Much like its Greek mythological source material Wrath of the Titans is light on dramatic characterization sticking to blunt moral lessons and fantastical battles to tell its epic tale. That's perfectly acceptable for its 100 minute run time in which director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) unleashes an eclectic hoard of monsters upon his gruff demigod hero Perseus. The creature design is jagged gnarly and exaggerated not unlike a twelve-year-old's sugar high-induced crayon creations — which is perfect as Wrath is tailor made to entertain and enamor that slice of the population.
Clash of the Titans star Sam Worthington once again slips on the sandals to take on a not-quite-based-on-a-myth adventure a mission that pits Perseus against the greatest force in the universe: Kronos formally-incarcerated father of the Gods. A few years after his last adventure Perseus is grieving for his deceased wife and caring for their lone son but a visit from Zeus (Liam Neeson) alerts the warrior to a task even more urgent than his current seabass fishing gig. Irked that the whole Kraken thing didn't work out Hades (Ralph Fiennes) with the help of Zeus' disaffected son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) is preparing to unleash Kronos — and only Perseus has the required machismo to stop him. But Perseus enjoys the simple life and brushes off Zeus forcing the head deity to take matters into his own hands…just as Hades and Ares planned. The diabolical duo capture Zeus and having no one else to turn to Perseus proceeds into battle.
The actual reasoning for all the goings on in Wrath of the Titans tend to drift into the mystical realm of convolution but the ensemble and Liebesman's visual visceral directing techniques keep the messy script speeding along. As soon as one starts wondering why Perseus would ever need to hook up with battle-ready Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) or Poseiden's navigator son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) Liebesman and writers Dan Mazeu and David Johnson throw in another bombastic set piece another three-headed four-armed 10 000-fanged monstrosity on screen. Perseus' journey pits him against a fire-breathing Chimera a set of Cyclopses a shifting labyrinth (complete with Minotaur) and all the dangers that come with Hell itself. The sequences have all the suspense of an action figure sandbox brawl but on a towering IMAX screen they're geeky fun. If only the filler material was a bit more logical and interesting the final product would be the slightest bit memorable.
Liebesman reaps the best performances he possibly can from Wrath's silly formula Worthington again proves himself a charismatic underrated leading man. As the main trio of Gods Neeson Fiennes and Ramirez completely acknowledge how goofy shooting lightning bolts out of their hands must look on screen but they own it with campy fun tones. But the film's overwhelming CG spectacle suffocates the glimmer of great acting opting for slice-and-dice battle scenes over ridiculous (and fun) epic speak nonsense. If a movie has Liam Neeson as the top God it shouldn't chain him up in molten lava shackles for a majority of the time.
Wrath of the Titans is a non-offensive superhero movie treatment of classic heroes that feels more like an exercise in 3D monster modeling than filmmaking. Its 3D makeover never helps the creatures or Perseus pop turning Wrath into an even muddier affair than the single-planed alternative (although unlike Clash of the Titans you won't have 3D shaky-cam blur burned directly into your retinas). The movie reaches for that child sense of wonderment but instead cranks out a picture that may not even hold a child's attention.
For some completely unprovoked reason, Hollywood.com has decided to take a look back at the 1974 Charlton Heston film, Earthquake. Among the most iconic additions to the disaster genre, the movie strung together a handful of vignettes, pitting average everyday big-name celebrities against a ripple in the California plates.
Natural disaster movies are gripping for many reasons—the first and foremost of which: they have a slightly larger chance of occurring to you and your loved ones than do zombie outbreaks or alien attacks—and it’s always fun to imagine how you’d measure up to the Charlton Hestons, Tommy Lee Joneses and, to a lesser extent, Bill Paxtons if these situations were to actually occur.
Thus, in the completely arbitrary spirit of earthquakes and other natural phenomena, we’ve made a list of a few more classic movies in the genre:
The thing that keeps this from being in the same spirit as most disaster movies is that Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton actually go looking for trouble. Nevertheless, Twister is incurably memorable—the Flying Cows Phenomenon is a hard thing to erase from memory.
VOLCANO (OR DANTE’S PEAK)
This is a pair of movies that, in the same vein as Armageddon and Deep Impact, came out so close together and were so similar in theme and plot that I have a difficult time remembering what happened in which. So I’ll just lump them together and pretend they were one movie: Tommy Lee Jones and Pierce Brosnan team up to stop a Volcano from erupting in the Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles. Collectively, they have a dead fiancée and a young daughter, as well as an antagonistic boss and a friend named Emmitt. All in all, everyone important doesn’t get lava’d.
THE PERFECT STORM
There’s a storm. Boat goes flying. Captain goes down with the ship. The kids are fine.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
There’s a lot of snow because people don’t know how to turn lights off. The disastrousness of the disaster is overshadowed by the disastrousness of humans in this movie—but the real disaster is the “I just want my son back” storyline Dennis Quaid enlists as he treks across the tundra to rescue Jake Gyllenhaal from swimming around with a pretty girl.
Bill Paxton was in this movie, too. And again, I found it kind of hard to feel bad for him. A bunch of jackasses find it necessary to run around on mountains, taking pictures of animals or yetis or Buddhists or something, and then—BAM! Avalanche. A few of them die, but none of the ones you’re really supposed to be all that invested in; that’s just the way it goes. If you ever find yourself in a natural disaster, don’t worry about your loved ones. It’s only the marginally dislikable characters who get avalanched/perfect stormed/volcanoed/twisted/earthquaked. And that’s the real lesson to take away from this all.