Monday 10 March 2014

Review: 300 - Rise Of An Empire

World of Blackout Film Review

300: Rise Of An Empire (3D) Poster

300: Rise Of An Empire (3D)
Cert: 15 / 102 mins / Dir. Noam Murro
WoB Rating: 3/7

Here's the deal, Warner Bros, perceived film-experiences degrade over time. A movie that has audiences skipping out of the auditorium may not hold that buzz, and the next day, the same people won't be telling people "OMG, you HAVE to see that!" but more of a "Yeah, it was really good". Three months later, when it hits DVD, the same loyal customers could well be thinking "Well, I've seen it, so I might wait until it drops to a fiver before I buy it". So when a group of men in their early twenties - your target demographic, remember - stand up during the closing credits loudly professing "Well, it was alright, wasn't it?, you've pretty much failed. That's the best thing those people are ever going to say about your film, right there. Think on that, WB, before commissioning another installment.

It's not too long into the Snyder-produced 300: Rise Of An Empire that you realise if all the slow-motion shots were just played in real-time, the film would be about 45 minutes long. This sequel runs pretty much parallel to the 2006 original (although also covers the before-and-after periods), and appears to be an excuse for stylised violence, plodding exposition, and a sex-scene in which we see Eva Green's boobies. All three of these are laboured way past the point of enjoyment.

Rise Of An Empire has a distinctly different visual feel to its predecessor. Painted in blues and greys rather than reds and ochres, darker and less reliant on the hyper-reality of CGI'd sets, it certainly feels like an advancement. But the effort of the production design seems to be wasted on stilted dialogue and stirring speeches that have all the passion of a pizza delivery order being read out over the phone. I haven't been this bored by a film that looked so good since Sucker Punch (which also had Snyder's stamp on it, co-incidentally*1). The film feels far longer than its 100 minutes to the point where, in preparation for the battle-finale, even the aforementioned group of young men behind me started groaning and audibly rolling their eyes. You can't tell someone to shush when you agree with them.

Never before have oiled chests, guyliner and countless plumes of lava-lamp blood contributed to a film so spectacularly dull. Then again, I wasn't a massive fan of the last one either, so that could go some way to explaining it.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
The trailer isn't holding back any real surprises, put it that way.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Afraid not.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I wouldn't say so.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Cinema if you like underused 3D and watching uncomfortably long sex-scenes in a public space.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I will, a bit.

Will I watch it again?
Highly unlikely.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
Not that I heard, although there was ample opportunity, so I may well have missed one.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Tell me why I'm wrong. Please.

*1 And I say that as someone who, generally speaking enjoys Snyder's work.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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