Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wrath of the Titans

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman.
2012. Rated PG-13, 99 minutes.
Édgar Ramirez
Danny Huston
Lily James
John Bell
Kathryn Carpenter

Even though he’s half-god, Perseus (Worthington) has made it clear to his father Zeus (Neeson) he wants nothing to do with those snobs on Mount Olympus. Still, the old man comes sniveling back, begging Perseus to save their hides. Zeus’ dad Kronos is a little ornery over being defeated by his boys eons earlier and wants a return match. After Kronos starts killing off gods and threatens both the gods and man alike, you know who reluctantly joins the fray. He enlists the help of Queen Andromeda (Pike), her army and his cousin, fellow half-god Agenor (Kebbell). In case you’re somehow not sure, this is the sequel to the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans.

That last sentence sums up a lot of what people think is wrong with Hollywood. It’s what they point to as evidence of the movie industry’s lack of original though. This is particularly true of the blockbusters flooding the multiplexes every summer; an endless procession of sequelsprequelsremakes, reboots and re-imaginings heavy on techno wizardry and light on substance. These generalizations might seem unfair in a review on any one film in particular. However, Wrath of the Titans must wear the shoe it fits.

Sam Worthington adds another to his repertoire of bland protagonists. Liam Neeson does what Liam Neeson does: use his booming voice to give his character an air of authority. However, he spends most of the movie on the sidelines. Pike just looks pretty as Queen Andromeda. Most bizarrely, Kebbell as Agenor seems to be impersonating Russell Brand. As simple as the plot seems, its execution is jumbled. It doesn't always make sense and a general mess is made of Greek mythology. In short, stuff just keeps happening whether it’s logical or not.

On the plus side, that stuff keeps the movie somewhat interesting. There is tons of action as our heroes try to save both the Earth and the heavens. Creature designs are generally fantastic and they tear up things pretty well. The one exception being our main baddy. He’s a little too out of whack with everything else and getting anywhere near him should cause death. Sadly, it doesn't because then our hero wouldn't be able to be heroic. There is some heavy-handedness about father-son and sibling relationships. Honestly, this doesn't bother me since it at least makes sense. More troublesome is the weirdly atheist undertones. As I've said in reviews of other films there are good, even excellent movies from that point of view. The problem here is it feels needlessly subversive to its own subject matter. Combined with all the poetic license taken with the characters we get the feeling the people who made Wrath of the Titans don’t exactly appreciate Greek mythology.

Much like its predecessor, Wrath isn't the worst movie in the world. It’s just not a good one, either. The visuals work very well. Full disclosure: I did not watch either of the franchise’s movies in 3D which I’ve heard complaints about, especially in regards to the first film. The action keeps things moving along nicely and it’s thankfully short at ninety-nine minutes. Unfortunately, the characters are dull and/or given nothing to do and what’s happening around them doesn't always add up.

MY SCORE: 5/10 

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