Friday, March 30, 2012

Wrath of the Titans

Serving as a public apology for 'Clash,' 'Wrath' doesn't quite make up for the first mistake, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Made for people who hated 'Clash of the Titans' and anyone looking for a big, dumb stylized action movie.

Rated PG-13

for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action.

Wrath of the Titans

As you may recall, I hated – no – I loathed the Clash of the Titans remake. I saw it once and that was more than enough for me. The story was so stupid I’d spell it s-t-o-o-p-i-d, the acting was awful and the 30-day post-conversion 3D process left the movie looking like it was being projected on a sheet blowing in the wind. The moment I finished writing my review for it, I erased as much of Clash from my memory as possible. The filmmakers must have known how forgettable Clash was because the new sequel, Wrath of the Titans, opens with a voice-over recap of Clash that also catches us up on the what’s happened in the God-governed world since then. Having the filmmakers acknowledge how bad the first movie was shows how much better Wrath is going to be – but it’s still not great. The fact that they also poke fun at the quotable “release the cracken” line from Clash shows how sorry there are and how lucky they know they are to be making this sequel.

Wrath opens with Zeus (Liam Neeson) visiting his new favorite son, demi-God Perseus (Sam Worthington), and seeking his help. You see, mankind has forgotten the Gods, so the Gods are losing their power. With an eminent doom lurking on the horizon, Zeus needs to know that his half human son is his ally. Of course, right after this scene, the unknown threat is revealed when Zeus is captured by Hades (Ralph Fiennes), his life force being stripped from his body to release the biggest titan of them all – Kronos, their pissed off dad. The second this happens, crazy demons – for some reason – fall from the heavens to destroy humans. After Perseus saves his son from a two-headed fire-breathing warg (see The Two Towers), he heads off on a journey that will eventually take him to hell to save his father and stop Kronos from being unleashed.

Like the previous movie, in the very beginning of Wrath, Perseus is told exactly what he must do to save the world. The rest of the movie is filled him simply doing these things that he was told to do. He visits a place, picks up two companions, go with them to another place that he was told to go, then learns the quickest route to hell. The only thing that Perseus has to figure out on his own is how to destroy Kronos (the mile-high lava monster from the trailers) – which even then is pretty random and unexplainable.

What bugs me the most about Wrath? Two things: first, one shot suddenly changes the aspect ratio of the screen to include black bars on the top and bottom just so that one 3D image can appear to actually protrude from the edge of the screen. It doesn’t work, serving only as a lame four-second distraction. The second irritation is that fact that the Queen Andromeda character is played by a different actress – not just any actress, but someone that looks nothing like the Andromeda from Clash. Dark-skinned exotic-looking brunette Alexa Davilos played Andromeda in Clash. In Wrath, she’s played by fair-skinned blond cutie Rosamund Pike. The only way that these two could have been more different is if one had been bald.

What did I like? Wrath of the Titans is non-stop action. All of the fun that you expected from Clash – but didn’t get – is actually present in Wrath. This is one action movie that breezes right on by. Keeping your interest is that fact that the screenplay does not remain within the limited boundaries of the known Greek mythology. All of the rules are thrown out the window. No characters are safe. Anyone can die at any moment. Unpredictability will frustrate those who adore the original tales, but it’s sure to keep everyone on their toes.

Of course, Wrath could have been better – but it’s not terrible. Just know that it delivers the mindless goods that Clash failed to.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

2 out of 5

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