300: Rise of an Empire
A Live Blog
Note: What follows contains spoilers. Herein there be spoilers! Beware all ye who read onward, for plot points shall be relentlessly spoiled. You've been warned. Carry on.
:16 The production titles are like the hallowed halls of filmmaking!
:42 Reminder: many Spartans died to bring you this sequel. Specifically 300.
1:14 I still find it difficult to believe that the guy Laura Linney was crushing on in Love Actually is Xerxes.
2:08 Queen Gorgo addresses the beautiful ab-tastic troops who are, presumably, the next 300. I will say this, Lena Headey gives gravity to this film. She is a strong presence and has a great voice.
3:49 Themistocles. Flashback Greek hero in the first (of I assume zillions) slow-mo battle sequence. Lena Headey is narrating which, much as I do love David Wenham, is an alluring improvement on the original.
5:32 Horse crushes head. It’s like the Greek battle version of rock, paper, scissors. This is already wildly bloody. There is literally blood splattered on the camera.
6:53 Can we talk about the body count six minutes in? Not to worry, though, there are plenty of abs as well.
6:54 Can we talk about the slo-mo?
7:56 Xerxes in flashback looks a lot more Love Actually-esque.
8:35 Artemisia is Eva Green. Imposing. Beautiful. Striding past insane set pieces of giant sculpted panthers. There is also plot happening. Themistocles killed Darius whose children, Xerxes and Artemisia, decide to take revenge on basically everyone.
10:55 Men wandering the wilderness without provisions is either an important theme of mythology or Zack Snyder.
11:23 I LOVE THE BIRTH OF XERXES. Into the pool goes Laura Linney’s crush and out rises a giant bald golden statue of a man bejeweled and gleaming and... well, you saw the first one. But seriously, he didn’t just dress himself like that. According to this movie, the pool did.
11:57 Artemisia is a sly killer. She’s like a viper, really.
13:28 More plot is happening but admittedly I’m not paying much attention. Old man are yelling in a pillared hall. There’s a giant map and people in robes are angry. I think these are Greeks who are mad about Xerxes? We need more Queen Gorgo and less of whatever this is.
14:55 This speech sounds suspiciously American democracy-esque.
15:57 Xerxes’ golden codpiece reminds me, suddenly, of Matt Damon’s gold speedo in the Liberace movie. Happy times!
16:43 “Spartans don’t get along well with others.” Themistocles knows things, man.
17:18 Sparta, according to this flashback, is a great pastiche of loinclothed men with six-pack abs wrestling and beating each other in a vast sand pit while David Wenham (and his ridiculous Important Spartan Accent) oversees.
18:38 Queen Gorgo. Easily the best part of the movie thus far. She’s conversing with Themistocles alone about the Xerxes threat because Leonidas was not cast in this film. Though in this flashback he is of course still alive. Let’s assume he’s off drinking. And Gorgo always has been the one in charge.
20:19 At some point it wouldn’t be amiss for her to say “When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.”
21:04 Artemisia is eating an apple sliced with a giant dagger while lounging on a throne and threatening a prisoner.
21:57 She just beheaded the prisoner. I do hope she wipes the blood off that dagger before resuming her fruit eating.
22:06 She just lasciviously kissed the mouth of the severed head. You can never say Eva Green doesn’t fully commit to her roles.
24:49 There is more plot happening. Themistocles and some dude in a mustard-colored robe are discussing Artemisia in a cave? I wish I knew who any of the men were in this movie. They’re essentially an interchangeable cardboard horde.
25:51 There is a rape backstory for Artemisia. Because of course. If this is not historically accurate, I cry foul at requiring a rape and torture backstory to explain a strong woman away.
26:05 She was saved by the Persians and turned, naturally, into a lethal fighter. One with a penchant for dragging severed king heads into the throne room.
29:16 Leonidas makes an appearance! Is this really Gerard Butler or just lost footage from the first film? I’m going with the ghost of photoshop past.
30:25 My roommate explaining who the male characters are: “Blue eyes is the main guy. That’s the young guy. That’s an old guy. That’s an old guy. That’s Jared Leto.” (Not actually Jared Leto but from now on that’s definitely his name.)
32:35 More plot is happening. I think it involves ships? Artemisia is on a ship. Themistocles is giving a speech on another ship. There are many many close-ups of rippling biceps and thighs.
33:36 “This guy is no Gerard Butler” says my roommate. Dire! And true.
34:46 Okay, battle time. So far the ships are moving in real-time which is a refreshing change. They’re all side by side so spears can be thrown from ship to ship.
35:30 I think he just yelled “ram them” which immediately makes me think of Worf and “Prepare for ramming speed.” Today IS a good day to die, Greeks!
36:10 There is now an entire montage of extreme close-ups of ship destruction. Wood splinters and waves everywhere!
37:27 This movie is a hot mess.
38:17 Why must every 300 be told in extended flashback? The entirety of the first film was David Wenham’s story to inspire the troops. And this is the exact same except as told by Gorgo.
