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Movie Review

300: Rise of an Empire

MPAA Rating: R for strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language.

Reviewed by: David Simpson
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action War Fantasy Drama Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
March 7, 2014 (wide—3,400+ theaters)
DVD: June 24, 2014
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

Greece / Xerxes and Persia in the Bible

war in the Bible

What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

murder in the Bible

death

Featuring: Lena HeadeyQueen Gorgo
Eva Green … Artemisia
Rodrigo Santoro … Xerxes
Sullivan Stapleton … Themistocles
Jack O’Connell … Calisto
David Wenham … Dilios
Scott Burn … Spartan Warrior
Callan Mulvey … Scyllias
Nancy McCrumb … Athenian Woman
Caitlin Carmichael … Young Artemisia—Age 8
more »
Director: Noam Murro
Producer: Warner Bros.
Legendary Pictures
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Prequel: “300” (2007)

The story of “300” is back! After the raving success of the heavily green-screened action film back in 2006, a follow-up was always going to be encouraged. This latest sequel, is not, however, what many would expect. First, it’s not a sequel. Second, it doesn’t involve much of Sparta at all. No one expected Gerard Butler’s Leonidas back, as he died at the end of “300.” There is, however, a new hero. Themistocles, an Athenian general, played by Sullivan Stapleton, is charged with protecting Greece from the weight of Xerxes and Persia’s almighty army. This is the same army seen in “300,” except this half is charged with conquering Athens.

We are given past history from the life of Xerxes, how he became the god-King, who gave him that power, and why he yearns to conquer the world. Themistocles fired an arrow 10 years previously to kill Darius, Xerxes’ father, and now he has to hold the king and his female warrior general, Artemisia (Eva Green). Her mighty fighting skills, quick wit, and insatiable desire for power and murder means she is nigh unbeatable. Themistocles leads the Greek navy to defend his country, his people, and democracy.

“300” had its fair share of questionable content. Don’t expect anything different from its little brother. This is a violent war film with plenty of R-rated violence, language, and sex. Here’s the breakdown.

Language: 2 f-words, one used in a sexual context. 3 other mild obscenities, and two uses of “the gods” in religious profanities.

Violence: Every form of stabbing, slashing, slicing, hacking and cutting in hand to hand combat. Men use swords, spears, axes and other weapons. Men are shot with arrows, burnt to death, drowned, are eaten by huge man-eating underwater creatures and are executed. You see all this in over-the-top detail, with large quantities of CGI blood. There are also gruesome decapitations and dismemberment of limbs. The violence is extreme and, in many instances, difficult to watch, despite the unrealistic style.

Sex/Nudity: There is a very unnecessary and extended sex scene between Artemisia and Themistocles. It’s of an intensely rough nature and serves no purpose, and rather under-handedly show us Thermistokles’ loyalty to his own Greek people. At the climax of this scene, her breasts are visible, and the side of his naked leg and abdomen. There are two occasions of rape—one seen in silhouette, and the other implied. The breasts of two naked women lying with a Persian general are seen, but this is brief.

The “300” franchise is popular and will get views, even if the prequel/sequel isn’t as good a film as its predecessor. It follows vaguely along with the old Greek religions of multiple gods. This is referenced on a couple of occasions with regards to success in battle or regarding decisions made. Obviously, as believers, we know that we set no other gods before the One and True God.

Exodus 20:3 “Set no other god before me.”

The film alludes to loyalty to country and the belief that family comes above other morals. That is, fornication, violence, murder and other such things are all acceptable, if they are part of victory and protecting one’s country. In reality, we must seek to be above reproach, to lead by example in all areas. Even in the case of war, or danger to family and home, we can’t allow ourselves to submit to immorality. God is more powerful than that, and desires for more for us.

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

What is sin? Answer

What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in dealing with followers of Christ? Answer

I enjoyed the visual spectacle this film provides. I watched it in IMAX 3D, and despite not being a 3D fan, I greatly this. Graphic and gory though it may be, it’s a man’s adrenalin filled rush. However, it’s not high quality storytelling. It has flaws, and lacks the genuinely unique feel of the 2006 version. I give it a 5/10 for storytelling. For visuals and entertainment, I give it an 8/10. Be aware, this is not a simple watch. It’s R-rated for a VERY good reason—not for kids, and not for teenagers either. The content, particularly the sex scene, could be easy temptation of the eyes; Eva Green is very seductive. Her character is also very twisted, with her thirst for murder.

