300: Rise of an Empire

300: Rise of an Empire

Directed by Noam Murro

Rating: B

The biggest benefit of this generationís trend towards adapting graphic novels is how it lends a vast array of interesting visual styles for directors to experiment with on the big screen. This was used to great effect in Zack Snyderís 2007 adaptation of Frank Millerís 300, with its distinct mixture of stylised violence and aesthetic. Now, seven years later, Snyder has handed the reigns of the series to the unproven newcomer Noam Murro, with Snyder staying on as producer and writer for the newest film, 300: Rise of an Empire. Thankfully, Murro has successfully maintained the visual spectacle.

Snyderís screenplay is based on Frank Millerís currently un-released sequel to 300 titled Xerxes. It weaves a more complex narrative than the first film, telling the story of events occurring before, during and after the plot of 300. This more freeform structure gave Murro room to weave a surprisingly skilful narrative that ties in fascinating stories from a diverse cast of characters. In particular, the backstories of the villains of the movie Ė Xerxes the god-king and his Commander of the Navy, Artemisia Ė were stunningly realised. It is a shame that the villains should be so interesting, only to have the Greek characters, including the lead, Themistokles, be so generic and uninteresting.

Though the characterisation of the villains is superior, it is the acting that really sells them. In particular, the acting of Eva Green is phenomenal in this film. She plays the terrifying and fascinating Commander of the Persian Navy, Artemisia. Every second of screen time she has is rapturous.
This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2014.
Posted 7:01pm Sunday 30th March 2014 by Baz Macdonald.