Friday, 30 March 2012

Wrath of the Titans

Keen readers might remember when I reviewed the Clash of the Titans remake, back in March 2010, that I slated it with a venomous bile and then some - ceremoniously making my top three worst films of the year in the Panic Shots End of Year podcast. So fast forward two years later and finding that I chose to spend more of my own money to see if the sequel had fared any better, you perhaps have reasonable grounds to phone the men in white coats on me. However I digress, let's get down to it. The big question here is, does Wrath beat Clash? Well in a couple of ways yes, in far too many ways not really...

Set about 10 years after the events of the first film, the heroic demi-god Perseus (Sam Worthington) has settled for a quiet mundane life as a common fisherman since he defeated the Kraken and saved the world from Hades (Ralph Fiennes) clutches. Unsurprisingly these heroic deeds haven't sat well with the Lord of the Underworld  and with the help of the God of War - unfortunately not the cool one from the videogame series - Aeries (Edgar Rameriez) they set a course events to reek revenge upon the world and Hades brother, Zeus (Liam Neeson) by unleashing the titan, Cronus.

Generally the acting fared much better this time round with Sam Worthington looking much more comfortable in the leading role if still remaining unconvincing in leading action roles in these eyes. Though with a 'been there, done that' approach to the action and general carnage, he still slipped in and out of his so so English accent back into his native Australian. He also lost some man points for the floppy hair-do he was sporting. Also with his more relaxed approach none of the film's story or sub-plot points really had much urgency to it. He looked about as laid back going up against the impressive CGI lava mess of Cronus as he probably does cooking a Sunday family dinner. To put it simply he just didn't look all that arsed about the whole affair.

Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes as Zeus and Hades respectively were given a much more rounded characterisation this time and both Oscar winners lent themselves well enough to the material they had on hand. However why they couldn't be afford a shave between them is a mystery in itself. The new additions of Bill Nighy and Toby Kebbell - two of my favourite British actors - was very much welcomed but their characters were curious at best. Their presence served as light relief but in an epic blockbuster of preventing the apocalypse, they took the edge out of the whole affair. Their dialogue was handled horribly, taking the film into the realms of satire. Seriously it felt like it was lifted from a bad cut of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in parts or Carry On Titans...

Like Gemma Arteton before her in the first film, the generally lovely Rosamund Pike playing Queen Andromeda served little purpose to the overall plot besides a way into the story for Kebbell's character and a truly unexplained love story subplot with Worthington. You must give them credit for trying but this is not the time or place for emotional subtext.

To Jonathan Liebesman's credit his effort Wrath of the Titans was vastly superior to his god awful tribute to the American armed forces in Battle: Los Angeles. It's just a shame for Mr Liebesman this isn't really a compliment as Wrath of the Titans suffers from the same production pitfalls as its predecessor. The CGI was spectacular, but yet again the visuals didn't lent itself well to the 3D experience. Wrath, just like Clash. feels like an almost claustrophobic experience when caught in the dark tunnel hole of 3D glasses, and still a very unpleasant chore which isn't worth shelling out the guts of a tenner for in most cinemas.

One more point should be made - not necessarily the director's fault, and yes it's extremely pedantic of me - something which really needs to be addressed for (god forbid the thought) any future instalments of the franchise. Take note folks, yes Wrath of the Titans is an improvement on Clash of the Titans in that it contains an actual Titan from the rich tapestry of Greek Mythology. However why oh why mention titans in a plural sense if you only have one. One! TITAN. NOT TITANS.

Final Thoughts
If you love to feel brain dead while watching a film, sure Wrath of the Titans isn't a chore by any means. However a reasonably decent plot suffers greatly from some strangely comedic dialogue, needless supporting characters, lack of real urgency and a titanic threat who can barely string more than two words together per sentence. Lest we forget the misleading title... won't stay in the memory for long, and not for the right reasons.


Wrath of the Titans is out everywhere now.

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