Audience gets history lesson at the movies this weekend

By Pat Quinn

“300: Rise of an Empire” and “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” will bring history to the big screen Friday.

“300: Rise of an Empire”

The new “300” film picks up where the first one left off.

Xerxes, the leader of the Persian army, defeated King Leonidas and his army of 300 soldiers. It is time for Themistocles to lead the Greeks against Xerxes; his general, Artemisia, and the Persians.

I’m excited to watch war wage in ancient Greece. The action scenes look stunning with slow-motion editing and blood and water droplets flying through the air. The most anticipated part of the film is the naval battle scene. Having a battle on the water with wooden ships in 480 BCE is astonishing and looks incredible.

There are a few returning characters like Xerxes, Dilios and Queen Gorgo, but new characters include Themistocles and Artemisia.

Eva Green playing Artemisia isn’t sitting well for me. Her roles in the past, other than “Casino Royale,” have deemed her a creepy, sadistic woman. I’m interested in seeing what happens with Green in command of the Persian army. Green is a wild card, but the movie still has potential.

“Mr. Peabody & Sherman”

What was originally a cartoon in the ’60s is now hitting the big screen. With a historical theme for movies this weekend, “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is a unique story about a boy and his dog.

This dog is a genius, to say the least, teaching an adopted boy, Sherman, about history in an unorthodox way. Using a time machine, they experience some of the most paramount moments in history and get themselves in a bind.

Director Rob Minkoff has delivered other well-known movies to the animated world, including “The Lion King” and “Stuart Little.” Minkoff has taken this classic cartoon and brought it to a younger audience.

The cast isn’t as strong as in Minkoff’s other animated films, but “Modern Family’s” Ty Burrell will make a hilarious Mr. Peabody. As a movie that dives into multiple parts of history, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” will be an entertaining Friday film.