Wednesday, May 3, 2017

By the Gods!

Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) discuss strategies amidst a pastoral setting of Sparta in 300 : RISE OF AN EMPIRE (2014)

The entire film was shot in 'green screen,' meaning everything (sets, exteriors, even sometimes costumes) were added later via CGI. I'm not a fan of this at all. It feels like the actors are never physically present anywhere. They're just standing there, in emptiness, with the camera basically remaining static and motion provided by the added computer generated imagery all around them, usually in slow motion. Some of the imagery is beautiful but most of it looks like a computer game. The Spartan landscape in the image above is hopelessly fake looking. Things aren't helped much with cringe dialogue. Stapleton lacks the gravitas Butler had in 300 (2006). Headey reprises her role as Queen Gorgo. Women are shown as equality strong as the much taller and muscular men, which always makes me laugh. But the film does continue with the old tradition started back in the Golden Era of the PEPLUM genre : the accent is on muscular heroes. BTW, the film is 90 minutes long but the end credit is 10 minutes in length!!!


Scott Ochiltree said...

I agree entirely! CGI is just about always disappointing.

Richard Svensson said...

I managed, with some effort, to enjoy "300". The dialogue was idiotically simplistic, and the movie was, in essence, just eye candy. I liked "300: The Rise of an Empire" even less, struggling to maintain my interest in the plot and characters. These films are so stylistic that I can't relate to them, which is a pity. I think a gritty, more realistically-oriented take on the subject would've produced a pair of fascinating films.

On the subject of using green screen I am a bit biased. Many years ago the Peplum blog kindly published a link to my own little peplum epic "The King Who Sought Immortality", which is a simple take on the Gilgamesh epic, basically. It was all shot in front of a blue screen, and I couldn't have made the film any other way. To me using greenscreen effects have opened up vistas of possibilities for me as a video storyteller. It's an invaluable tool for me. I'm not really able to present a convincingly realistic depiction of my fantasy worlds, but I can at least show a representation of them.