Daily Archives: 03/31/2012

“Wrath of the Titans” – reviewed!

Now featuring actual Titans!

No Kraken were armed in the making of this motion picture – but Greek mythology was slightly bruised by liberties in the script.

I think that most people can agree that the remake of Clash of the Titans could have been better.  The greatest source material that you could hope for – Greek mythology, for the sake of the Gods! – and what director Louis Leterrier delivered was some nifty effects, set design, a stellar cast and a story which seemed plodding and dull.  That’s somewhat unforgivable, frankly.   It was a success at the box office, but had a terrible post-conversion to 3D and even star Sam Worthington felt that a better movie was needed from a sequel.

And, even though this isn’t the best movie ever made, it’s a hell of a lot better than the first entry in the series.

Perseus - Bestrider of Staircases!

This time around, Worthington’s Perseus has rejected his half-God status to live a simple life as a fisherman, raising his son Helius in what passes for peacetime in ancient Greece (Io, Perseus’ love interest in the first film is no more, a plot detail in no way driven by Gemma Arterton‘s fee going up between that flick and this sequel).  As you might expect, peace exists in a film like this only to be shattered and it’s not long before all manner of Gods and Titans are kicking ass and putting the mortal characters in the thick of a battle for the fate of the universe.

So, small beans then?

You want to get that looked at, mate...

This is basically a classic quest narrative, as befits the source material, with Perseus teaming up with Greek warrior Queen Andromeda (a lovely, brilliantly posh, somewhat underused Rosamund Pike),  and fellow half-god/half-mortal rogue Agenor (Toby Kebbell – the best thing in the movie) to acquire a weapon god-tier enough to beat the God Kronos who wants to unleash Titans on a planet which has lost all respect for the Gods.

The man, the myth, the crusty beard - Toby Kebbell

If it’s spectacle that you go to the movies for, then this film delivers that with almost casual aplomb.  Unlike the laboured and oddly static original, “Wrath…” hits the ground running in its first ten minutes and doesn’t really come up for air until the end credits.  The ‘bigger/better/badder’ mantra is frequently thrown around with sequels as an indicator for the floating ticket buyer that they’ll get value for money from the film.

Making Kate Middleton look like white trash - Rosamund Pike.

I saw this film today in the new IMAX/LieMax 3D screen at my local multiplex in Sheffield and it was a feast for the eyes – the 3D is still post-converted but it’s a good job, achieved with more time allocated to the conversion and with a stereographer on set, per director Jonathan Liebesman‘s recent interviews.  The effects work is particularly impressive during a sequence set in the Labyrinth which guards a mortal back-door to the God prison in Tartarus.  Things are popping past you, dimensions are being played with and the scale of the thing is something, truly, to behold.

It’s not all good, however.  That same sequence in the Labyrinth bears witness to the worst example of action movie editing and photography that I’ve seen in a while – it’s all handheld camera work, blink and miss it edits and totally impossible to follow, even on a screen taller than my house.  Apparently, somebody on-screen was vanquished but you’d be hard pressed to tell how it was done – a pox on you Paul Greengrass wannabes!

Sam Worthington’s actually quite likeable this time around – he’s not the pissed-off, MMA fighter badass of the first movie and his performance is all the better for it.  He’s good at stoic, pretty good at delivering the one-liners his character gets this time around and a suitable foil for Toby Kebbell’s brilliantly cool and disreputable Agenor.  Neither characters wants to be a god or lead men, but when the plot calls for them to put aside earthly concerns for the good of their fellow-men, both rise to their missions brilliantly – I’m not asking questions particularly about how Agenor got to be a master tactician and lead a major part of the Greek army in the climactic battle, but I’m glad that he did.  Even if he did look like a member of 90’s UK alternative rock troubadours, The Levellers whilst doing so.

TL;DR version?  Better than the first one (especially in IMAX), far peppier and a decent way to spend a couple of hours at the multiplex.   Still loud, funnier and better acted than the first – I’d be up for a third movie.

Not something I expected to be saying this time yesterday, let me tell you.  And I didn’t even mention Bill Nighy in the review!  He’s in it – playing mentalist inventor Hephaestus, replete with a most unexpected, contextually ludicrous and bloody glorious Yorkshire accent: Greatest Living Englishman status confirmed!

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Super Bits & Bobs…

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Oh hi there, new Superman movie logo.  As the text above suggests, this is the first look at the new logo for Krypton’s finest son and will be seen in his next on-screen adventure, Zack Snyder‘s “Man of Steel”, which is due for release in June 2013.

As somebody who dug the ever-living kibbles out of Bryan Singer‘s “Superman Returns”, creepy Emo-stalker Superman and all, I’m more than keen to see what Snyder does with it, just so long as it isn’t having the action take place in Amy Adams‘ head and require that everybody dress up like a fetish model.

Elsewhere in the realm of the computer-coloured and splash-panelled, enterprising YouTubist TheIrishAvengerCBM has posted the ‘Head Count’ tv spot for “The Avengers”, which gives us at least a second of face time with the mysterious alien pawns of Loki.  And SPOILERS…

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This would be the Badoon, apparently.  Charming fellows, just given to planetary/dimensional jumps, weird gender schisms and first appearing in “Silver Surfer” Vol 1, number 2 if my interweb searches are to be believed.

Meanwhile, back in the realm of DC, it would appear that the possibility of an Avengers-like “Justice League” movie might still happen if the publisher and Warner Brothers can figure out how to make their – let’s face it – gloriously cinematic creations into movies which work on screen.

There’s a wee interview with “Wrath of the Titans” writer Dan Mazeau over at SuperHeroHype which alludes to his work on a “Flash” movie – ‘(He) can’t just be a guy who runs fast’.  So, a guy who runs fast and runs a street dance school, maybe?  The kids are into that, amirite?

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I suspect that much of the issue may be tone – are DC going to set these films in the near-realistic Nolan universe of the “Batman” movies, which makes the likes of The Flash, Wonder Woman and J’on J’onzz that bit more difficult to incorporate or might they take a leaf out of the book of Marvel and find the science fiction in the premise to make DC’s roll-call of titans, aliens, gods and goddesses fly on screen.

Because, you know, one slightly-botched “Green Lantern” doesn’t mean that we have to give up on the idea of the DC universe in movies.

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