Customer Reviews: 300: Rise of an Empire (Blu-ray)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 18, 2014
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, knew right from the start exactly what it wanted to accomplish, and did so with a minimum of substance and a maximum of style. Now, for some viewers, this will be completely satisfying...and other viewers may find the film lacking in key areas. It's time to find where you lie.

If you like: hyper-stylized, slo-motion violence, flying bodies, spewing blood, epic music, giant battles, buff actors, sexy actresses, shouted speeches, stylized cinematography, battle scenes of dubious historicity, Eva Green chewing the scenery, earnest performances from a ripped cast, dastardly villains, blood, sweat, and rain, heavy R-ratings, and relatively simple-minded, stylish and macho war movies...
Then congrats, 300: Rise of an Empire is for you!

But if you like: historical accuracy, a strong plot, subtle acting, practical effects, morals, and an accurate depiction of ancient combat...I suggest you pick up Gladiator or read Herodotus. Rise of an Empire isn't the type of film for you.

If you saw Zack Snyder's visceral, testosterone-packed 300, then you know much of what you're getting in it's sequel. Now, Rise of an Empire isn't as good a film as 300, and I think we know why that is: the story of 300 Spartans fighting to the last man against terrible odds... is a much stronger story than a leader building a bunch of ships to go fight other ships. Secondly, Sullivan Stapleton, while suitably buff and a capable actor, just doesn't have the gravitas of Gerard Butler.

Thankfully, our returning cast - the amazing David Wenham, the strong-willed Lena Headey, and the insanely over-the-top Rodrigo Santoro as the eight foot god-king Xerxes - all give surprisingly good performances. Sullivan Stapleton holds his own, and his deep voice is the voice of a born leader. But it is Eva Green - scary, subtle, ruthless Eva Green that steals the scenes as Artemisia, the Persian commander of thousands of ships.

You know much of the rest: flying buckets of blood, sloooooow thenreallyfastmotion! gravity-defying leaps, flying arrows, swinging swords, sweaty six-packs, a drained color palate, flowing robes, and stylized gore. Zack Snyder pioneered it all in 300, and his style is borrowed for better and for worse by director Noam Murro. As I said before, know where you lie with this sort of film, and it will fulfill all it sets out to do!

My rating? 3.5 blood-drenched stars, rounded up to 4!

P.S. If this review was helpful in your decision, please give it a like. Cheers!
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on March 4, 2014
I went into this movie feeling the effects in 300 were a little over the top and while they didn't ruin the movie for me, I really wanted them to tone this down in Rise of an Empire.

Thankfully, they did!

This movie has a semi parallel timeline to the original and but, it is what the Athens Navy was doing during the same time frame.

The hero in this film is Themistocles and he is more the clever tactician who can fight whereas Leonidas was more the Gladiator whose discipline made him a king of Sparta. Think of this more like Kirk vs Picard where both were great in their own way.

This movie also gives more of the origin of Xerxes and Artemisia as we learn their backstory and why their vengeance is aimed at Greece.

Overall, I really liked the story and it felt like a much more complete package than the original. I liked the strategic design to the fight scenes and this is honestly the first of these Greco-Roman Empire movies this year that I've really appreciated.

For those that are concerned with the content...

There's a pretty wild Sex scene in the movie, several exposed breasts and other body parts both male and female. Also there's a ton of very graphic killings (duh).

If you liked the original, you will love this one and if you were just okay with the original, you still might love this movie.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 11, 2014
Nine Things about the Movie "300: Rise of an Empire"

1. This violent action flick isn't really a sequel or a prequel to the movie "300". It sort of wraps around it. It starts out by documenting events before "300". Then it tells a parallel story of different battles in a different part of Greece while "300" is happening. Then it wraps things up by showing what happens after Sparta's 300 are all killed at the end of the first movie.

2. The main villain of the first film, Xerxes, has a minor role in this one. King Leonidas is not in this movie, except for flashbacks of the first film. This time it's the Athenian hero Themistokles against the female Persian naval commander Artemisia. She's bringing goth back.

3. The movie makes a point to say that the Athenians were mostly farmers, poets, and craftsmen. They were not warriors. But somehow they look and fight just like the Spartans.

4. While the first movie focused on land battles, this one is mostly about ship warfare.

5. It is not directed by the guy that directed the first movie. So while it has a similar feel, it's not quite the same..

6. This movie is an example of what is becoming called "war porn" - an athletic ballet of violence and sex appeal. It's absolutely beautiful to watch - even the huge orgasms of blood.

7. I didn't know women used to fight battles in flowy dresses.

8. The sex scene between Themistokles and Artemisia is supposed to be a metaphorical bargaining session about freedom, slavery, and loyalty, but it ends up just being funny.

