Rise of an Empire (1/10)
coincidence that the only 30 seconds worth watching in this dismal
attempt at entertainment are the same 30 seconds that Eva Green, playing
Artemisia, doffs her shirt and fights topless. Other than that all you
see are really stupid Greeks in loin cloths cutting off other peopleís
heads, thrusting swords in their chests causing blood to spurt all over
Greece, and some of the most lackluster lines ever written ("Anger is
something I reserve for my enemies.").
always hear about how brilliant the Athenians were, the cradle of
democracy, Socrates and Plato and Aristotle and all that. But if this
picture is to be believed, the rest of the Athenians were dumber than a
rock. While their opponents in this film, the Persians, are bedecked in
armor from head to foot, the Athenians go into every battle bare chested
and bare legged (the movie is set in approximately 480 B.C., during
Platoís heyday). The only thing they protect is their privates and then
just with a little leather.
worry about their poorly protected privates, though, because they and
the Persians are only interested in thrusting swords through chests,
slitting throats, or cutting off heads. And we see lots and lots and
lots of that, always followed by blood spurting out of the wound. There
is so much blood that barely a minute goes by without some pouring out
of someoneís head or slit throat or cut off arm. Those eye-averting
scenes seem to be the entire raison díÍtre of the film.
whatís worse is the desecration of history. This is supposed to be the
story of a Greek naval victory, led by Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton)
over Persians led by Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro)
Artemisia, and Artemisia is pictured as a thoroughly disreputable
whatís known about Artemisia, and, indeed, this entire period of Greek
history, comes mostly from Herodotus, a Greek historian who was born in
484 BC, four years before the battle of Salamis, the battle about which
this film concentrates.
Herodotus paints Artemisia as brilliant and heroic, rather than the
despicable villain presented here by director Noam Murro and writers
Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad (along with a credit to Frank Miller for a
graphic novel that has never appeared). These filmmakers show her to be
a Greek whose family was killed by Athenians, subjected to sexual
slavery before being rescued by Persians who converted her into a
vicious killing machine. But according to Herodotus, really the only
source for all these people, Artemisia was Halicarnassian (Greek) on her
father Lygdamis' side and Cretan on her mother's and there is no mention
anywhere (that I can find, anyway) of the horrid life they show her as
leading. He says she was a brilliant advisor to Xerxes who followed what
she suggested which was almost always accurate.
to that is the filmís allegation that the Persians presented armed
forces consisting of one million men. In fact, most people believe that
their forces consisted of approximately 60,000, even though their empire
consisted of about 44 million of the 112 million people alive then.
Thereís one aerial shot of the two navies approaching one another
showing the Persians with what looks like (and is represented to be)
1,000 ships and the Greeks with five. Yet the Greeks prevail (thanks in
large part to the arrival of the Spartans in the nick of time ŗ la John
Wayneís Cavalry). All of this is ridiculous, shameful, and
final denouement is particularly galling in its blatant falsity and
absurdity. The filmmakers had an opportunity to educate people about an
important period of ancient history. Instead they present this tawdry
piece of sensationalized, stylistic junk, with barely an iota of
accuracy, that can only appeal to video game fanatics.
fact, this is the epitome of sexism. Artemisia was an heroic woman, one
of the most powerful in the history of the world and these dolts choose
to make her a cartoon villain. In one of the few positives, Eva Green
gives a wonderful performance, despite the ghastly script.
film is not only shameful in its treatment of history, its graphic violence
should qualify it for an NC-17 rating. Worse, although this movie is in 3D and filmed
in color, it is so dark that it might as well be in black and white. I
pity the poor Greeks if the climate was this terrible in the 4th
and 5th Century BC.
Finally, what became of Themistokles? He was apparently an arrogant
abuser of power and was forced out by the Athenians 9 years later. He
fled Greece, and ended up in the service of the King of Persia,
Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes, the enemies he defeated to save Greece. I
donít know how Artemisia died, but I know it wasnít the way depicted in
this silly movie.