Friday, March 30, 2012


WRATH OF THE TITANS is the sequel to CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010), which was a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. Considering the poor critical and financial performance of CLASH, it was a surprise that WRATH was given the green light. Director Jonathan Liebesman swore by the gods that he recognized the faults of CLASH, and knew how to correct them. Correct them he did (to an extent), while adding more to the mix. More of what is the real question.

Ten years after defeating the Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is attempting to raise his son while living the life of a fisherman. Meanwhile, weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Kronos, leader of the Titans and father of the gods Zeus (Liam Neeson), Hades (Ralph Fiennes), and Poseidon (Danny Huston). When Zeus is double-crossed and imprisoned, Perseus must pick up his sword and best gal Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) to rescue his father and prevent hell on Earth.

So WRATH starts off as a father-son drama set against the backdrop of Armageddon with an interesting sub-plot of humans having no use for prayer just for good measure. The storylines are good, and are established quickly, but are then unfortunately lost amidst spectacle and too many layers of useless plot. The pattern of WRATH follows CLASH to the same effect; a modern-video game adventure of our hero fighting his way to level after level, having to defeat some sort of creature before moving on. Also adding to the lack of focus is a poorly developed weave of plot-threads of having to merge broken spears to save the day. Our hero, Perseus, gets lost amidst the spectacle and it’s tough to remember him even being in the movie. With no hero, there is no connection.

From a technical standpoint, WRATH is a bit of a marvel. The CG creatures are excellent and fight and move and drool with great fun. Director Jonathan Leibesman pulls off some excellent tracking shots, and the sound-mix is outstanding. Leibesman unfortunately often falls for the crazy-ass shaky-cam one too many times, and it’s easy to lose track of what is where or even why.

The (goddamn) 3D is really excellent in some places. Similar to AVATAR, it uses the added dimension to enforce the feeling of great depth and geography, and breaths some serious life into the surroundings. It of course can’t help itself to get gimmicky now and then (be prepared to duck), and often feels like it vanishes in any intimate scenes. As with any other third-dimension film, the entire experience does have a dull color to it; which is a shame as the CG creatures and environments look like they would be full of vibrancy.

Sam Worthington seems to be improving with each film. Here he manages to hold on to his accent well enough, and the physical work he has to endure is impressive. He still feels miscast (or maybe misused) as Perseus, as he never really gets to show any heart or emotion. Again, no connection. Rosamund Pike is completely miscast as Andromeda; being neither beautiful or dangerous, and looking ridiculous when raising a sword and yelling. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes both seem to love playing gods, and they get to flex some god-like muscle and have some fun. The show is probably stolen by Bill Nighy’s Hephaestus character, which is great comic relief with some help from his little mechanical friend.

Whatever sort of message or lesson WRATH is trying to sell us gets completely lost by the time the (anti) climatic battle rolls around; whether it be Perseus’ destiny, fathers and sons, or man’s disrespect to the deities…none of it feels resolved or important by the time the credits roll. The title of the film also seems to be a gyp as only one goddamn Titan bothers to show up. WRATH OF THE TITANS has some fun moments and looks great, but beyond that there is nothing for anyone to get up in a wrath about.


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