Overall, Wrath of the Titans isn’t a bad movie, just a poorly made one. It apparently cost $150 million and it seems you can see every penny of it on screen with some decent visual effects, good production design and well made costumes. However, the characters are paper thin, the story unexciting and the action ultimately forgettable.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 99 min. – $35.99 | June 26, 2012
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Writer(s): Greg Berlanti & David Leslie Johnson & Dan Mazeau (story), Dan Mazeau & David Leslie Johnson (screenplay)
Cast: Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Danny Huston, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson
Theatrical Release Date: March 30, 2012
Features: Maximum Movie Mode, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, DVD Copy, UltraViolet Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 30.8 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
Clash of the Titans was released in 2010 to lukewarm reviews and modest domestic box office, but exploded overseas amassing a $330 million payday ($493M worldwide) thanks in part to the 3D surcharge which started the craze which two years later hasn’t really subsided. Now in 2012, Wrath of the Titans was sequel nobody really asked for but because of the money potential overseas, it was hard for Warner to pass up on. Depending on your point of view of this series, this sequel was hardly a success garnering a weak $300 million worldwide, not terrible given the $150 million budget, but I can’t really see why a third one needs even to be made…
It’s of course not always about the box office as there’s plenty of movies I loved that flopped, but with the two Titans movies, I can’t muster the passion to even hate the damn franchise. I didn’t care for Clash of the Titans, although some of it was salvageable in large part because of Gemma Arteron who was coming off of Quantum of Solace in ’08. Unfortunately, she ultimately declined to return, officially because she was working on a Hansel and Gretel feature. So what did the brilliant writers decide to do? They killed the character off screen.
When the movie opens, we get a quick recap from a voice over by Liam Neeson recounting the events of the first film (lazy writing #1) before we meet our boring ass protagonist Perseus (SAM WORTHINGTON) who is living on the DL with his son, Helius (JOHN BELL) whom he is teaching to be a fisherman, nothing more and turning away from his god-side. At this point, the gods’ powers have diminished because fewer people are praying to them. As they grow weaker, humankind is at risk. However, despite being asked by his father Zeus (LIAM NEESON), Perseus will not join the fight to… do something. All I know is, Zeus is kidnapped by brother Hades (RALPH FIENNES) and son Ares (EDGAR RAMIREZ) and plans on unleashing their murderous, and monstrous, father Kronos and the evil Titans upon the world. Why? I haven’t a clue nor do I really care.
Perseus discovers what happened to his father from the god Poseidon (DANNY HUSTON in a nearly blink or you’ll miss cameo) and needs to venture to Hell to save his father and in turn the planet. But he can’t do it alone and enlists the support of Poseidon’s son, Agenor (TOBY KEBBELL), and Greek Queen Andromeda (ROSAMUND PIKE taking over for Alexa Davalos who declined to return; they couldn’t dare kill two major characters from the first movie off-screen…) who now has blonde hair. Because Perseus and Agenor are only half human, they cannot merely go to Hell and receive help from demigod Hephaestus (BILL NIGHY), the maker of the gods’ weapons – Zeus’ Thunderbolt, Hades’ Pitchfork and Poseidon’s Trident – and when combined is the only thing that can defeat Kronos.
Meanwhile, in Hell, Zeus is chained up to extract his powers to give Kronos more strength to be unleashed and while Hades has second thoughts to what he’s done to his brother, Ares wants nothing more than to torture his own father (you see a thematic pattern merging?). Will Perseus, Agenor and Andromeda save Zeus in time and stop the apocalypse that is Kronos from sweeping the Earth? And how exactly did Kronos father Zeus and Hades in the first place?
The thing about Wrath of the Titans, which is one reason I didn’t care for its predecessor, was I couldn’t care less about the plot or the characters. It doesn’t help that Sam Worthington, who indeed has the face of a movie star, just is so bland in almost every role he inhabits. It’s not that he’s a bad actor, but he seems to work better if he’s secondary to other movie stars. Even in the worldwide phenomenon Avatar, he’s overshadowed by the 3D elements. He’s not bad here but the character is so forgettable that after two films I can’t tell you a single memorable thing about him…
The supporting cast isn’t much better with veterans like Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes sleepwalking through their performances while younger stars Edgar Ramirez (The Bourne Ultimatum), Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) and Toby Kebbell (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) not making much of an impression despite, especially for Kebbell, the writers’ attempts to insert some comedic moments, which falls completely flat. Like Worthington, it’s not that they give subpar performances but the characters aren’t exactly outstanding and don’t leave an impression either way.
Wrath of the Titans was helmed by studio-go-to-guy, Jonathan Liebesman whose previous works include such illustrious projects as Darkness Falls, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Battle Los Angeles and the much lauded (supposedly) upcoming Ninja Turtles. Needless to say, he hasn’t proven to be a top notch director. However, he does have a visual flair, but when it comes to substance and character development, he falls flat. It’s not entirely his fault as the screenplay, by Dan Mazeau (debut, also has The Flash) and David Leslie Johnson (Orphan, Red Riding Hood), never gets the ball rolling.
It’s not that Wrath is a particularly “bad” movie, with a running time at only 95-minutes (sans credits) it moves by quickly enough, but it’s only passable entertainment filled with mediocre performances (*cough* Sam Worthington *cough*) and writing which garners little sympathy or passion for any of the characters. As much as I disliked Clash of the Titans, this is a bit worse. If you have nothing better to watch and you enjoyed the first movie, then it might be worth checking out, otherwise pass on this Greek tragedy altogether.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
The two-disc set comes in a standard Blu-ray case and glossy slip cover.
Maximum Movie Mode – This is Warner’s Blu-ray staple offering up behind-the-scenes footage, storyboards, and more via picture-in-picture. You get to choose between the “Path of Men” and the Path of Gods” with the ability to switch between the two or, if you like, can watch them individually in the “Focus Points”.
Focus Points is comprised of two multipart featurettes: Path of Men (21:13; HD) and Path of Gods (12:29; HD). Each gives behind-the-scenes perspective on the Earthly elements while the other looks at the scenes, and history, taking place amongst the gods.
Deleted Scenes (10:48; HD) – Three scenes failed to make the cut probably not to further bog down the movie even more; plus these aren’t anything special (and not well acted).
Preview – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Also included is a DVD Copy and a UltraViolet Digital Copy.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
If there’s nothing good to really say about the movie, I’ll give Wrath of the Titans, and Warner Brothers, this much: the movie looks damn great on Blu-ray. The film is presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio (theatrically it was 1.85) and 1080p high-definition and it shows off amazing amount of detail in every scene. There’s also some nice grain which is noticeable but not too much to become a distraction. The color array is geared more towards natural tones but even still, it has quite the nice pop off the screen, especially when we do get into the more vibrant colors.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio isn’t as impressive as the video transfer, but it’s still quite good. After starting off on a quieter note, the track goes gangbusters when the action starts providing a robust but even keeled track which shows off some nice depth both for the action and dialogue-driven scenes. You can hear every little sound from exploding rocks to the flowing lava in Hades domain.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, Wrath of the Titans isn’t a bad movie, just a poorly made one. It apparently cost $150 million and it seems you can see every penny of it on screen with some decent visual effects, good production design and well made costumes. However, the characters are paper thin, the story unexciting and the action ultimately forgettable. The Blu-ray offers up excellent video and audio transfers and the features, while nothing great, can be interesting to watch.