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Wrath of the Titans (2012)
Movie Reviews

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

A fun and fast-paced action and special effects extravaganza that isn’t intended to be taken too seriously; made strictly to entertain and it does.

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I think what I appreciated most about Wrath of the Titans is that, unlike its 2010 predecessor, I wasn’t forced into making comparisons between versions. Clash of the Titans was, of course, a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. Many people thought I was insane for liking that film. Many more were angry that I had the gall to say the remake was better than the original. As much as I don’t like to fan flames, there’s really no getting around this: It was better. It utilized actors capable of real acting, thereby giving performances that were decent. Its plot, while silly, was vastly more entertaining. And there’s absolutely no convincing me that Ray Harryhausen’s crude, amateurish claymation effects can even remotely hold a candle to the slick, smooth CGI available to us today. The 1981 film was thirty years too early.

Now we have Wrath of the Titans, and because it’s a sequel and not a remake, all the pressures that come with distinguishing one version from another have been taken off me. I was free to enjoy the film for being no more or less than what it was: A fun and fast-paced action and special effects extravaganza. In 3D, of course. What I find both strange and amusing is that, although it was converted in post production from a 2D celluloid negative (which was also the case with the 2010 film), the 3D effects are surprisingly decent. They’re not, however, anything to get worked up over – which is to say there’s no real need for you to spend the extra money at the box office for a pair of 3D glasses. Follow my usual advice and see it in standard, noticeably brighter, and more affordable 2D.

Ten years have passed since the events of the first film. The demigod Persius (Sam Worthington) now has a son named Helius (John Bell), whom he wishes to raise humbly as a fisherman despite his victorious reputation the slayer of the Kraken. As this is established, we learn that it’s a dark time for the gods, as humanity’s devotion and belief in them is rapidly waning. It seems that when you no longer believe in a god or goddess, he or she loses his or her powers. When all powers are drained, he or she dies. And unlike a mortal, who possesses a soul that can be transferred to the afterlife upon death, a god will simply disintegrate into oblivion. Unfortunately, this lack of faith is weakening the walls of an underworld fortress known as Tartarus, which imprisons all manner of giant, evil creatures. Should they escape, they will wreak havoc on humanity.

Persius’ father, the god Zeus (Liam Neeson), descends to the underworld to reunite with his banished brother, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), and his other brother, Poseidon (Danny Huston), in the hopes of reconciling their differences and rebuilding the cracked walls of Tartarus. But Hades has other plans. So too does Zeus’ other son, the perpetually angry Ares (Owen Wilson, Jr.), who hates his father for preferring Persius. In exchange for guaranteed immortality, Hades imprisons Zeus and slowly begins draining him of his powers, which are then transferred to Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon’s evil father, the god Kronos, a hellish monstrosity made of lava and volcanic rock. His dramatic escape from Tartarus paves the way for the final battle, a visually spectacular sequence if ever there was one.

But before that happens, the initially reluctant Persius must leave his son behind and go on a quest to rescue his father. He will gain several sidekicks along the way. These include: Poseidon’s son, the demigod Agenor (Toby Kebbell), a seafaring, wisecracking liar and thief; Agenor’s mother, Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), who, despite being a cunning warrior, wears her dangly earrings in battle; and the fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), a weapons-maker and the architect of Tartarus. His years of isolation have made him certifiably insane. In fact, he frequently has arguments with the metal owl from the 1981 film, which appears to be deactivated. Is it possible for a robotic bird, active or otherwise, to take a stance on any particular issue?

The journey will inevitably include appearances by gigantic monsters and creatures of myth, including a family of hulking cyclopses, a two-headed fire-breathing beast with a snake-like tail, and the winged horse Pegasus. Persius will eventually have to gather Zeus’ thunderbolt, Hades’ spear, and Poseidon’s trident to form the ultimate weapon: The Spear of Triam, apparently the only device capable of defeating Kronos. And, of course, he and his companions will eventually find their way into Tartarus, which is fortified by a mindbending yet surprisingly solvable labyrinth. You see what I mean about this movie being fun? Like its predecessor, Wrath of the Titans is not intended to be taken too seriously. It was made strictly with entertainment in mind, and entertained I was.

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03/30/2012

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PG-13

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Warner Bros.

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About the Author: Chris Pandolfi