I was going to post a review of 300: Rise of an Empire tomorrow. I was really hype to watch the movie since it’s predecessor was a kick-ass movie and I was wondering how they were going to pull off a better film. I eagerly awaited the film for its local release in the Philippines and managed to get a ticket for its first day showing. I saw the trailer for it the day before and I was so hyped to see it.
I was going to say that 300: Rise of an Empire was a good movie. It’s more thought-provoking than the original. I was going to comment on how Eva Green is a revelation as the Persian naval captain Artemisia and she steal the show. I was going to state that Sullivan Stapleton’s Themistocles isn’t as badass as Gerald Butler’s Leonidas and then refute that very same statement by saying Themistocles is a totally different kind of character as he’s more of a thinker than a meathead like Leonidas was. I was going to say that, even though you don’t care about the other characters for a moment, you should still watch this movie because of the great action scenes and, of course, Eva Green.
But, no. I won’t do it. I won’t give an official review for 300: Rise of an Empire. Why? Because the local movie regulatory board saw to it that they censored the sex scene in the movie. Is that enough for me to not give a review for the movie? In my opinion, yes. Why? Let me tell you why.
Let me set the scene based on what I’ve read. Impressed by the tactics Themistocles has displayed in his previous battles, Artemisia invites him to her ship in hopes of getting the Athenian commander to defect to the Persian side. She tries to seduce him and they have sex… glorious, rough sex. Both of them try to one-up each other using different “techniques” and, nearing the climax, Artemisia offers Themistocles a post in her navy. When Themistocles rebuffs the request, he is immediately escorted off the ship, leaving Artemisia extremely pissed and Themistocles fearful of what the Persian Naval Commander will do the next day.
While it may “just be a gratuitous sex scene” for the casual viewer, it really isn’t. Yes, apparently, it’s a very hot, wild, animalistic and steamy sex scene and you can just leave it at that. But there is an underlying subtext in the scene. Even then, the two leaders are jostling for supremacy and trying to show their superiority. Also, it shows how Artemisia actually uses her raw sexuality as a weapon and as a means to get what she wants. Like I said, it’s not obvious but the sex scene has a lot of subtext with what’s happening between the two of them.
But my main issue is how it was edited out. Here’s what I saw: Artemisia kissing Themistocles. Then Artemisia holding a sword to Themistocles and asking him to switch sides. It was just edited out with no thought on how it would look like on the big screen or how the scene would flow together! It was just edited out, plain and simple. It was extremely jarring and took me out of the moment. And taking someone out of the illusion of the cinema is the worst thing you can do.
Like most people, I watch movies not to just be entertained but to the mesmerized by the magic of the experience. Once you destroy that effect, you destroy the movie. I cannot give a critical review of the movie regarding how good 300: Rise of an Empire really is because I was snapped back to reality, not through any fault of the film. But I was taken out of it because of lousy local editing!
I think the biggest reason is, of course, financial. The biggest movie chain in the Philippines is SM Cinemas and they have a long-standing rule of not showing R-18 films. So, the local regulatory board created the R-16 rating, which is how 300: Rise of an Empire was rated after the cuts. I wished they had two different versions of the film: the one with the sex scene that’ll be shown in non-SM movie theaters and the one editing it out which will be “exclusive” for SM cinemas. Let’s see which “version” will make money then!
I know I’m just a small voice in the third world community but, even if it is a small voice, I’m going to use it to express my displeasure of how the movie was edited locally. I believe I would’ve enjoyed the movie much more without the sloppy editing. But I guess I’ll never know, will I?
By the way, because I won’t be reviewing 300: Rise of an Empire, I decided to review the censored version of South Park: The Stick of Truth tomorrow, which was censored in a pretty clever and sarcastic manner. Talk about irony!
Have you watch 300: Rise of an Empire? Was the sex scene edited out? Did it affect your enjoyment of the film? Post your thoughts and comments in the section below!