When I first saw the trailer for Wrath of the Titans, my initial response was “Huh?” The idea that someone would greenlight a sequel to one of the worst movies of 2011 was a surprise to me. The fact that after seeing the trailer a million times I walked into the theater thinking “it might not be bad” is a testament to the power of marketing.
Clash of the Titans goes down as having one of the worst 3D post conversions of recent years, so the first question Wrath has to answer is, is the 3D better this time out? True to form, the 3D was actually broken during the first minute or so of our screening. That is not a great start. Once it did kick in it was hit or miss. There are some really nice 3D camera sweeps, a couple of great shots of the world and a detailed immersive 3D sequence where the camera moves from the overworld to the underworld.
For every good 3D moment there’s a bad one – there is a sequence early in the film where our young hero Perseus (played by dangerously close to mullet haired Sam Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus, is attacked by a some weird two headed dragon beast. The camera work is frenetic and fast paced enough without adding 3D to the mix. It came dangerously close to the inevitable moment when someone decides 3D Shaky Cam is the way to go.
Director Jonathan Liebesman does a really good job with the larger set pieces and makes Wrath a competent example of spectacle film making on a budget. There are moments where he clearly has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to CGI, there are two ridiculous moments that come to mind. One is when Perseus takes flight on his winged horse.
This should be an exhilarating moment but it becomes laughable because the horse doesn’t fly straight and bold like it should and he looks like a tiny spec across this great big landscape. I’m not sure why he thought showing the vastness of the world he created was preferable to building his character up as the hero. The other moment comes at the end when Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) face off against a giant fire monster.
The big bad monster just looked ridiculous. This entire final sequence looked like it was straight out of a video game and nothing made sense. Especially the battle strategy Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) employs at the end – use fire against fire monsters when you have Agenor (Toby Kebbell) the demigod son of Poseidon on your side? Ok…
Worthington was wooden, but not as wooden as usual especially the scenes he had where he had to act like a “human” and father. His big permed hair was distracting. I did like the rest of the cast well enough. Neeson was better this time around, but Kebbell as comic relief did not really work well. The clunky dialog hampered things a bit, but it wasn’t over the top bad.
Then, I don’t watch a movie like this for the story or expect it to make a lot of sense. I just want a decent spectacle and an improvement on the original. This movie exceeded the limited expectations that I had going in. If you want a simple movie that entertains this is it.
Final Grade B