9. If you want historic accuracy, or metaphors for current world events, or even intelligent discourse about different ways to rule a country, then you need to stay away from this movie. But if you want an absurd piece of kick-ass style and violence, then this might be the best you get all year.
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on September 22, 2014
I viewed this movie early this morning on Amazon Instant Video, ... and actually paid to rent it. Due to insomnia, I watched to entire movie. Perversely, I'm glad I did since I can also comment on the ridiculous cartoons shown during the ending credits. Calling the movie bad defames the meaning of the word, "bad". The only thing shocking about this movie is the fact that someone actually made it. I will admit that a lot of talent was used to create this movie. I can only say, "What a waste of skill and talent." It's sad that the people who made this movie took an historical event that could have made a monumental movie, even including mythological creatures and characters with "some' fantasy thrown in, using the special effects available today,and managed to totally trash it. The blood, gore, nudity and sex didn't offend me. The absurdity of the movie and its lack of cohesion did.
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on August 16, 2014
The music was loud, while the dialog was hard to hear. The movie was hard to follow and seemed more about special effects than anything else. Special effects were computerized and rediculous. Each kill spilled more blood than realistically possible, and spilled like something out of today's modern video games. Most of the battles take place out at sea. The waters were rough and yet seemed to have no effect to those on the ships as they all maintained perfect balance with ease. My husband and I are glad we only paid $1.28 at Redbox to see this movie, and we have no desire to see it again.

We did like the original 300 in case anyone was wandering.
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on August 14, 2014
AWFUL. I'm a big DC fan and although I have faith Zach Synder will do a good job with Batman vs Superman - this was a total piece of crap. The first 300 was a classic but this was some cheap knock off. I was so disappointed to see all the old characters/actors used in such a poor quality film. The fight scenes were all the same and became boring as the movie dragged on.
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on July 30, 2014
I can't exactly tell why this one is different to the other one; I loved the first one and i want to love this one too but... First, the movie is long because 70% of it is played in slow motion. Then the plot is far from engaging.... I don't watch movies for its special effects. The dialog doesn't work, the story is far related with Leonidas.... if you want to "see" what a mivie really is, try watching it in mute, if you can't stand it, it's not worth watching.
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on August 14, 2014
I really enjoyed watching 300, so when I realized there was a sequel I got excited and looked online for it immediately. Unfortunately, 300: Rise of an Empire followed the same route as most other sequels: it was not nearly as good as the original. The plot was fairly dull and slow moving, until the very end where it cuts out before the actual exciting part happens. The special effects are also weird, particularly the blood spatters. Maybe this is what the directors were going for, but it made it seem much more fantastic and ridiculous than realistic.
Call me a prude, but I thought the sexuality was much more unnecessary in this movie than in the prior film. While 300 had plenty of sensuality of its own, it was much more subtle than this film. The acting wasn't bad, but I also didn't feel much of a connection to what was happening. There was character development, but in ways that didn't make me care about them.
TL;DR, my boyfriend looked at me at the end of this movie and said that he'd pay another four dollars to take back ever watching it.
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on July 14, 2014
empty violence and pointless style. Nothing like the original 300
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on May 29, 2015
All the budget and production value of the first movie, now with breathtakingly gorgeous 3D, with none of the writing or directorial skill, and absurd strategies (same ones the Persians repeatedly praise as "clever", and of course there's the impossibly-angled shot to kill Xerces at the movie's start).

The visual, visceral feel of the movie is fantastic (and it takes plenty of opportunities to congratulate itself by slowing the motion for you to savor longer), but I couldn't watch even half an hour due to the number of times my intelligence was insulted in the dialog, posturing, and worn cliches.

As an example (is it SPOILER to reveal the first five minutes of the film? If so, don't read on I guess): after the impossible shot suffered by Xerces, he's brought back to his kingdom, with the entire arrow shaft still sticking out his chest (what, they can't clip it to reduce the risk of movement?), lying on his death bed. He gives his final words, and Artemisia (how do you make a strong woman character? Give her a rape-survivor backstory. A woman couldn't possibly be strong without that!) plucks out the shaft, and he dies. Excuse me? If that kills him, why not let it stay in a little longer, or at a minimum wait until he's clearly in too much pain to suffer living any longer. Maybe he can just live with the arrow head permanently embedded, as some do with tricky bullet shards.

Okay, so this is Hollywood. Such things are par for the course, and easily forgiven. But my brain receives such a constant pummeling from that point forward, that it never gets a chance to breathe. Ridiculous Xerces origin story (with a trite narrative), an implausible warrior-vet-father-who-won't-let-his-obviously-old-enough-son-fight-while-at-the-same-time-expecting-rest-of-Greece-to-offer-up-their-young-inexperienced-men, and yeah, the ridiculous circle-of-ships strategy Artemesia praised so highly: they keep their ships in a defensive circle, but somehow also ram the Persians from the side at the same time. How's that done.

Anyway, as awesome as the 3D effects are, I just couldn't keep watching the crap that served as their vehicle, so there you have it.
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