WRATH OF THE TITANS
By Gary “Rage of the Gargantuans” Murray
Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosemund Pike
Written by Dan Mazeau and David Johnson
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman
Running time 99 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating Matinee
Wrath of the Titans is one of those rare sequels that fares better than the original. To be technical, that is not that difficult of a feat because both the original film and the remake were not very good.
The 1981 flick from Ray Harryhausen was arguably the weakest of all his films and a swansong for the art of stop motion animation in major motion pictures. For those who are not au courant, Ray was the genius behind the Sinbad films from the late 1960’s. He was the driving force behind Jason and the Argonauts and worked on the stop motion process for the Oscar winning 1949 film Mighty Joe Young and 20 Million Miles to Earth. But with computer generated images like in Jurassic Park, the techniques are more of part of film history and rarely used.
The re-make from 2010 was a CGI mess. Though the film followed the plot of the 1981 release, the new Clash of the Titans was just an ugly spectacle without any heart or adventure. It was presented in forced 3D, not planned but added in post-production, which made the film look mucky brown throughout. There was little hope of anything positive for the sequel.
The film takes place a decade after the events of Clash. Perseus (Sam Worthington) is struggling to make it as a demigod in a world of men. He lives a quiet life as a fisherman and parent to his son Helius. It is a time when the gods are fading into ancient history. The gods need men to worship them or they have no powers.
On the other side of the plot, there is a struggle going on between the gods and the Titans. Kronos is the father of the three rulers Hades (Ralph Fiennes), Poseidon (Danny Huston) and Zeus (Liam Neeson). When the three imprison Kronos, they believe that the Titans would be controlled. Hades, along with Zeus’s son Ares (Edgar Ramirez), crafts a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus, draining his power. Their goal is to defeat Zeus and take over the world, destroying everything in their path.
In order to free his father, Perseus must find Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), the god who forged the weapons used to capture Kronos. The years have not been kind to the old one and he is showing signs of mental weakness. There is a heavy nod to the original film during these scenes.
Perseus must find a way into Hades and go through a labyrinth in order to save his father. Along the way, he gathers a group of like minded heroes to help him on the adventure. This includes Poseidon’s son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) and warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike).
If one is wondering, none of this is in any way a part of any mythology of the ancient characters. The entire exercise of Wrath of the Titans is forged out of the imagination and not based on any text.
The film is very much like the original Ray Harryhausen films—an excuse to show monsters. This work delivers on that promise. Wrath is full of beasts, both good and bad, and they battle in scene after scene. At times, we are almost in Transformers territory, just watching CGI battles. Both the CGI and the 3D are impressive feats of computer wizardry and the basic reason people will flock to this film.
Sam Worthington is billed as the star but he in no way can compete with his computer co-stars. In a world of men and monsters, this time out the monsters overtake the men at every turn. Worthington could have been just about any actor in Hollywood and the role would have been fairly much the same. It is more ‘insert leading man here’ than acting for the screen.
The film features Rosemund Pike—one of my favorite Bond girls. Here she plays Andromeda, a strong woman and equal to the tasks of the demigods she travels with. She gets her moments to kick a little butt as she battles along with the men. The film would have been better to feature more from her.
There are some very impressive actors who chew on the scenery as they emote line after line behind thick fake hair. Both Liam and Ralph seem to be enjoying the experience of being gods while they blowviate and expound all over each other.
Wrath of the Titans will never win any awards. It is much more of a ride flick, something to enjoy but not take seriously. It succeeds on that level and is a fun diversion.