Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wrath Of The Titans (Movie Review)

The 2010 "Clash Of The Titans" remake was an enjoyable, yet forgettable movie for me. It certainly didn't live up to its potential as a sword and sandal fantasy flick. I was surprised to learn a few months ago that a sequel would already be coming out this spring. I was skeptical of the idea, but the trailer gave me hope. It looked like they were pumping more money, effects and monsters in this second attempt, and so I entered the theater daring to hope that "Wrath Of The Titans" would scratch all the itches the first one neglected.

The story picks up 10 years after the events of the first movie. Perseus, the half-man/half-god, is raising his son alone after the death of his wife, hoping to live the quiet life of a fisherman. But his father Zeus arrives and warns him that the gods are in trouble and need his help. Perseus refuses his father's request, but is later pulled into the epic struggle as his son and the entire world are placed in peril.

Like the first movie, "Wrath" has a great visual design. There is a much greater variety of creatures populating this flick and most of them are fascinating to look at. Fire is a key visual concept in this movie. Flames, molten rock and superheated metals are recurring visual cues to remind us of the ultimate foe of this movie, the god Kronos, father of both Zeus and Hades. When he comes out to play it's nothing short of literally earth-shattering. Big baddies don't get much bigger or badder and Kronos is a sight to behold.

This movie also has even more of a "questing" feel to it than the first. Perseus soon leads a band of heroes through a forest filled with giant monsters, and then a labyrinth which changes its configuration repeatedly and also creates illusions meant to discourage intruders. Gamers looking for a movie to scratch that particular "D&D itch" need look no further than this one.

The script is very boring, unfortunately. You're likely to be about 10 minutes ahead of the movie at any given moment. I also wasn't invested emotionally in a single character in this movie, nor did I have a sense of how vulnerable (or not) Perseus and other characters were, which greatly deflated tension. I was at least pleased by a few clever lines that got a chuckle out of me.

While the script tries to offer a moving "father-son" subplot, the direction, script and performances can't seem to work together well enough or invest properly in the theme, leaving it to stumble and fall flat. The movie "Thor", also a mythological fantasy of sorts, pulled off this kind of subplot more effectively and should have been a model for this movie.

Once again the strong theological themes may provoke thought or discussion of spiritual matters, especially regarding how we view the God of the Bible today. The gods in this movie are flawed and petty. They gain and lose power with the number of people who worship them. They can also die, and unlike humans, simply cease to exist rather than moving on to some sort of afterlife. In both "Clash" and "Wrath", the gods almost seem to be inferior to humans. In fact, Zeus tells Perseus "You will learn someday that being half human, makes you stronger than a god."

All these ideas, if applied to a modern person's concept of God, reinforce a mentality of independence from him. In that regard, this movie is very humanistic. Yet because of this strong theme, the movie also lends itself to asking a friend on the drive home what they think God is like, as compared to the concepts presented in this movie.

While the superficial elements of the movie are stronger than those of "Clash", the rest of the movie falls just as short, and the final sum is barely an improvement. Though it may still provoke some interesting thought.

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action

Quality- 8.0/10
Relevance- 7.5/10

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