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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 103 minutes, featurettes, DVD, digital Ultraviolet HD copy

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO:  English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 DD, Portuguese 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

 

STUDIO: Warner Bros. Pictures/ Legendary Pictures/ Hollywood Gang/ Cruel and Unusual Pictures

Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 3-7-2014

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE Date: 6-24-2014

300 was one of the better movies from director Zack Synder.   There is an expansion of the mythology of 300 in movies based on comics written and drawn by frank Miller (in fictionalized retellings of real historic battles).  300: THE RISE OF AN EMPIRE acts as prequel, side story to the 300, and sequel to the first movie.  The naval battles are the center piece of this movie other than the over-the-top grand performance by Eva Green as the Persian naval commander Artemisia (who is also the grand manipulator of Persian God King Xeres in her quest of revenge against the Greeks).  Artemisia is equally skilled in battle as she is in sex (as witnessed in a scene between her and Greek General Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) which is one part brawl/ one part rough sex scene). Stapleton almost matches Eva Green in the scenes they are in together, but Eva always comes out on top regardless of her character’s fate.   300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE blends CGI and actual set pieces more smoothly than in 300 (which was more of a style over substance movie that was trying to be a film version of Frank Miller’s comic down to some of the visuals of the comic itself).

 

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE is best seen as a companion piece or another chapter of the 300 saga which fills in the gaps and expands on the universe.   It starts with the fateful battle between the Greeks and Persians ten years ago where one decision by Themistokles leads to the rebirth of Xeres as a God King bent on revenge as manipulated by Artemisia (who was beaten and raped by Greeks when she was child before being left for dead to be taken in by the Persians who trained her to be a warrior).  The movie then goes into the events happening while the Spartan King leads 300 men against the Persians and the events after the 300 had fallen.   It is like chess match between two equally clever opponents as Artemisia tries to break the back of the small Greek fleet and Themistokles using clever tactics to beat back the advancing fleet.   Artemisia admires the tactics of her opponent which she sees as an equal in her yearning to have someone she can trust to be at her side.  Fans of 300 will love this one and straight action films fans might even dig it too and definitely anyone who wants to see a deadly badass woman take power in a world controlled by men.  I know I loved it for the great action and an awesome scene stealing turn by Eva Green.   I definitely like it better than the first 300.  

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

BEHIND THE SCENES: THE 300 EFFECT:

3 DAYS IN HELL (7:08)-

BRUTAL ARTISTRY (9:08)- go behind-the-scenes as you hear  from Patrick Tatopoulos talk about bringing new production design to 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

A NEW BREED OF HERO (4:49)- Focusing on Themistokles, the real person and the character in the movie

TAKING THE BATTLE TO SEA (8:52)- behind-the-scenes of how they created the battles at sea on ship sets against green screen where they created the water in post along with creating blood in post along with using various type of prop swords to finish the effects of the weapon going into people (with effects work).

 

REAL LEADERS & LEGENDS (22:52)- a look at the real people the characters are based on and learn how Artemisia’s fate is different in history from the movie that features interviews with historians including Bettany Hughes.   They also talk about the actual history and how history was turned into myth.

WOMEN WARRIORS (12:22)- a little overlap from the previous featurette as the focus turns on comparing the women characters in history vs. the movie

SAVAGE WARSHIPS (10:36)- a look at the production design of the ships of 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE and making sure they got the look of the ships (Triremes) right (and how they worked and designed) along with interviews with historians and the producers and Patrick Tatopoulos

BEHIND THE SCENES: BECOMING A WARRIOR (4:39)- a look at the training the cast went through to get in shape for the movie and learn the skills needed to do the fights

 

Movie on DVD in Standard Definition and a code to download and stream a digital HD Ultraviolet copy among several devices (TV, computer, tablet, smartphone)

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE is a better movie than 300 with better effects, impressive naval battles, and a scene stealing turn by Eva Green.   The extras are worth watching if you want to learn about the real history of 5th century Greece during the time of the 300 movies and how the movie was made.

 

This review is 6-27-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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