With The Artist treatment, my arse would have liked it
Once you have been doing reviews for a while (which I have), you find that your arse is actually an extremely good judge of movies. When it is happy and content and enjoying the movie, it has no problem plopping down into the theatre chair and being sat on for two hours at a time. But for Wrath of the Titans, the other movie-goers must have assumed that I was doing chair aerobics for all the times that I had to change positions in my chair.
Wrath seems to have all the necessary elements you would expect for a top-drawer action movie: plenty of action and production design, just a hint of romance to round the characters without taking away from the action, good bits of comedy spread throughout, and just enough of an interesting story to help tie everything together. Unfortunately, instead of a film of mythological proportions, it is legendary only because it fizzles like an old soda.
Wrath… begins ten years after Clash… Our hero from Clash…, Perseus (Worthington sporting something of a mullet) is trying to live a normal human existence as a single father and fisherman, turning his back on his half-godly heritage. Unbeknownst to him, shadiness is afoot. Cronos, who was imprisoned by his three sons, Hades (Fiennes), Poseidon (Huston) and Zeus (Neeson) – during the old war of the gods, has brokered a deal with Hades and Ares (Martinez), Zeus’s less loved son, to sap Zeus’s god-power to help him break free from his imprisonment in the underworld.
With much consternation – his town is being besieged by beasts from below and his son is being threatened – Perseus goes on a quest to rescue Zeus from Tartarus, with the help of Queen Andromeda (Pike), Agenor (Kebbell), the son of Poseidon, and Hephaestus (Nighy), a fallen god. In the process he could, just maybe, find a cure for cancer, lead the way to save the world from the impending annihilation and start a world class extermination company. Okay, well one out of three ain’t bad.
The acting in ‘Wrath…’ was neither titanic nor olympic, but rather worn, like my old Metallica ‘Kill ‘em all’ cassette tape. I would expect more from the likes of Neesom, Fiennes, Nighy, Worthington and even Edgar Ramirez. However, Liebesman as a director is not exactly known for his great characterisations in films, unless you consider Battle-Los Angeles and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning terrific examples of script and character development.
But as bad as the acting was (perhaps if the characters were muted every time they spoke it might have been acceptable), the production was actually really good. The 3D was seamless and headache free, the action well choreographed with tons of energy, and the CGI special effect monsters and villains splendid (the giant firey Cronos notwithstanding) – with a sound track that kept pace in every way. In essence, we are given half of a movie worth watching and another half that gives one ants in the pants.
‘Clash…’ was too bogged down in Greek mythology and yet still managed to gross around 500 million world-wide. With ‘Wrath…’, they’ve made the story simpler (maybe too much so), but still manage to make a better film than the first, although truth be told, that’s not difficult. While this film may not be worthy of the gods, it will suffice for us mortal humans. Just maybe bring an extra pillow for your bum.
Wrath of the Titans (11)
Dir: Jonathan Liebesman;
US action, 2012, 126 mins;
Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Rosamund Pike, Ralph Fiennes
Premiered March 29