Review: Wrath of the Titans / Cert:12 / Director: Jonathan Leibesman / Screenplay: Dan Mazeu, David Leslie Johnson / Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Toby Keppell, Danny Huston / Release Date: Out Now
Wrath of the Titans is better than 2010’s Clash of the Titans remake. This, however, is damning a film with faint praise because, by all other reasonable standards, this is a weak and fairly lifeless movie despite its surfeit of CGI monsters, fights and battles and any number of embarrassed-to-be-here Thesps acting their socks off or putting on peculiar accents (Bill Nighy’s blacksmith Hephaestus is clearly ancient Greece-via-Barnsley). Wrath of the Titans is a pretty fine example of a film showered with funds to make it look awesome and spectacular but with little time or effort expended on a script pepped with deathless dialogue - Hades uses his Godly powers to revive Neeson’s aged Zeus and tell him “You look ten thousand years younger!” to which Zeus replies “I feel it.” Give us a break. Confronted by a family of rampaging Cyclops (Cyclii??) Perseus (Worthington, in best Bondi beach surfer dude mode and making no attempt to hide it) gasps “You gotta be kidding me!”
Ten years after the events of Clash of the Titans Perseus is enjoying a career-break as a fisherman with his ten year-old son at his salty side. His Dad Zeus (he’s a God) pays him a call one night and tells him that the powers of the Gods are fading due to a lack of faith shown by human less-than-devotees and that the ancient Fire God Kronos is about to break free from the walls of his underground prison Tartarus. When Zeus is later held captive and his power used to revive Kronos, Perseus joins forces with warrior princess Andromeda (Pike) and cousin Agenor (Keppell) to find a way into Tartarus to stop the fire-belching Kronos ravaging the land. Ooh!!
There seems to be a vague attempt here to emulate the style and tone of films like Jason and the Argonauts and Seventh Voyage of Sinbad but the script is too self-conscious and knowing to carry it off and the CGI effects are just far too slick and can’t help but make older viewers yearn for the juddery, atmospheric stop-motion animation of the Harryhausen classics. There’s an uncomfortable sense of going-through-the-motions about the film, as if the whole enterprise only exists because the first one did better than anyone expected and, as usual, Hollywood just can’t resist the chance to make another cheap buck off the back of even the shoddiest of potential franchises. And despite its lavish effects and ambitious location filming, Wrath of the Titans just seems cynical and tired, a film which exists without actually needing to, clearly thrown together without much regard to the need for a decent script or interesting characters. It’s bland and pointless but even so there’s enough fire and spectacle on display to make it a diverting, if instantly forgettable, bit of trashy entertainment. Hopefully Wrath of the Titans will turn out to be the last of the Titans.
Extras: Maximum Movie mode allows viewers to bone up on Greek myths or watch behind-the-scenes stuff and there are a few deleted scenes which are as inessential as the movie itself.