Use extreme caution.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative
Negative—Well made movie that lacks any virtue or redeeming qualities for a person of faith to see it. I went to this movie expecting the same action, message and sense of virtue I loved about the first one. Lots of extreme violence against the same enemy, but gone is the type of virtuous leader we had in the first one. I should have left.

We have several “F” bombs, cursing and violent sex, as well as stylized ultraviolence with slo mo beheadings and hacking off of limbs. The sense of honor in defending your country from oppression is clouded by the general feel of this movie, and I suggest no lover of Jesus allow this into their eyes as I did. I left asking myself “Why didn’t I leave during this movie?”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Barrett, age 45 (USA)
Negative—Thank you Mr Simpson and Barrett for taking the time to review this film. I became born again 2 years ago, and I thank God everyday for his light in my life that has been transforming me ever since. 6 years ago, I saw the first “300” and enjoyed the story line, the Spartans use of asymmetrical warfare and the graphics of the film. Now that I am born again, I chose not to see the follow up film, however, my husband (who is not a believer) has. He knows the standards that I now live by and after seeing it told me that I certainly would not have liked the film, and he questioned whether I would have even stayed to see the film to the end. He did admit that he enjoyed the action scenes and the 3D effect though he admitted that it was consistently and excessively violent throughout and even glorified violence.

My husband further stated that the story line was not as strong as the first “300” and the actors as a whole were not as strong in comparison to the first “300.” It is of his opinion that Eva Green made the movie as far as acting capability is concerned. I was born and raised in the US but recently moved to the United Kingdom. Reading through the reviews of Mr Simpson, Barrett and listening to what my husband had to say about the film it is disturbing to me that in the UK this film is rated appropriate for those 15 and over.

As a Christian I am constantly striving to walk in the spirit and protect my body by guarding my eyes, ears, mouth and mind against that which is anti Christ. There are certainly Believers that can handle watching content such as this and not be effected in their faith by it, however, I am not one of them. I am certainly still at a point where I am still learning, developing and establishing my foundation and seeing this film would certainly offend me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Ra” Shawn, age 30 (United Kingdom)
Negative—I had a serious problem with this movie as a follower of Jesus Christ and as a history minor in college, because it is based upon lies!

1) Xerxes was not a god king; Xerxes was a follower of Zoroaster and as such would have never had people worship him. This is the same sect that produced the Magi who came to worship the Infant Jesus. They did not believe in god kings. If he had demanded their worship in this way, the people would have turned on him in a revolt.

2) Xerxes was the spouse of Queen Esther. Most historians believe that Xerxes was also called Ahasuerus. The person described in the Bible had his faults, but an insistence on demigod-hood was not one of them. This portrait was an offense to both Biblical and secular history and distorted the character of someone whom God used to defend the Chosen People of the Old Covenant.

3) King Darius I of Persia was not killed by General Themistocles of Athens. In the movie, Xerxes’ father, Darius I was killed by the Greeks, thus setting up his need for “revenge.” The truth is that Darius was on his way to invade Greece when a revolt broke out in Egypt. He ended up trying to settle that revolt before his health failed. Darius I died in bed from natural causes. The movie version of his death is a lie from start to finish.

4) Artemisia was entirely different from Eva Green’s portrayal. First of all, Artemisia was queen of Halicarnassus, which was made up of a mixed Greek and Crete population. She came from noble blood and ascended the throne after the death of her husband. She was a good mother and queen, not some dirty temptress as the movie tried to make her out to be. That scene between her and the leader of the Greek was porn for the sake of selling tickets. It never happened. It demeaned both characters and showed the sheer ignorance of the writers and their dirty minds, nothing more. She was not the one who led the navies out in that final battle. In fact, she advised against it. Neither did she die in the attack. She led her ship well, but left before she could be captured. Xerxes respected her so much that he gave her a suit of Greek armor and gave distaffs to the other naval leaders! She later told Xerxes to return to other campaigns and leave off going after the Greeks. He listened to her advice and rewarded her. Some silly legend written 1,300 years after her death said she killed herself for love when she grew old, but most believe that Artemisia died of natural causes years later, after this war. In any case, what the film showed was totally a lie.

I hate the distortions that people parade around as history. Lying is a sin but lying and calling it history is an offense to the Lord Who is Truth and leads to all kinds of mischief and propaganda. As a former history minor and a Christian pastor this movie should be condemned for historical lying, unnecessary sexual scenes, and violence so over the top that it was sickening. Disgusting!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Trimelda, age 59 (USA)

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