Ok, so Wrath of the Titans actually is better than Clash, but only by a little, and not where it really counts.
Last years remake of Clash of the Titans was decidedly not amazing, but was a fine idle time waster. Looking back, I realized I never gave it a kittenhands rating. Perhaps that was my subconscious telling me something. You know, that I wasn’t really prepared to allow myself to bash it completely. I love movies with monsters in them. The 12 year old me still gets excited about such nerdly things. But still, as a well written film, Clash didn’t hold up that end. Now, with this years Wrath of the Titans, I thought perhaps they would learn a few things and make a better film. And you know what? Not so much.
It’s ten years after Perseus defeated the Kraken, and he has chosen a quiet life of being a fisherman and raising his son. Zeus shows up to ask for help: because humans have stopped praying to the Gods, their power is weakened and therefore Tartarus, the prison that holds the Titans and their creator, Kronos, is also weakened. Kronos, father to Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, has convinced Hades and Ares to free him in exchange for immortality. Kronos, of course, plans to wage war on humanity. To do this, Hades and Ares capture Zeus so that Kronos can drain him of his power. Perseus must go to Hell and free Zeus and try to defeat Kronos. Blah blah blah.
Ok, so Wrath of the Titans actually is better than Clash, but only by a little, and not where it really counts. The minor improvements only concern the 12 year old me. So what’s better? The CG is improved here, and the monsters are pretty sweet, with one weird exception. The Chimera, the double torso demon slodiers, and Kronos, are menacing and really cool to see. However, there is a minotaur in the film that looks more like Sloth from The Goonies with horns. But aside from that (and a complete lack of Corey Feldman), there are some really eye-popping effects here- much better than Clash. And the 3D technology is also improved and more effective. Still, though, it could have been used even better. But alas, 3D is still not being used properly in general, with the exception of Hugo. But this ain’t Hugo.
But there really are some great effects. The scene with Perseus flying toward Kronos, though similar to the scene with the Kraken, is shot better and the CG just looks like they took more time on it. Kronos is kinda breath-taking. I want to smack anyone that says “Oh, it looks so fake, such unrealistic CG!” Uh, it’s a mountain-sized figure made of molten rock. You know Kronos doesn’t really exist, right? It’s not like you can compare him to the Kronos you saw sipping a cappuccino the other day. Geez. In the context of this film, the CG and green screening looks good. It’s a different director here than from Clash of the Titans, so maybe that had something to do with it? I don’t know, it’s the guy that directed Battle L.A., which is barely more than a lateral move.
Other than all that, things don’t fare much better in Wrath of the Titans than in Clash. The acting, though moderately better, is still pretty wooden. Not that it’s the fault of much of the cast. I mean, if you write some half way decent dialogue for Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Bill Nighy, they won’t fail you completely. But you know, you have to write something worth saying. Ok, there’s a modicum more meat on the bones of these characters, but adding some deep-seeded daddy issues to Ares and delving into Zeus and Hades’ sibling issues is still formulaic at best. It’s still just a bunch of cool monster sequences with lots of “who cares” in between.
And what’s with all the actors in this with British accents? Aren’t they supposed to be Greek? Sometimes you feel like you’re watching a Masterpiece Theater production of a Greek play. With an Australian lead. Did the Greeks like to do British accents? Or maybe they listen to our podcast. “‘Ello guv’na! Oi, that’s a bloody big cyclops! Care for a cuppa tea, Zeus? Blimey! Fightin’ that Chimera has me knackered!” Yeah, they’re totally Greek.
And Sam Worthington as Perseus exhibits about as much emotional nuance as the all the stone he keeps getting smashed into. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much fake or CG stone get demolished by a human body before. So much smashing, the Hulk would be proud.
Yeah, so Wrath of the Titans gets maybe two kittenhands overall, but my inner 12 year old monster nerd gives it a strong three because the improved monster quotient. So, if you’re a 12 year old boy you’ll dig this. Otherwise…not.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, waiting patiently for the Avengers movie.