Friday, December 28, 2012

Wrath of the Titans Movie Review

Back in 1981, a special effects move was released called Clash of the Titans. It featured some fairly impressive stop-motion animation coupled with live actors. It's a cheesy classic that few people seem to remember. In 2010 was a cutting-edge remake that was basically a special effects fest. It was pretty fun, but couldn't be taken very seriously. Box office successes deserve sequels, right? So Wrath of the Titans (2012), a sequel of a remake of a old cheesy movie, was made. Why did they think this was a good idea?
A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington) the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) is trying to live quieter life as a village fisherman as the only parent of his 10-year-old son Helius (John Bell). Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity's lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), and Poseidon (Danny Huston). Their unity had overthrown their powerful father long ago, leaving him to rot in the abyss of Tartarus, a dungeon that lies deep within the cavernous underworld. Perseus cannot ignore his true calling when Hades along with Zeus's godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramirez) switch loyalty and make a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titan Kronos' strength grows stronger as Zeus' remaining godly powers are siphoned. If Kronos is able to escape Tartarus, it will mean the end of the world.
The cast that appears in this movie had to have been contractually obligated to take up these roles again for this sequel. Liam Neeson is known for some outstanding roles; Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List, Henri Ducard in Batman Begins, even some of the lousy movies he's appeared in like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Battleship were made slightly better just because he's in them. One of the best reasons to watch the 2010 Clash of the Titans was to hear him say, “Release the Kraken!” Then there is Ralph Fiennes reprising his role as Hades. He's a stellar actor who will likely be remembered forever as Lord Voldemort. Bill Nighy even appears for a short while. All these actors are exceptional, but given the terrible script and and sloppy story, I can't imagine why they would consent to appear in this movie. Sam Worthington's acting hasn't improved, and the only real change we see in the character is he now has a stupid-looking haircut.
The script in Wrath of the Titans is ridiculous to say the least. Right from the opening character introductions, the dialogue is awkward, forced, and corny. One of the villagers in Perseus' community approaches him and basically says, “Well, hi there! You are Perseus. You defeated the Kraken exactly ten years ago. You are the son of Zeus. You fight good. Now everyone knows what happened in the last movie. I will now remind you that you have a son who will probably fight as well as you did. For the sake of the audience I'll also remind you that I have asked you before, but do you intend to teach your son to fight?” I'm exaggerating only a little bit. No one causally walks up to someone and reminds them of their personal history and reputation as if it was a conversation starter. Sadly, it doesn't get any better after that. Fortunately, later on there's too much action for us to notice much of the laughable dialogue the characters are shouting at one another.
Like its predecessor, Wrath of the Titans is a special effects fest. The CGI artwork was actually quite good. Lots of fireballs, exploding mountains, ugly monsters, and moving labyrinth walls. The scene that has Perseus and company braving the labyrinth that surrounds Tartarus is an intricate one. The walls moved constantly; halls became dead ends, narrow corridors crushed in on our heroes, and floors withdrew themselves from underfoot. It's was like a gigantic stone clockwork device that could sense where the human-size gods were and tried to destroy them. The monsters and titans were fairly detailed and well animated for the most part. That has to be the most pathetic excuse for a minotaur I've ever seen, though; it looked more like an ugly human with horns. The minotaur scene was so short, I'm not even sure why they bothered including it.
There have been movies made where the excellent implementation of special effects are what made the movie worth watching. Wrath of the Titans is not one of those movies. The special effects and CGI work was excellent, even if the scale and spacing was vague. The characters were shallow and uninteresting, the script was laughable and poorly written, and the story was murky and incomprehensible. That significantly weakened my ability to enjoy the special effects and action. The production itself was way below the talents of most of the actors involved, but I'll excuse them on the grounds that they were probably under contract. Wrath of the Titans was not a good movie; it was not even a decent sequel. If you really want to see some fun Grecian gods clash, just stick with Clash of the Titans. It's silly and over the top, but it's fun. Don't bother with Wrath of the Titans, it's just not worth the money to even rent it.

Do you have a favorite "Greek Epic?" I thought Ben Hur was pretty good. What's your favorite? Comment below and tell me all about it!

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