Eva Green Emboldens 300: Rise of an Empire

Eva Green: A B.C. Morticia Addams.
Eva Green: A B.C. Morticia Addams.

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300: Rise of an Empire, starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, and David Wenham. Directed by Noam Murro. Written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad. 102 minutes. Rated R.

Man, woman, gay, straight, bi: There's something for everyone in 300: Rise of an Empire, the XXL sequel to the also-larger-than-life Greeks-in-shinguards extravaganza 300. In that picture, directed by Zack Snyder and based on Frank Miller's graphic novel about the three-day Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., the Spartans and their small but mighty army kicked the asses of the Persians, with much yelling, grunting, and spilling of black-red CGI blood. 300: Rise of an Empire might have been essentially more of the same, but for one distinction that makes it 300 times better than its predecessor: Mere mortals of Athens, Sparta, and every city from Mumbai to Minneapolis, behold the magnificent Eva Green and tremble! This time around, Athenian warrior Themistocles, gentle-spirited but tough as a lion's claw, is the star — he's played by Sullivan Stapleton, who musters at least a few whiskers' worth of authority. But really, who's looking at him? Green's Artemisia is something to behold. She makes her entrance in a fringed leather gown with a molded breastplate, sweeping into the Persian palace like a B.C. Morticia Addams. Her over-the-topness — and, in one scene, her resplendent toplessness — really gets Rise of an Empire cooking. Artemisia commands her naval warriors as if she were telling them what to do in bed: "Today we will dance across the backs of dead Greeks," she purrs, pronouncing the word "dance" as "dahnse" — because that's what an all-powerful enchantress would do. When she lowers her kohl-rimmed eyes, the sailors hear, and they obey. They'll kill for her, and they'll die for her. Green makes it all look like dahnsing.
 
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