience, men being as visually slutty as we are. Group voyeurism at its very best was on display as we all sat and watched not just the people have sex but the people embarrassed to be hearing them and all we could do was laugh at the second level.
The fight scenes were what you would expect from a movie like 300. Lots of blood and slow motion cuts and parries and thrusts. This was mind-bending in 2007 when I had seen nothing like it before. But after Spartacus the TV show so shamelessly ripped off 300 and then pushed boundaries that movie hadn’t arrived at yet it was just a long episode of Spartacus. Beautiful though I kept being distracted by the scenery at the back and forgetting to watch what was going on screen. 3-d makes going to the cinema worth it. I love falling into those other worlds. Seeing sculptures instead of looking at paintings is a great experience.
This being a naval movie there was a chance for some difference to Spartacus and the first movie. And I remember this particular scene where our male hero is on his ship and decided to join the battle for real. He jumps in the air (these Greeks can fly if they put their minds to It.) out of nowhere a horse shows up on the rocking, rollicking, practically capsizing ship and he gets on it. He rides and cuts down Persians beautifully with curving slashes and downward strikes. He rides the horse into the ocean because he needs to get to another ship and the horse swims through the sea and the Greek Fire that burns on the ocean and in a paradox that even Greek fire would be shamed by is wielded by Persians. It gets to the other side and deposits him as he lands and takes out Persians right, left, and centre before going into the pen-ultimate boss fight with our female hero.
I’ll say the first one was much better. And I believe the third one will be too. There’s just really no reason to call that one 300 either. They are all dead at this point. Nothing wrong with watching it though, in fact highly entertaining especially if you are prepared.