Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

Going to see a movie in a theater is, to me, a great pleasure. Going to see a movie in a theater all by yourself is even more of a thrill. You feel a sense of independence, as you choose what candy, food, or beverage you want and, of course, what movie to see. Walking into Wrath of the Titans, in 3D I might add, gave me that experience. Now if the film itself captured the same sense of ecstasy, I'd be in a much better mood, but I press on.

The plot, of what little I can decipher, takes place ten years after the original 2010 remake. Perseus is the beloved demi-god whose wife, Io, is dead, but has a son now. Perseus has chosen to live life as a human, working as a fisherman. One day, however, Zeus informs him that the gods’ powers are fading because of lack of devotion from humans, or some crap like that. At first, Perseus isn’t interested, but then is later informed that he not only has a cousin, Ares, but he and Hades have taken Zeus as captive. Ares is jealous of Perseus because of Perseus' popularity due to the Kraken battle. So, Perseus, along with Queen Andromeda’s army and the demi-god, Agenor, sets out to find the god, Hephaestus, who apparently knows where Ares is, so that Perseus can defeat Ares. 

Confused? Bored? Well, times that by like ten and you get the idea of what the experience is like. 

I, actually, enjoyed the remake of Clash of the Titans. Was it cheesy? Yes. Was the acting and dialogue laughable? Yes. However, I thought it was a fun movie with an engaging story, likeable characters, and some pretty cool action sequences. So, the idea of making a sequel to a remake when the original 1981 film didn’t have a sequel was pretty stupid. However, the trailers got me convinced to go see it. My hopes were high as I handed the lady my gift card, which had $8.50 on it. So, I didn’t have to pay a dime for anything, except my food. Yet, I still feel ripped off.

I thought it was going to be a fun, campy movie like the remake was, because the film starts out that way. The acting is laughably bad. Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades are dull, Edgar Ramirez is dull as Ares, and Sam Worthington is bland, as he reprises his role as Perseus, who looks ridiculous with that stupid hairdo. My least favorite actor in the movie was John Bell as Perseus’ son. Apparently, he is an up-and-coming young actor, as he is appearing in two other films this year, Battleship and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I don’t know how good he is in those films, which don’t sound good to begin with, but he is utterly wooden in this. Occasionly, he shows emotion, but about 90% of the movie, he looks like someone slipped him some Xanax to get through this film. The dialogue is also laughable. I fear that a drinking game will evolve where you have to take a drink every time someone in this film says, “Brother!” However, at first, I thought that all this would be an advantage to the film, if it went the campy route.

However, the story is boring and incomprehensible. I could barely understand what was going on, to the point where I just didn’t care about anything that was going on. In fact, I barely could pick out a plot in this movie. I think the whole movie was basically made to cash in on the original film and be a spectacle of special effects. It has a running time of 99 minutes and it still feels longer than the original film. The characters are barely developed before the movie begins the action. There are several things in the story that are stupid or don’t make sense, especially one scene near the end (not a spoiler) where Hades revives Zeus. How Hades does it made me groan and cringe.

Also, the editing is very poor. It’s almost as if the director and/or cinematographer was embarrassed of the special effects, because he cuts the action sequences so quickly that you can barely grasp on what’s happening and you can barely see the creature or whatever until like 10 seconds later. To make things even more confusing and murkier, half of the time, the camera gets doused with sand or light, so there is no way to know what’s going on. And the fact that it is predictable, you don’t even care, because if you are a popular, bland, pretentious demi-god, you’ll always win.

Also, it is visually dull. I’m not trying to say the film is cheap, though there are some lava, fire, or dissolving effects that are cheap. What I am saying is that we’ve seen it all before. It’s not innovative or groundbreaking. It’s more like, “Oh yeah. People can do that now.” However, in the 2010 film, the action sequences, while not innovative either, were fun and that scorpion battle had me at the edge of my seat. The only time I was ever on the edge of my seat was when I was trying to comprehend what was going on or when it stupefied me. 

Also, the creatures are pretty ugly. I mean, I understand that’s kind of the point, but the fact that they are exteriorly unappealing distracts you, instead of captivates you. There are, also, two shots where, I swear to God, were only in there for 3D. One was where the Chimera, all of a sudden, opens his mouth and it pops out at the screen. While it was cool, it was also forced and gratuitous. The other shot was with the Cyclops, where he looked down at the screen. Not only was that a cliché you would see on a TV spot for the film, but also I swear that the filmmakers were so lazy, they repeated that same shot.

However, on the positive side, the sets and locations are magnificent. I don’t know how much of it was real and how much was CGI, but they look really authentic. Also, the 3D is much better in this film. The 2010 film’s use of 3D was, I must confess, completely unnecessary. It did nothing to entangle or transport me into that world. This movie’s use of 3D is much more effective. Also, there were a couple of funny moments and even an emotionally strong moment involving Agenor, played by Toby Kebbell. Overall, though, the movie is flat and stupid and it gets worse and worse until the very bloody end.

Rating: A high one-and-a-half stars out of four

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