Friday, 6 April 2012

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

Image: Warner Bros.
 
Clash of the Titans was not one of 2010’s better films. A poor retelling of the Harry Hamlin classic, it was also one of the first post-converted 3D films and remains one of the worst examples of technology. The makers of Wrath of the Titans claimed to have fixed many of the problems of the previous film, not just with the extra dimension, but also with the plot.

Half-man half-god Perseus (Sam Worthington) is living the life of a simple village fisherman with his son Helius. But when Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez) imprison Zeus (Liam Neeson), monsters from Tartarus rise up to cause chaos on Earth. Perseus must accept his destiny and travel to the underworld to free Zeus before it’s too late. 

So, is there improvement? Yes, in all fairness, there is. The filmmakers have pretty much jettisoned plot and character entirely to create a movie that moves at full tilt from set-piece to set-piece. It’s as if director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles) doesn’t want us to look down because if we do, we might see what’s underneath the action: incredibly clunky dialogue, an utter lack of substance, and a plot that doesn’t stretch beyond getting from A to B. 

Worthington’s Perseus is still the reluctant hero unsure of his own abilities, Neeson and Fiennes are coasting, and there’s a moderately entertaining but brief appearance from Bill Nighy as the eccentric Hephaestus. The best of the bunch are Rosamund Pike (An Education) as warrior queen Andromeda, and an on-form Toby Kebbell (War Horse), who gives the film its few genuine moments of wit as Agenor, a somewhat more roguish half-man half-god. 

But the film’s not particularly interested in character, or dialogue, judging by the woeful attempts at verbal sparring. It’s about the physical clashes, after all. Some of the action sequences are very impressive, particularly the Cyclops rumble and a nicely-edited labyrinth sequence. Liebesman’s shaky, on-the-ground (or, occasionally, in-the-air) aesthetic works as often as it fails, with the final battle feeling especially muddled and underwhelming. 

It’s never dull but there’s nothing going on beneath the flash-bang-wallop of the action. If you enjoyed the first one at all, this is a better film. If you’re unconvinced by the marketing campaign, then Wrath of the Titans can be missed. Oh, how’s the 3D? Again, an improvement. But not by much. 

An improvement on Clash of the Titans with some impressive action sequences. Just don’t listen to the dialogue or expect to remember much about the story afterwards. 

2.5/5 

JH

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