Sex, Gore Found in ‘300’ Prequel

Nathan Fisher

Illustration by Julie Peterson.

Seven years ago, Gerard Butler brought his metal thong, sword, graphic violence, 300 friends and (most importantly) his six-pack abs to the big screen. Now in 2014, “300” finally gets a prequel, “300: Rise of an Empire,” with unbelievably more blood, more gore and more sex. The original “300” is definitely the better movie, but “300: Rise of an Empire” met one of my favorite past times––mindless entertainment.

“300: Rise of an Empire” definitely needed the Spartan queen to narrate and explain the switch between how the sequel takes place before, alongside and after the original “300” movie. Rodrigo Santoro reprises his role as the evil Xerxes, who sells his soul to become a “god-king” of Persia in order to avenge the death of his father by declaring war against Greece. Originally, 300 Spartans seemed to be the last defense against Xerxes’s destruction of Greece, but this is not so. Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), another chainmail-clad stud muffin, led a band of Greek naval warriors against Xerxes by sea. Themistokles’s goal was not to win his battle, but to give Butler’s men enough time to make a stand and unite all of Greece to fight for their freedom.

The bad-guy Persian navy is actually led by bad-gal Artemisia (Eva Green). Green’s performance was terrifying and scared the crap out of me. Artemisia’s form of leadership was command by intimidation––disappoint your commander-in-chief and off with your head, followed by a quick kiss (with tongue) on the lips before your head is tossed overboard. Gross, yes, but effective at making Artemisia’s men work harder not to disappoint her!

Needless to say, tidal waves of blood are spilled as the brave Themistokles leads his men to fight for their freedom in this 300-at-sea film against Artemisia’s navy. Many characters from the original film such as the Spartan queen, played by Lena Headey, and the hunchback traitor, played by Andrew Tiernan, are back for more blood and guts. Unfortunately, the unique visuals and slow-motion violence and gore that seemed groundbreaking seven years ago in “300” seem rather dull and unimpressive in this prequel. Although grand battles are always fun to watch, I missed Gerard Butler’s commanding presence. Sure, Green stole the show, but neither she nor any other warrior had the charisma to get their army or (most importantly) me pumped for battle. No one shouted Butler’s famous and memorable lines, such as “Tonight we dine in hell!” But one thing was held constant. There were still PLENTLY of half- (and fully) naked men and women fighting to the death every minute. So if you’re looking for gushing blood, unattached limbs and air-brushed abs, “300: Rise of an Empire” is the mediocre movie to see.