Alan Dee’s movie preview: Six-packs on sea as 300 gets a watered down revival
One iron rule of Hollywood is this: If a movie puts money in the till, it’s worth pumping out a sequel, a reboot, an homage or whatever else you want to call a calculated attempt to part the punter from more of their hard-earned.
So while you might think that body-oiled battle epic 300 was a self-contained slice of combat cinema, here it comes again.
The presence of a colon in the title is a dead giveaway, so you know what you are getting with 300: Rise Of An Empire.
This is actually a prequel, which is just as well as pretty much everyone in the original ended up in a bloody heap of body parts by the time the final credits rolled.
It’s Greeks versus Persians on water, set 30 years before the first film, starring nobody you have ever heard of and following the frantic graphic novel feel of its predecessor.
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Escape From Planet Earth is a mildly bonkers serving of family sci-fi, with a voice cast of familiar, if not quite A list any more, names including Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker and even Ricky Gervais.
The daft plot is all about amiable aliens being lured to our planet where crackpot general – William Shatner, I kid you not – puts them to work in a slave labour camp in Area 51.
It’s junk food animation with far too many additives and could leave you mildly nauseous.
Arty offer of the week is The Grand Budapest Hotel, billed as a quirky period comedy – that is, there aren’t many laughs in it – from Wes Anderson with Ralph Fiennes the smooth concierge at the hotel in question, scheming to keep hold of a valuable painting he’s been left by a grateful client.
Ed Norton and the obligatory Bill Murray are among the big names happy to let a little of that Anderson intellectual cachet rub off on them.
Admirable, if not that enjoyable.