Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wrath of the Titans

Get out your medusa heads and krakens and...wait their not in this one? What do we have? Cyclopses and Chimeras? I guess that's ok...we're reviewing Wrath of the Titans!

Hey guys! I think this one actually has titans in it! Although it only has one titan, so really it should be called Wrath of the Titan I guess? Anyways, it's about as mediocre as the last one.

It's been years since the last battle with the gods. People have stopped worshipping, and they've started to lose their power. Perseus(Sam Worthington) now has a son and his unnamed wife is dead. Andromeda(now Rosamund Pike) is now queen.  Without people worshiping them, the gods are beginning to lose their power, and slowly die.  Zeus(Liam freaking Neeson) comes to Perseus to tell him that the world is breaking because no one is praying to the gods, but Perseus does nothing because he's a boring fisherman now. But when Perseus has a dream about the end of the world and Hades(Ralph Fiennes) captures Zeus in an attempt to wake their father Kronos, Perseus has no choice but to once again take up the hero mantle.

I can see what they were trying to do with this one, and it was a good idea. Everyone's older, even the gods, and the world is falling apart. Perseus no longer knows the world he was thrust into and he has to struggle with getting back into the saddle of hero god-killer. Doesn't that sound like a cool movie? Well there are many problems with that, One of which being none of the main actors look any older than they did in the last one, and another that no one remembers the last one for any kind of reference.

I can see how they were trying to make Perseus older. He has teenage son now so it has to be a good 12-15 years since the last one, and there are a number of times where it looks like his bones are aching or he's trying to remember how to ride a horse.  The problem with that is that you can't age Sam Worthington!  He still looks as young as he did in Clash, and even younger now that he has a mane of gorgeous flowing locks. Have you seen that thing?
Honestly tell me which one looks older.
And I thought they also did a terrible job aging Andromeda because she looks ravishing, until I realized they replaced Alexa Davalos with Rosamund Pike. Admit it, you didn't even notice, did you?  It's a not a bad idea replacing the younger actress with one that has some years on her, but Pike looks gorgeous! They have replaced her with an actress that is exactly 3 years older and that does nothing but confuse the audience(I mean, if they remember).  It also doesn't help that I forgot Perseus fell in love with Andromeda in the last one, and the movie did nothing to remind me of that.  Except for at the end, where a kiss comes completely out of nowhere. It felt like they just threw it in because he's Sam Worthington and this is an action movie, so he needs a love interest dammit. There's no tension between the two, sexual or otherwise, which is especially dissapointing when Perseus up and married another woman we never get to meet. You couldn't explain what happened there, movie?  Maybe have some interesting conflict? No?

But why am I talking about smooching? This is supposed to be all about the action! And boy, is there uh...stuff happening!  Admittedly there are a few cool fights, namely the chimera in the beginning and the final Kronos battle at the end. The middle is... forgettable. The fighting is kind of cool, just not amazing. The trouble is they had all the good monsters back in clash: Scorpions, Medusa, the Kraken.  Here they have Cyclopses, a Chimera and the Minotaur, but they're just...not that great.  They look cool, the cgi is fantastic, but they're just not that amazing. There's also a lot of god brawling with Zeus, Hades, Poseidon and Ares, but compared to last year's Immortals, the fighting it's pretty meh.

The characters were also more interesting in Clash.  Here they have Bill Nighy as Hephasteus who's fairly funny and Toby Kebbell as Agenor, who I really should have cared more about.  And that's it.  In Clash, there was that hard-headed captain, the two comedy relief merchants, the weird sand guys that didn't speak, and Io, who played off of Perseus. Here there's not much character meat.

I am happy to report the 3D here is much better.  While the last one barely used it at all, here there are a number of sequences flying through pillars or throwing rocks at the audience.  There are still long sequences where it's largely not used because people are talking, but the monster battles in between are stunning enough to make up for it.  I also have to mention The Avengers trailer in 3D, because in all honesty, that is going to be a major factor as to whether or not you see this in 3D or not. Because it. Is. Amazing. I mean wow, every single frame is a perfect 3D environment, like, someone actually THOUGHT about how this would look in 3D. Compared to The Avengers' 3D, Wrath's 3D looks quaint.

Storywise, it's exactly the same as the last one. Hades is releasing something with a 'K', Perseus doesn't want to go on a journey and accept he's a god until he does, a team of misfits have to travel around to assemble weapon X to defeat monster K, then Perseus flies on his horse to use weapon X to kill monster K. One thing I don't get: They establish that gods get their power from prayer, and are losing their power because people aren't praying to them, so wouldn't the logical idea be to urge people to start praying for them again to stop Kronos? Lead to a very interesting Tinkerbell but with Liam Neeson moment? No? Or hey, people are praying to Aries the god of war, and there's a battle between him and Perseus, so shouldn't he be super jacked up?  Or wouldn't it be cool if people started praying to Perseus because he's half a god, then there's a power struggle and he goes all Super Saiyan on Aries' ass? I'm just Saiyan(so sorry) if you have a crazy idea, run with it.

The music is ok. Once again they use awesome music in the trailers that will never be anywhere near the movie. Imagine how cool this movie would be if it actually used the awesome rock music it advertised!  Super cool, right? Yeah...

SPOILER ALERT This also answers the pivotal question of how many times you have to kill Liam Neeson before he stays dead. Answer: four. Liam Neeson has four death scenes, I counted. I know he's an important character, but c'mon movie, this is just as bad as having 50 endings. After awhile, it loses its meaning. END SPOILER ALERT.

It's not great. It's about as good as the last one. It seems like it has better overall consistency and not just going from set-piece to set-piece, but it also feels muddled and jam-packed with stuff that goes nowhere. It has a lot of potential, but it doesn't follow through and it's just not as interesting as it should be.  So this one has better 3D, but the last one had better monsters.

THE GOOD: Some nice action scenes, Kronos and Chimera look cool, has cool ideas, great 3D.
THE BAD: Not that rememberable, same exact plot, actors don't look older, uninteresting characters, feels muddled, love interest out of nowhere, overall the monsters aren't as cool.
THE VERDICT: meh. It's not necessarily bad, but it's not necessarily good either. A definite maybe. If you really liked the first one and need a 3D action fix, John Carter isn't playing anymore. Otherwise, wait for The Avengers.
MOVIES LIKE IT: Immortals, Clash of the Titans, 300, John Carter, Percy Jackson
ONE SCENE METAPHOR: Perseus tries to mount Pegasus again after all these years. It should have looked like the scene from Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood trying repeatedly to mount his horse, but there's no banter, no context, and he mounts him easily. They try to make Pegasus this old friend of sorts that Perseus has a relationship with, but they use him exactly twice in the whole movie purely as a vehicle. Seriously, watch that clip, and imagine that with Pegasus and Sam Worthington and think about how cool it could have been.

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