300: Rise of an Empire, Blu-ray 3D & 2D+DVD+ UV Digital Copy (2014)Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey Directed by: Noam Murro Studio: Warner Brothers Home Ent. [6/24/14] Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced 1080p HD Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA; French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese Extras: “Behind the Scenes: The 300 Effect” featurette; “Real Leaders & Legends” featurette; “Women Warriors” featurette; “Savage Warships” featurette; “Becoming a Warrior” featurette; “Jupiter Ascending” preview trailer Length: 103 minutes Movie Rating: ***1/2 3D Video: ****1/2 2D Video: ***** Audio: *****
300: Rise of an Empire is the sequel to the 2007 hit film 300. Similar in visual style to the first movie, this sequel pits Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his soldiers against an onslaught of invading Persian forces. The Persian forces are ruled by the god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) with its navy led by the beautiful yet deadly Artemisia (Eva Green). Though Themistokles and his men fight valiantly and intelligently, the Persians vastly outnumber the Greeks. Themistokles realizes that his only chance at victory is to unite all nations of Greece, including the fiercely independent Sparta, against this common foe. While not quite as good as the original 300 in terms of storyline, 300: Rise of an Empire is still action-packed, mindless fun. The visual and audio presentation is something to behold and, in my opinion, surpasses that of its predecessor. If you are a fan of 300, then you will certainly want to add 300: Rise of an Empire to your collection. Recommended. The overall high-definition video quality of the 2D Blu-ray presentation is excellent. Images are crisp with intricate detail. Black levels are lush and deep throughout the movie. Colors, intentionally stylized with desaturated hues, are nonetheless striking and vibrant. Picture defect mastering is well-done with no major flaws or compression artifacts. The 3D video is of the post-conversion variety. Colors and black levels faithfully mimic the 2D version. Separation, dimensionality and depth of the 3D image are impressive. There are several pop-out effects that appear to extend beyond the screen (such as blood splatters, sword and arrow tips, and ocean spray), but the majority of the 3D effects are inward-looking. The overall audio quality is also excellent with the DTS HD-MA 7.1 track. The soundtrack is dynamic, bold and makes full use of all discrete channels. Dialogue is intelligible and correctly prioritized among the forward channels. The surround channels are aggressively utilized for the sound effects and music score, plus include multiple split rear effects and directional pans. The low frequency effects channel is thunderous and potent. —Calvin Harding Jr.