Monday, March 10, 2014

300: Rise of an Empire

So, over the weekend my man and I went to see this movie:

Did I like it?  Why yes, yes I did, quite a bit actually.  Those of you who are discerning, elevated film watchers might now be asking yourself, "Why?"

The truth is, this movie is just the kind of camp I love.  It's incredibly violent without, for the most part, degenerating into porny, torturey rape and pillage (note I say for the most part--there's a glaring exception I'll get to in a moment), it has some very good actors who are capable of giving quite stirring versions of their frankly ridiculous speeches, it has a lot of gorgeous nearly naked men--always a win in my book--and most especially it has sea battles.

Yeah, you heard me.  I have a special nerdy love for sea battles.  My favorite time period is the Napoleonic era, but I'll take the Bronze Age in a heartbeat.

Oh, you sexy triremes you.  I don't care that some of the tactics seemed, well, ridiculous--major, major points for doing battle at sea and making it gripping and frightening and beautiful.

What, plot?  Well...there isn't much plot, honestly.  This occurs concurrently with the last 300 movie, and it's mostly "save a united Greece" for the Greeks and "kill all the Greeks" for the Persians.  We get a lot of speeches with a lot of yelling, especially about GLORY!  HONOR!  VENGEANCE!  FREEEEEDOOOOM!!! The most character development is actually given to our villain, the female commander of the Persian navy, Artemisia.  We get to see how she got to her position of power, why she hates the Greeks so much, we understand her motivation and admire her commitment even when we're supposed to be rooting for the other guys.  Her lackeys are, well, lackeys, but Artemisia more than makes up for the lack of depth in the rest of the bad guys.

Artemisia is the character I loved the best, but I took umbrage with a description of her given by one of the film's producers: "Talk about female empowerment!"  Yes, talk about murdering a young girl's family, turning her into a sex slave, raping her unto near death before abandoning her where she's picked up off the street for no apparent reason and turned into a merciless warrior, watch her learn to transform her pain at her own life into merciless hatred and blind ambition, watch her do the same thing to others that was done to her, watch her die at the hands of the only person in the whole damn movie she respected, and then equate that to the way women get empowered?  Yikes.  You broke and remade her for evil, you didn't empower her.

Anyway...yeah.  300: Rise of an Empire, lots of good, gory fun.

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