Wrath of The Titans
Some gay men may think "Wrath of the Titans" is a meta-title from one of San Francisco’s specialty video companies. You know, one about a group of Titan Men that takes over a straight fraternity house...
Alas, the new film is a sequel to the abominable 2010 hit "Clash of the Titans," itself a remake of the kitschy Greek mythology fantasy from the 1980s that starred Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus and featured special effects by stop-action guru Ray Harryhausen. That movie was at least campy fun, with some classic sequences by Harryhausen in his final film. The remake was a dreary rehash, made infinitely worse by the decision to take the original 2D version and convert it to 3D to cash in on the then emerging technological breakthrough. The ploy paid off: "Clash of the Titans" made nearly $500 million worldwide, which led to this sequel.
The good news is that the 3D is immeasurably better. Never has debris looked so real as it fell from the screen, and does it fall! There isn’t a moment, it seems, when a fireball or a three-headed Hydra or something isn’t literally in your face. Too bad everything else is so two-dimensional. "Wrath of the Titans" dumbs down the conflict between the gods, demi-gods and humans into a story about some grumpy old gods bringing about the destruction of civilization. And the Greeks think they have it bad today.
The dysfunction centers on Zeus (Liam Neeson), who is held hostage by his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and his half-son, the demi-god Ares (Edgar Ramirez). Ares is jealous of his father’s affection for his half-brother Perseus (Sam Worthington), also a demi-god; and has formed an unholy alliance with Hades to release Kronos, the first Titan imprisoned by his sons Zeus, Hades and Poseidon in a special place in Hell.
Perseus, who killed the Kraken (a giant creature set on wiping out mankind) in the first film, is called upon to rescue his father and keep Kronos, who makes a cameo late in the film as a 1000 foot tall burning man capable of destroying hillside towns with a single swipe. To do so Perseus must travel down into the underworld, which unfolds with the fast-moving efficiency of a video game, and confront his brother, mano-a-mano.
This part of the movie, replete with an amusing appearance by Bill Nighy as a somewhat unhinged demi-god, was at least fun to watch. Director Jonathan Liebesman attempts to give the movie some emotional resonance by focusing on the squabbling gods, but is done in by the script (by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson, with an assist by Greg Berlanti) that takes Olympian myths and reduces them to the lowest common action movie denominator, replete with such catch phrases as Zeus’ "Let’s have some fun!" (At least somebody does.)
The mostly British actors (Neeson, Nighy, Fiennes, Danny Huston and Sinead Cusack) walk through their roles with clipped professionalism. As Perseus, Worthington remains as earnest as ever, but at least his leading man looks provide some eye candy. It is Ramirez who steals the film with a passion that no one else comes close to. His palpable anger brings some much-needed fire to this by-the-numbers conflict. As he showed in "Carlos," he’s an actor to watch, even in dreck like this.
Wrath of the Titans
Perseus :: Sam Worthington
Zeus :: Liam Neeson
Hades :: Ralph Fiennes
Ares :: Edgar Ramirez
Agenor :: Toby Kebbell
Andromeda :: Rosamund Pike
Hephaestus :: Bill Nighy
Poseidon :: Danny Huston
Helius :: John Bell
Korrina :: Lily James
Mantius :: Alejandro Naranjo
Apollo :: Freddy Drabble
Athena :: Kathryn Carpenter
Clea :: éad Cusack
Director, Jonathan Liebesman; Screenwriter, Dan Mazeau; Screenwriter, David Johnson; Producer, Basil Iwanyk; Producer, Polly Johnsen; Executive Producer, Thomas Tull; Executive Producer, Jon Jashni; Executive Producer, Callum McDougall; Executive Producer, Kevin De La Noy; Executive Producer, Louis Leterrier; Cinematographer, Ben Davis; Production Design, Charles Wood; Film Editor, Martin Walsh; Original Music, Javier Navarrete; Costume Designer, Jany Temime; Casting, Jina Jay; Supervising Art Direction, Raymond Chan; Set Decoration, Lee Sandales.