This post is the unedited copy of The Wrath of the Titans movie review, published 8th April 2012 in our film review column Animadversion. The column appears in iMAGES on Sunday (Dawn Newspaper). Published links and scans are at the end of the post.
The Wrath of the Amped–Up Sequel
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
Pitting man against angry mythical beasts and angrier mythical gods, Wrath of the Titans, the new movie continuation of the panned, yet financially successful, Clash of the Titans continues its linage by suffering the wrath of the movie critics.
Let me tell you, we critics are an awful bunch for tent-pole studio productions. We seem to have it in for big, loud, 3D blockbusters, with little or no plot – and most of the times (not to blow our own horn), we’re right.
However, in the case of Wrath, which had a below average 37% rating at Metacritic.com, review-ratings can be tad unjustified assessment.
Now I concede, the 2010 hit Clash of the Titans didn’t hit it for me (I, all-but wished, it and director Louis Leterrier a pleasant day in Hades’ fume-filled hell). And once I knew a sequel was coming with new director Jonathan Liebesman, whose filmography evokes a series of groans (Darkness Falls, Battle Los Angeles, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), I cared even less for the extension.
With Wrath of the Titans, I expected Liebesman to do his worst. Bring about a massacre of the senses, in big, garish spectacles of hell bent CGI chaos. And for the major of the running time, he does, for Wrath has an even lesser story to tell than Clash.
So it strikes me as a minor miracle that Liebesman (and the screenplay by Dan Mazeau and David Johnson) manages to sustain a delicate, sentimental balance within the constant onslaught (the film jumps from one fight scene to the next). I suppose any island in a storm would do.
As we know from last time, the Greek gods are an endangered species, with humanity slowly forsaking them for more stable (and less pizazz-y) faiths. To remain immortal Hades (again played by Ralph Fiennes) allies himself with Ares (Edgar Ramirez) and entraps the old gods. He then uses Zeus’ remaining energy to spring free Kronos – who according to legend is the father they imprisoned in the pits of the underworld. Like most jailed gods, Kronos, when free, will fry the planet – literally.
So utilizing his uncanny logic of a deity, Zeus (played by a powerhouse Liam Neeson), contacts his son Perseus (Sam Worthington, a tad better than last time) for assistance before getting caught.
In their brief, effective, father-son scene, Perseus argues that his mortality won’t match up to the power of the gods. Zeus, like all-screen Zeus’s before him, believes that being half-human makes Perseus (or any other Greek hero) a better champion than an old, almost snuffed, god.
And so, we witness a lots of scenes with digital violence featuring the actual star cast of the movie: Chimeras, Cyclopses, nasty-looking Makhai (undead minions with two heads and torsos, stitched back to back on a single body) – and lest I forget, the smoldering-molten Titan Kronos, whose gargantuan 3D image, bursting out of his caged existence in the underworld, just freaked me out.
Regardless of the insurmountable peril Perseus will triumph, of course, because cinema has bred us with this fore-knowledge. Saving the day, after all, is a hero’s profession (regardless of the business he’s doing at the start of the film).
Without impending, world-ending chaos, he would be out of a job.
Released by Warner Bros. the movie recasts everyone from the original save Alexa Davalos, who’s replaced by Rosamund Pike. Apart from Pike, there’s Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Édgar Ramírez, Toby Kebbell, Danny Huston and an over-the-top Bill Nighy.
The film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, with a screenplay by Dan Mazeau and David Johnson (based on the story by Mazeau, Johnson and Greg Barlanti, and a previous screenplay by Beverly Cross).
Released by Warner Bros. Wrath of the Titans is rated PG-13. A lot of digital-doubles die, digital deaths.
The published version is
, inexplicably, not online. (Blame it on human error). http://dawn.com/2012/04/08/wrath-of-the-sequel/
On paper, here’s how it reads: