In the mid-2000s, films like Sin City and 300 brought us a hyper-stylized wave of filmmaking that combined exaggerated slow-motion with over-saturated colors and dance-like fight choreography. They paved the way for a slew of films in the same vein like Clash of the Titans, The Legend of Hercules and Pompeii.
Well, if you’re not sick of the trend yet, 300: Rise of an Empire hits theaters next week and Warner Bros. has released an extended TV trailer for those of us who still get a kick out of these over-the-top films. Unfortunately, this trailer doesn’t feature an awesome use of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” but we do get a little more oomph and Gerard Butler-worthy yelling from Themistocles, the Greek general played by Sullivan Stapleton (Strike Back).
300: Rise of an Empire was directed by Noam Murro after 300 director Zack Snyer opted instead to pursue Man of Steel. Snyder didn’t sit this one out completely, however. He co-wrote the script with Kurt Johnstad, drawing inspiration from Frank Miller’s comic Xerxes. The movie will feature elements of both a prequel and a sequel (it’s being referred to as a “mid-quel”) to the 2006 film. The prequel portions will show us Xerxes’ (Rodrigo Santoro) rise as a Persian leader and the development of his God complex, seemingly urged on by Artemisia (Eva Green), commander of the Persian navy. An earlier featurette gave us a bit of Artemisia’s backstory, with her vicious hatred of the Greeks having spawned from the fact that they slaughtered her entire family when she was a child.
This is where the plot might get a little convoluted, as we know that the Battle of Thermopylae and the naval Battle of Artemisium happened concurrently, but scenes in a number of trailers featuring Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) and Thermistocles suggest that they’re planning some type of bloody vengeance for the deaths of the 300 Spartans. Given that the imagery used in these types of films can get a little repetitive anyway, just how much time can we expect the story to focus on a rehash of a seven-year-old movie?
Either way, this storyline definitely implies that the battles will be a little more even-handed this round. After the 300 Spartans almost managed to defeat wave after wave of Xerxes’ forces at the Battle of Thermopylae, the navy led by Themistocles for this film is exponentially larger. It sounds like 300: Rise of an Empire will be a little less David vs. Goliath a little more Goliath vs. Goliath.
300: Rise of an Empire opens March 7, 2014
Follow Casey on Twitter @CaseyCip