Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Wrath of the Titans (2012)

“You're sweating like a human... next it will be tears.”

Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike
Writers: Dan Mazeau and David Johnson

When I was but a wee lad I can remember watching this movie called Clash of the Titans on a wonderful Sunday with my dad. I loved the stop-motion effects created by Ray Harryhausen. Yet it wasn’t just the effect that charmed me, but the story of mortals trying to define their own path away from the gods was probably the first seeds planted for my own beliefs. In 2010 Clash of the Titans was remade, and in my opinion it was an extremely lazy movie, and saddened my how bad it was, especially considering the actors that were involved. Well this year Wrath of the Titans has been released and the over arching question is, can this sequel rectify the mistakes of the remake?

Not surprisingly this movie is better than the original, but that doesn’t mean too much as it wasn’t too hard to be better. Still it’s a flawed film that just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. Which is a shame as there is potential to be a good action movie. If anything like the first movie the acting is better than a movie like this deserves. Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades are a blast, unfortunately some of their more interesting scenes have to be interrupted by the plot. Stupid plot pissing on one of the best things in the movie. Still there is something awesome about watching Neeson and Fiennes walking through a battlefield together, laying the smackdown on the monsters. Sam Worthington is what you would expect, I’m not really sure why he’s become popular as to me he comes across as a more boring version of Russel Crowe (growly voice and all), still he’s far from awful. There are some nice new characters for Bill Nighy and Toby Kebbell to latch on to. Rosamund Pike probably comes off the worst in the movie as Andromeda, but it’s not really her fault as the script throws her into the movie but gives her nothing to do.

Visually the movie delivers CGI beasties by the bucketful. In particular Cronos was a sight to see, and was probably one of the biggest villains I’ve seen in a while. The other monsters were well done and I liked some of the details they used. For instance the chimera has one head that breathes acid while the other one sets that acid on fire. It’s a nice touch. Also while I didn’t watch Clash in 3D, I did hear that it was shockingly bad. Well the 3D this time is a lot better, though I’m not sure if the movie really needed it other than to boost box office. Still Liebesman has a good handle on action, which is good as this is the main reason will see this movie.

Story wise we have some interesting themes that come up, the relationship between fathers and sons, and mortals and gods. It’s a shame the movie script wants to really do the bare minimum, but honestly expecting anything great from the movie is going to lead to disappointment. It knows what it wants to be, and the story can go to hell as long as the visuals please the audience. Funnily in such a hollow script, the movie does have pacing issues, and it does seem to drag, which is amazing considering its only 99 minutes. Yet again the term, still it’s better than the remake, comes to mind but that’s not a ringing endorsement.

So if you’ve watched the trailers to this movie and thought it looked cool and can spare the money for the tickets, then I don’t think anything should stop you. Visually the movie is good, it’s a step up from the original, and yet there is no drive to make it any better than competent. Any interesting interaction between actors is quickly diverted by the plot. There could have been something great here, with it’s themes but it’s never taken advantage of. You really don’t need my recommendation for this movie, cause you’ll know if you want to see it from the get go.

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