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It's written by a staff writer of a major newspaper in NJ.  Dd told me about and I thought the board would enjoy a tongue-in-cheek movie review.  



'300: Rise of an Empire' review: It's Greek to me

Stephen Whitty/The Star-Ledger By Stephen Whitty/The Star-Ledger 
on March 06, 2014 at 4:18 PM, updated March 06, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Sing, Muse! Of the Woods of Holly, and the land of angels, and that storm-tossed, Campari-dark sea from which all the blessings of the gods flow, most beloved those that come with international rights and multi-platform merchandising opportunities.


For there was once a movie called "300," and it told a tale of ancient Sparta, when men were men, and boys were men, and everyone was manly together and so the sad women worshipped Bacchus, and book clubs, and went antiquing on the Isle of Lesbos.


But then came an invasion of mad Persians, who wielded fantastic weapons and great wonders, riding armies of elephants bearing stores of fine waxes and moisturizers, for their torsos were denuded and their faces were like unto a Bieber.


And they did battle, and the brave Spartans were slaughtered, but the storerooms of the Woods of Holly were filled with gold. And there was much rejoicing, even to the most junior assistant.


And Lo! Now comes upon us "300: Rise of an Empire," which is both a prequel and a sequel to the original tale, only with more bloodspilling and slow-motion, and even less wit or truth.


For this tale begins with the Battle of Marathon, in which Persia's King Darius is killed by an arrow from the bow of Themistokles, and while Herodotus would rend his garments to hear history so badly spelled and rewritten, what does he know from a great opener?


So swiftly, with the winged feet of Hermes, we return to Persia, where Darius' mourning son Xerxes is transformed by enchantment into some bejeweled creature who calls himself a god-king, but looks as if he did lose round one on RuPaul's reality show.


And Xerxes desires revenge against Athens and so sends his greatest warrior, Artemisia, for even though she is a beautiful woman, she is butch enough for both of them. Yet defeated too she is at first, even though offscreen the Spartans are still losing their own battle back in the original "300," perhaps in some adjacent amphitheater.


So — let now the final conflict begin!




But no, there is first more manly strutting, and posing, and voguing about, with every chest shaved and oiled and crisscrossed with leather straps until even the oracle of Delphi could not tell if they were going to invade Persia or just that bar down by the docks.


And Themistokles, who is played by Sullivan Stapleton, grimaces mightily, as if he were carrying Atlas' very burden, or maybe trying to pass a stone. And Artemisia, whom Eve Green inhabits, doffs her breastplate and disports herself in a way unfitting a former Bond Girl, not to mention someone who once made a Bertolucci movie.


And finally our players, all voiced of Britannia and buffed by gym, do at last meet at the Battle of Salamis, which alas is not pronounced the way the movie's Teamsters hoped, although by the gods that sounds like a good description of this film.


And there is much grinding of teeth, and mauling of history, and anachronistic use of gunpowder, until we plug our ears and desperately pray to the gods of Olympus, or the brothers of Warner, that they might make an end.


But they do not, for many eons.


And now that they have, and the film's entrails are spread before us as if at a divination, or the lunch spread at that deli downtown with the nice stuffed derma, what more can we make of it? What lessons can we take from its gleeful xenophobia, nudity, violence and gore?


That if it makes enough drachmas, not all the sons and daughters of Zeus can save us from another.


Ratings note: The film contains violent sex and supposedly sexy violence.


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