300: Rise of an Empire: Watch the over-the-top new trailer

Slow-motion sword fights and ridiculously melodramatic dialogue? Yes, 300 is back.

300: Rise of an Empire
(Image credit: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153304293250472&amp;set=pb.94289470471.-2207520000.1390316565.&amp;type=3&amp;theater">(Facebook.com/300)</a>)

300: Rise of an Empire — the curiously belated prequel/sequel to 2006's 300 — is just a couple of months away from storming into theaters, and the new trailer for the film is a naked attempt to remind audiences why they ever embraced 300 to begin with.

300: Rise of an Empire puts all its cards on the table: In case you forgot, shredded, oft-shirtless protagonist Leonidas is dead now. (Look! There he is, in that big pile of half-naked corpses!) But don't worry: Even without Gerard Butler in the lead, this is the same 300 we knew and sort of liked in the mid-aughts. In Leonidas' place we have Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey, returning from 300) and Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), playing the sequel's requisite handsome shirtless dude. The remaining Spartan forces will square off against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro, also returning from 300) and Artemisia, the puppet-master pulling his strings (Eva Green). But while some of the players have changed, the formula hasn't: Melodramtic line reading, slow-motion sword fighting, with Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" filling in the gaps.

Yes, 300: Rise of an Empire looks pretty familiar — if only because the film's producers and marketing team are desperately hoping to piggyback on the success of the original 300, which grossed a staggering $450 million worldwide on a slim $65 million budget in 2006. This new trailer brags that 300: Rise of an Empire is "from producer Zack Snyder, director of 300 and Man of Steel." (That's instead of bragging about actual director Noam Murro, whose only other film credit is for 2008's Dennis Quaid/Sarah Jessica Parker dramedy Smart People.)

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

It's a shameless marketing gambit that speaks to Warner Bros.' nervousness about whether there's still an audience for 300: Rise of an Empire seven years after the release of the unexpectedly successful original. After knock-offs like Immortals, parodies like Meet the Spartans, video games like the God of War series, and four seasons of Starz' Spartacus, do we really need another 300, anyway? Audiences can vote with their wallets when 300: Rise of an Empire hits theaters in March.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Scott Meslow

Scott Meslow is the entertainment editor for TheWeek.com. He has written about film and television at publications including The Atlantic, POLITICO Magazine, and Vulture.