Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DVD Review: Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman.
Written by: Dan Mazeau & David Johnson & Greg Berlanti based on the screenplay by Beverley Cross.
Starring: Sam Worthington (Perseus), Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), Edgar Ramírez (Ares), Toby Kebbell (Agenor), Rosamund Pike (Andromeda), Bill Nighy (Hephaestus), Danny Huston (Poseidon), John Bell (Helius), Lily James (Korrina), Alejandro Naranjo (Mantius), Freddy Drabble (Apollo), Kathryn Carpenter (Athena).

For whatever reason, I liked Wrath of the Titans more than its predecessor, Clash of the Titans from way back in 2010. Perhaps it’s because I watched this one on DVD and not in theaters, so I didn’t have to suffer through the horrible 3-D that marred the first film so badly. Clash of the Titans was one of those films not shot in 3-D, but went through a conversion after the fact, which hardly ever worked, and certainly didn’t that time. I felt the original Clash of the Titans was a visual mess – blurry and incomprehensible at times. The best thing that can be said about its sequel is that I could at least tell what the hell was going on – not that I much cared, but baby steps of improvement is still an improvement.

The movie takes place 10 years after the events of Clash of the Titans, when Perseus (Sam Worthington) finds out he is the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), and thus is half God. He went onto to defeat the Kracken, and then retired to his old, quiet life as a fisherman and family life. And for a long time he was happy. But then Zeus comes down again to see his son – and tell him that the Gods are losing their power because the people have stopped believing in them. If people do not pray to the Gods, they apparently lose their power. Hades (Ralph Fiennes) has decided not to go down without a fight – so he has conspired with Cronus, father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, to free him from his prison in Tartarus, and sap Zeus of all his power. In doing so, Cronus will destroy humanity. So obviously Zeus needs the help of his humble fisherman son – who is, like last time, reluctant to get involved, until he is forced into it.

From that plot description you may well think that this is a film where you need to review your Greek mythology before seeing – but that’s not really the case. There is a lot of talk and exposition in the first act, before it all gives way to one action sequence after another, and lots and lots of special effects. The special effects are fine, I guess, but it seems like they spent so much money on them that they felt they had to used throughout. As the film moves along, there is little else in the movie aside from those effects – the characters, who weren’t that interesting in the first place, spend much of the movie yelling at each other, and getting into one fight after another.

All that said, Wrath of the Titans is at the very least not a boring movie. And while I feel the special effects are overused, they are at least well done – and there are a few legitimately exciting scenes in the movie – and an excellent sequence involving a maze into Tartarus. But Wrath of the Titans offers nothing to really sink your teeth into – nothing to really keep you involved or care about the outcome.

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