I am legitimately angry about this film. Partly because I’m an ancient historian, partly because I consider myself largely not-racist and not-misogynist, partly because I have eyes, and partly because this movie is the kind of awful that I find it hard to describe without four-letter words. Also because 300 was silly but enjoyable, and I thought this might come close to that success. But no.

It didn’t seem to involve much care at all, so I’m not going to give it the benefit of an argument, just provide slightly-edited versions of my notes.

Notes:

  • We start off with the rationale for Xerxes’ invasion of Greece, and it is INSANE. It does get us some bitchin’ Marathon footage, in which…okay, the Persians look like Arabs, and Darius looks a tiny bit like Persian kings were portrayed, and then is KILLED BY THEMISTOCLES AT MARATHON WHICH DID NOT HAPPEN AT ALL. His son is there, and that’s nice because it’s pre-androgynous monster and is just as hot as regular Rodrigo Santoro, but bad because…
  • THIS allows Crazy Eva Green (as Artemisia of Caria, sort of, who was indeed a queen and indeed commanded ships at Salamis) to manipulate Xerxes into going insane in the desert and becoming that gold giant we all know and hate, and… now we can literally blame the second Persian invasion of Greece on a witch-like woman, so that’s a blow for feminism and reason. Herodotus blamed it on a woman, too, but way back, and not entirely out of insane personal spite.
  • The Athenians also fight almost naked, of course—but in blue cloaks and in skirts instead of diapers, but we are constantly reminded of the diaper-wearing, ultra-violent, petulant Spartans, so… that’s good too?
  • The effects seem worse, but it is not less stupidly violent. On the plus side, we do get Xerxes’ sweet-ass pontoon bridge across the Hellespont.
  • It gets a little bit hazy here, and all I have is:
    Australian Themistocles… I don’t like it
    HANS MATHESON
    WTF IS HAPPENING
  • It gets a little better when Themistocles goes to ask for (presumably non-existent) Spartan ships? But Gorgo laughs at a united Greece, which… seems questionable; also they can’t afford Gerard Butler or he’s too fat.
  • Oh, right! Artemisia’s backstory. She’s not queen of Caria, here, but instead a woman whose entire family was raped and killed by a roving band of hoplites, and then she was apparently the woman that a slave ship kept around to abuse, and then she was left for dead until she was raised to be a death-obsessed ninja by some Persian aristocrat. Yup, okay. So this one is personal too. Makes total sense.
  • The writing is just catastrophically terrible; literally all the talking is exposition, and it’s clumsy exposition.
  • There is a complete misunderstanding of how Athenian armies AND navies work, which is fun…
  • OH! And then Artemisia tries to suborn Themistocles, with booze and her cleavage and then, of course, they hate-bone, and it’s gross and terrible on pretty much every level.
  • We… had not done our homework on what was on the Acropolis when the Persians burned it, and the Spartans did not arrive like the goddamn US Marines.

ARGH. So I’m very angry, and not just because we only sort of sneezed in the direction of Herodotus. You could make a movie just as good as 300 about Salamis, but you might have to try, and you might have to make the sequence of events intelligible, and you might have to write dialogue, or try to make people make sense, or not embarrass Eva Green, or something.

Director: Noam Murro
Rating: R
Length: 102 min., most of which was battle, and yet, somehow, boring.
Score: 0/5. Honestly, don’t watch it. It is none of the kinds of fun of the first one and all of the kinds of terrible.

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