“This! Continues To Be! Sparta!” Alas those words were nowhere to be heard during the thirteen minute preview that Warner Bros. and #Klout held at their “Fan Event” last night for the forthcoming “300: Rise of an Empire.” In fact, we think the movie is going to end up starring not Spartans but Athenians — those “boy lovers” so mocked by King Leonidas in the 2007 original. While the sneak peek proved that nothing is ever going to be quite as miraculous as Zack Snyder's crypto-fascist green-screen masterpiece, this is definitely cut from the same gauzy, sheer, nipple-propped cloth.
Here are ten takeaways from the evening.
1. So, What Is This?
The movie begins with a clay relief dissolving into the last shot of the dead warriors from “300.” (Only this time in 3D.) Then the creepy androgynous Xerxes, gets all up in our grill with a humongous axe. Next thing you know, Lena Headey, the Queen from the first movie, is talking to armed men a few years later. So this is a sequel! Then she tells a story, about the battle of Marathon, which preceded the action at Thermopylae. So this is a prequel! But the build-up is actually leading to tell a story of other battles which happened kinda right before and maybe during and maybe even right after Thermopylae. So this is a…sidequel?
My God - we have a sidequel!
Boobs in the first three minutes. Big, jiggly 3D boobs as a “Greek” (so, y’know, very Anglo) woman is being yanked away by marauders.
3. The Snyder Effect
Zack Snyder is credited as a producer and co-writer, but did not direct. Commercial director Noam Murro is making his blockbuster debut (he previously helmed the dramedy "Smart People"), but he got the memo. It looks just like the first one did, with its bronze haze, intermittent slo-mo and ribbons of blood which artfully burst from pierced and punctured bodies. Only now, with the 3D, the blood looks like tomato paste.
4. Button Mashing
There’s a sequence — THE sequence, as far as I’m concerned — where “300” resembles a classic sidescroller. In this one, they clearly want to go bigger, so there are shots where the 360 chaos feels ripped direct from first person shooters. The target demo will, I’m sure, be happy.
5. Use Your Words?
So why are they fighting? I dunno. I kinda spaced out at the beginning when Lena Headey was yapping. But the big fight scene we see is Themistocles repelling the Persian King Darius at Marathon. As an arrow (the same type of arrow from the first movie) pierces Darius’ chest, his son runs in slow motion and makes a NOOOOOOOOO face. His eyes are described as having “the stink of destiny.” It’s possible I misheard this. Maybe Headey says “streak of destiny?” But that doesn’t quite make sense either. I’m sticking with “stink.” Either way, revenge will be his.