A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 300: Rise of an Empire is the sequel to the violent hit 300, with the story taking place before, during, and after the events of the original. The violence in the new movie is artificial and fantasy-based, but extremely bloody, with many fight scenes, sliced-up bodies, severed heads and limbs, and huge gushes of spraying blood. There's also a subplot about an abused girl, with sexual abuse strongly suggested. The movie contains a sex scene that plays more like a fight than lovemaking, and female toplessness is shown for several minutes. Another woman is topless in a brief scene, and many chiseled, musclebound men are shown shirtless throughout. The movie clearly contains one use each of "f--k" and "c--k," and a possible second use during a noisy crowd scene.
What's the story?
Set before, during and after the events of 300 (2007), the story turns to Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), who wishes to unite all of Greece in a new democracy. The Spartans oppose his idea, and he must go to war against the powerful Persian navy, led by the vengeful warrior Artemisia (Eva Green) and the half-God king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). But when the 300 Spartans die in battle, they become martyrs, bringing all the fighting forces together for one cause. Unfortunately Themistocles and Artemisia have some personal history together that complicates things.
Is it any good?
The film starts with droning exposition -- explaining a plot that is historically inaccurate anyway -- and adds wooden dialogue and stilted speeches. Then it throws in a boatload of posing, shirtless, chiseled, bearded men that are difficult to tell apart from one another. This is followed by an ongoing array of slow-motion sequences of swords slicing into bodies, limbs, and heads, and huge sprays of fake-looking computer-generated blood. Dust often floats in the foreground to highlight the 3D.
The monotony of the rest of the movie throws into sharp relief one character, the fierce, chilly warrior Artemisia (Eva Green). Green can't do much with this one-dimensional role, but she's by far the best thing in the movie. Zack Snyder adapted Frank Millers graphic novel, while Noam Murro directed. The final product is brutal and boring, though it will no doubt entertain the many fans of the hit original.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. Does the movie go over-the-top? Is the violence realistic? Entertaining? What is the appeal of movies like this?
Does the movie have a message about working together, or is it more focused on the idea of revenge?
Is the movie's sex scene based more on violence, or on love?
- In theaters: March 7, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: June 24, 2014
- Cast: Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Sullivan Stapleton
- Director: Noam Murro
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and fantasy
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language
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