In many films a dramatic art style is used for many reasons. Some use it to enhance a mood or bring attention to a certain aspect/object of the film. Some films do this by blocking out some colors or enhancing everyday colors to make a movie seem otherworldly. In the film 300: Rise of an Empire a similar art style as the first movie is used in order to enhance the mood and some aspects of the film. One example that stands out very early in the film is the opening scene of the Battle of Marathon.
The opening battle scene of the movie is shot almost in the dark with weak rays of sunlight peeking through the storm clouds. Lightning rages in the background and the Greek army looks like shadowy figures of death raining down the mountainside to attack the weary Persian army. This gives the feeling that death awaits the Persians and helps intensify the brutality of the “shock combat” of the Athenians. When the battle rages on I noticed the Greek soldiers have just the faintest of glow to them compared to the others. It makes them seem just a bit more human than the Persians they are fighting. It helps visualize the theme of the good (Greeks) vs. the evil (Persians). This is used again multiple times when the Greeks engage the Persians. It seems that every time a dramatic fight is happening it is either a. Cloudy and Stormy or b. Dark and foggy.
When the battle scenes all end and the movie traces to the more dialogue heavy scenes the color tone of the movie changes with it. When Themistocles enters Sparta there is almost a sepia tone look to it. The sepia tone gives the movie an older look to it while also still looking modern. For a movie taking place centuries ago the look seems natural to the eye. In this sepia tone one color stands out like a sore thumb and that is the color red.
Red is the color of blood and aggression. When we see the Spartan ships arrive at the end of the film the red on their capes and ship sails blazes through. It gives the Spartans the aura of aggression. You already know the Spartans are efficient war machines without even seeing them fight in the first place. A same concept is used while describing the Athenians. In the first battle scene at Marathon through the dark look of the scene the blue on Themistocles’ cape is highlighted to stand out.
Seeing the blue on the Athenians can tell us they are different in the way they fight than the Spartans are just with the color scheme. According to tie-neckie-video.com “If you want to be the person in charge with a sort of quiet authority that doesn’t require yelling, blue is the best color for you.” Now Themistocles wasn’t dressing up for an interview anytime in the movie but I think the message we get from his blue cape is very similar. The Spartans hunger for war and wish to die a beautiful death on the battlefield so they wear red to visualize that aggression. The Athenians on the other hand hate going to war and watching their friends and family die. They are more civilized and Themistocles leads with this trusting/authoritative demeanor. In most scenes when he is rallying his troops he doesn’t have to shout much he just leads by example. The blue and red color identification on these two armies helps us get a feeling of how they are as soldiers without any formal introductions of the two.
The movie 300: Rise of an Empire is certainly not the best war movie ever made but I feel like it could be one of the most unique. The color tones of the background let us know the mood of the scene from a blood filled battle to a victorious ending. The color on the characters is enhanced ever so slightly in order to make them seem like they are out of this world. It truly feels like a graphic novel movie.