40:31 Eva Green is an exceptional actress but she does tend to dramatic and gothic performances. In a movie like this it makes her look... kind of nuts. She’s going balls to the wall but it’s not working to her favor here.
42:19 If all the slo-mo shots were done at real-time this movie would actually be twenty minutes long.
44:00 Slo-mo running!
44:10 Slo-mo cliff-jumping onto ships!
44:32 Slo-mo arterial spray!
45:20 I’m certain we’re meant to be cheering for the Greeks but as Artemisia is really the only character with anything to do and who I can identify, I’m kind of not feeling it.
47:05 Slo-mo kick into a wall!
47:27 Listen, director Noam Murro, you need a slo-mo-tervention.
48:58 I don’t know who any of these dudes are! I can only identify Themistocles (Blue eyes) and Jared Leto.
50:06 Why do I suspect ship-board meeting is a seduction ploy by Artemisia? Oh maybe because she’s wearing a chain mail nightgown.
52:50 There’s a lot of talking happening now. And this revelation by Themistocles happened: “I have spent all my time with my one true love. The Greek fleet.”
54:18 Admittedly this movie hasn’t yet had a sex scene or any Oracle trance-porn sequences. So it does make sense for Artemisia and Themistocles to hate-fuck. No, lol, you guys it totally doesn’t. Also it’s not in slo-mo so I can barely process it.
55:53 Themistocles is very rapey.
56:35 So in the middle of all the bodice-ripping and hate-fucking she demands that he join her and he says “no” and rises ‘nobly’ to throw her off. But dude, you ALREADY RAPED HER. This movie, you guys.
58:46 Somehow they’re now at battle again. But night battle.
59:48 Swimmers are now breaching the sides of the Greek ships? I don’t know. I don’t know.
1:00:40 Dude whose name I don’t know and who sounds Irish is shot by Artemisia’s arrows.
1:00:49 Her hair looked really good blowing in that wind, though.
1:02:15 So oil was poured into the water and set on fire and now it’s totally a Michael Bay movie.
1:03:10 Persians invented ship-to-ship suicide bombers?
1:03:55 There’s a giant eel thing in the water attacking bodies?
1:04:20 Oh good, Jared Leto survived. And now Themistocles and Jared Leto are reunited on a bloody body-strewn beach.
1:04:50 Lena Headey provides more narration but sadly the words she’s given do nothing to alleviate the total nonsense of the plot or the heinous slo-mo direction.
1:05:53 Irish arrow-shot dude was young dude’s father? What? Was he five when he fathered the kid?
1:07:46 This movie could really use an infusion of Gerard Butler, David Wenham, and Michael Fassbender, honestly. Whoever these nameless dudes are, they aren’t good.
1:08:28 Xerxes is a welcome relief, I tell you.
1:10:04 Ah, the Hunchback of Notre Sparta is back. He gives Quasimodo a bad name.
1:11:55 One-eyed David Wenham. I wish that was a euphemism.
1:12:19 Thank god for Lena Headey. She’s all that’s keeping me going. And yet I also have to ask what the hell she’s doing in this movie. Cersei would laugh in the face of this director, have his head on a spike, and order more wine.
1:14:33 Rape and pillage montage against a backdrop of burning cities.
1:16:44 The entire movie can be boiled down to a far lesser version of this: You killed my father, prepare to die. I could have filmed it in a breezy half hour.
1:19:24 Seriously, Themistocles’ speeches wouldn’t motivate me to get off the couch, much less sail into certain death.
1:20:33 At this point it seems Johnny Depp has become the makeup advisor because things have taken a turn for the Tonto.
1:23:09 I spilled root beer float on myself at some point. My arm tastes like root beer.
1:23:32 Oh another ship battle has started! Plot must have happened while I zoned out.
1:24:28 Snyder’s dialogue-writing skills are right up there with Lucas’. “I’m not here as a witness” is basically his “My lips are still burning from the kiss you never should have given me”.
1:25:14 Sword into skull with a slow decorative reveal of the brain spatter.
1:25:46 Themistocles is now riding a horse across ships. Yes, in the ocean.
1:27:46 There’s blood on the camera again.
1:28:34 This is what we call a Mexican standoff. Except between a Persian villainess and a Greek hero.
1:29:51 Lena Headey’s voiceover drifts into the scene. Surprise! Gorgo is actually on a ship sailing towards the battle. The sail unfurls dramatically as the Spartan force arrives just at the moment of standoff.
1:31:19 Is Artemisia wearing fishnet stockings?
1:31:46 And like the Uruk-hai of Middle-Earth before her and Shinzon of Remus before him, Artemisia drags herself forward on her slayer’s sword to die like the psycho villain she is.
1:33:10 The payoff of watching this entire shit-show is getting to see Gorgo take out Persians with a vengeance. She finally gets to wield a sword (not a euphemism) and is totally badass.
1:35:09 I suspect this closing credits song is Black Sabbath but my god is it jarring to go from Gorgo stabbing a man to a rock anthem with shrill vocals.
1:35:11 Still, thank god it’s over.
- Corinne Simpson