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Wrath of the Titans – When Greek gods clash, bad things happen

Wrath of the Titans - Theater Review
Release Date: 03/30/2012 - MPAA Rating: PG-13
Clacker Rating: 3 Clacks

Turn off your mind and put on your 3D glasses. Scholars of Greek mythology need not apply.

Sam Worthington and Liam Neeson in "Wrath of the Titans"

The Greek gods and children of the gods return once again in Wrath of the Titans, which takes place ten years after the events of Clash of the Titans. In this go-round, Zeus (Liam Neeson) finds himself held captive by his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and son Ares (Édgar Ramírez) after a deal has been made with Kronos, the father of the gods whom Zeus imprisoned in Tartarus, a dungeon deep below the Underworld. The gods are losing their immortality as the people have stopped praying to them, and by sapping Zeus’ power to free Kronos, Hades and Ares will be given back their immortality. Except Kronos isn’t a good guy, and once he’s unleashed he will rip the earth apart. Only Perseus (Sam Worthington) can save the earth … with a little help from Agenor (Toby Kebbell), son of Poseidon (Danny Huston), Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) and the three weapons he forged for Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. But saving the humans could come at a great price.

The story of Wrath of the Titans sounds gripping, but it all ends up becoming just a bit thin and unintersting as it’s completely overwhelmed by the visuals … which may be a good thing in the long run. Early in the film, we catch up with Perseus and his son Helius, living a normal life in a small village. Zeus pays a surprise visit and warns Perseus of what’s to come and the action pretty much starts from there as the village is attacked by some fire-breathing, demonic, two-headed creatures. After that, the film rarely stops to take a breath or give any more plot exposition. It’s basically one big action-packed set piece after another, but absolutely no expense was spared on the special effects which are quite spectacular.

As far as performances go, Worthington isn’t given much to do but fight and scream in pain, but most of his co-stars are given some moments to shine. Neeson and Fiennes really crackle when they have scenes together, and I really would have liked to have seen more fight between them before Zeus was captured. Bill Nighy is only on screen for a few minutes, but he manages to steal that short segment as the demented — or is he? — Hephaestus (who may be conversing with the clockwork owl, Bubo, at least in his head). Pike gets to fight a bit and look beautiful, but the standout is Kebbell, who brings some much needed humor to his role and gets all of the movie’s best dialogue.

While the script itself is a bit weak, director Jonathan Liebesman makes the most of his visuals and the 3D. Yes, the first movie’s 3D was awful (the first of the 2D to 3D conversions, if I’m not mistaken), but this one was actually shot in 3D* so the effect is quite immersive and they even throw a few things in your face too. That’s my kind of 3D! The CGI effects, from the various monsters to fireballs to a massive labyrinth and scenes of massive destruction, are absolutely astonishing. You can almost forgive the thinness of the plot if you turn off your mind (especially if you’re really into Greek mythology) and just let yourself be taken in by the spectacle of it all. Almost.

Wrath of the Titans is one of those movies that you either like or hate. It plays fast and loose with Greek mythology (instead of Medusa, we get a family of Cyclops and the Minotaur), but it’s not a film for scholars. If you just want to enjoy the spectacle of it all, then this is the film for you … and it’s one of the few 3D movies that I can highly recommend seeing in 3D. Taken on its own merits, it’s a pretty entertaining, if not mentally stimulating, movie-going experience.

*Update: It’s been brought to my attention that the film was announced to be shot in 3D back in June of 2010, but director Jonathan Liebsman decided to shoot in 2D and do a post conversion to 3D so that he could shoot on film instead of video. However, the conversion is still flawlessly executed as compared to the rush job of the original.


Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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