TIME movies

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes of 300: Rise of an Empire

There's plenty of capes, abs, swords and green screens

The action and drama of the 2006 film 300 returned to theaters this last weekend in a sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire. Despite the nearly eight-year-long gap between the movies, the latest 300 made an estimated $45 million opening weekend, which “falls squarely into the category of ‘not bad‘,” according to Forbes.

While seeing the vast expanse of land and water in the Greek-epic world on the big screen might get your blood pumping and send chills down your spine, we have to be honest: It looks significantly less impressive in the studio.

Although the behind-the-scenes video above (edited from footage provided by the studio) might take away some of the magic, it’s also a fascinating reminder of the technology available to transform the green screen-heavy studio scenes into a visually stunning presentation.

One of the most fascinating parts of the video shows what it was like to film the underwater scenes, which required a sizable crew to be in the water with the actors. While they were outfitted with goggles and wetsuits, Sullivan Stapleton (who plays Themistocles) was not — his cape flows in slow motion as he slowly sinks deeper into the ocean. Watch the video above for other big scenes from the film.

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