300: Rise of an Empire!

The movie 300 sparked a rekindled interest in things Spartan (but not things Michigan State.) The phrase, molon labe (come and get ’em) resurfaced and now Hollyland is looking at another take on the brand:

Sparta’s warriors may have waged fierce land battles in the 2006 box-office hit 300, but they hadn’t even gotten their feet wet yet.

In the parallel film 300: Rise of an Empire (out Aug. 2), which takes place at about the same time as its predecessor, Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his common-man troops fight the rest of the Persian army at sea.

300- Rise of an Empire
300- Rise of an Empire

The aquatic setting allows for a completely new dynamic — even if both films take their stylized look from the original graphic novel by Frank Miller.

Empire “is tied visually to the original,” says director Noam Murro, but with so much happening within small boats, “there is a whole different choreography of fighting and war.”

The sea battle also allows the scale of the movie to change. The first 300 took place primarily on a narrow pass known as the “Hot Gates,” where the Spartans sought tactical advantage due to their significantly smaller numbers. But Empire “happens over time in many different locations,” says Murro. “The opportunities for the six distinct battles are even greater with different locations and tactics.”

he David-vs.-Goliath theme remains intact, however.

“The few against the many is still here,” says Murro. “It’s hundreds vs. hundreds of thousands. It’s about taking on the mightiest power of all with wisdom and tactics.”

In this case, the mightiest power is primarily led by Artemesia (Eva Green), the vengeful commander of the Persian navy, who is second in command to the mortal-turned-god leader Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). She has the added incentive of seeking to settle a blood score against the Greeks who killed her family when she was a child.

Should it not be called 301?