The Dissolve

A playground for movie lovers

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Since 2006, the number of action-adventure movies and TV series set in the ancient world has increased exponentially, and a large number of them have tried to ape 300’s look: the overtly artificial CGI backdrops, bronzed colors, forced perspectives, and slow-motion, super-heroic action…
Even now, with the prequel/sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire (directed by Noam Murro, and set before, during, and after the events of 300), the look of the film is integral to its appeal. Rise Of An Empire fudges the actual history of the conflict between the Greeks and Persians, and whenever the characters stand around and talk, the movie becomes stilted and shouty, revealing nothing resembling nuance or depth. But when the globules of computer-generated blood are flying majestically through the air on the battlefield, or a fleet of Athenian ships is ramming into Persian vessels on roiling seas, Rise Of An Empire is honestly pretty badass. It’s just that it’s less badass now than it was eight years ago. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in this case, the glut of post-300 CGI-heavy movies about gods and gladiators has turned what once seemed fresh into a visual cliché.

Noel Murray, on how special-effects innovations from morphing to bullet-time to 300's slow-then-fast timing tricks get picked up and quickly worn out by a novelty-hungry film industry. [Full essay here.]

Since 2006, the number of action-adventure movies and TV series set in the ancient world has increased exponentially, and a large number of them have tried to ape 300’s look: the overtly artificial CGI backdrops, bronzed colors, forced perspectives, and slow-motion, super-heroic action…

Even now, with the prequel/sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire (directed by Noam Murro, and set before, during, and after the events of 300), the look of the film is integral to its appeal. Rise Of An Empire fudges the actual history of the conflict between the Greeks and Persians, and whenever the characters stand around and talk, the movie becomes stilted and shouty, revealing nothing resembling nuance or depth. But when the globules of computer-generated blood are flying majestically through the air on the battlefield, or a fleet of Athenian ships is ramming into Persian vessels on roiling seas, Rise Of An Empire is honestly pretty badass. It’s just that it’s less badass now than it was eight years ago. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in this case, the glut of post-300 CGI-heavy movies about gods and gladiators has turned what once seemed fresh into a visual cliché.

Noel Murray, on how special-effects innovations from morphing to bullet-time to 300's slow-then-fast timing tricks get picked up and quickly worn out by a novelty-hungry film industry. [Full essay here.]

Filed under film special effects 300 300 rise of an empire noam murro frank miller zack snyder

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