Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Titans Come Roaring Back

A fresh set of faces, [slightly] better writing and quality effects helps Wrath of the Titans overcome it's dismal beginnings.

SPOILER ALERT! This post assumes you have scene this movie as we freely discuss the film's plot, developments and effects. You have been warned, mortal.


ARTH VADER (AV): Well I'm happy to say that this movie, while not the best in its category, is a far more compelling experience over the first film, Clash of the Titans. While a bit devoid of depth and substance, this movie set out to further the trials and hardships of hero Perseus (played by hunky Sam Worthington) as he embarks on a quest that leads to a showdown between Kronos and the Gods. I don't know my Greek mythology well enough to know how this syncs with actual myth but I do know I generally liked it. Though I found his widower status a bit odd since his wife was in essence a mystical being, clearly she was an unnecessary carryover from the first film. Pontificator, what were your thoughts on this movie's continuity?
THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): Greek Mythology has some very stable elements to it that any story can be crafted from Vader. The best ones are those that consume our imagination with familiar elements that we recognize...and show us something new. This film is a continuation of the first and although it is a shining example of using the mythology to craft something new, it sticks with the continuity created by the fist film and expands this new corner of the vast world supported by these myths.

Most of the big names returned for another dose in Wrath. The most notable addition was the lovely Rosamund Pike as Andromeda, though I must say, I didn't really understand her role int he story, Ponty. I got she was a warrior Queen leading a legion of soldiers in a battle against the Pissed-off Titans but I was OK without the lack of background. She stepped up being a new, flirty love-interest and I was good.
TP: There were no Oscar performances here, but there was excellent direction as the film flowed through each sequence and the choice of cast, some returning from the first film, were all great choices for the product presented. Sam Worthington convinced me that Perseus was a real person and you can never go wrong with veteran actors Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Bill Nighy and Danny Huston are also old hands at delivering quality making it easy for Edgar Ramirez to play off them and opening the door wide for the comic relief of Toby Kebbell.
AV: As for the direction, good stuff here. I firmly believe that as more movies embrace 3D technology, more of them will use it wisely. This movie did a masterful job of displaying a sense of depth and scale that was both impressive and added to the story's scope, believability and story. This is why we go to movies. To see what we just can't get at home, no matter how big our flat screens get.

The special effects in this film were awesome. For a movie laden with creatures of all types and dependent upon the believability of the unique interactions those creatures have with everyone else on screen, the effects delivered. There were so many areas that this film could have gone wrong...but it delivered the goods regardless of the complexity of the sequence. What do you think Vader?
AV: A shiny gold star here, Pontificator! The effects shots in this movie were paced and presented really well! Lot's of cool, multi-headed beasts, giant earth-shaking volcanic explosions and the amazing power of the Gods when they retaliate against said adversaries–is all just gorgeous. From the giant interlocking walls of the Titan's crypt to the explosive volcanic climatic battle between the Gods and Kronos, the viewer is treated to a sate-of-the-art effects experience that really puts me on the back a Pegasus himself! My favorite scene is in Hades' realm where Zeus is shackled and is having his power siphoned off to empower Kronos (king of the Bad dudes and God of ultimate naughtiness or something)!  The sheer size of the environment and of Kronos himself defies true description. Suffice it to say, you will be awestruck.
TP: I must say, this was the first film I’ve seen that delivered the 3D goods... and kept delivering well into the film. I made a mental note of this in the theater when I caught myself flinching because the action was in-my-face as it jumped off the screen and into my lap! The closest I’ve seen thus far to the kind of quality that can be found at Walt Disney World... but for a lot less!


Not sure on this one, Ponty. I don't know if there is much to go deep with here. Perseus is continuously denying his heritage as a Godling and his unbelievable protesting, especially to his daddy, the almighty Zeus is more than a little annoying. He should have overcome much of this in his firs Kracken-busting adventure. I neither believe in nor do I care for Perseus' reluctance. They are short-sighted, shallow and unbelievable (remember, this is guy that rides a flying horse). For me, it kind of takes the wind out of the sails for the character. What's more a lot has been 'taken off the table' by this film's end. No more Gods? No more Hades? Zeus and Poseidon are dead? Really? Kind of hard to conceive of–given the context. What did you think, Pontificator?

TP: It was all here, although not in equal parts. There was plenty of action, a bit of comedy and even a little drama, especially when it came to the feelings Perseus conveyed for the safety and love of his son. The constant denial of his heritage wasn’t a problem for me Vader as it struck me as sensible considering he just wanted to live a normal life with his son...and the more he wanted it, the less likely it seemed that it would come true. This is also the reason I didn’t have an issue with the resolution of the end of the Gods since it means that the life Perseus longs for is ever closer to becoming real. My only gripe is one of the same I had with the first film and it’s that Perseus never comes off as a seriously skilled fighter ala “300” or “Troy” and anyone that’s a half-god charged with saving the world should be... in my opinion.

I smell a trilogy coming, Ponty! As this film is undeniably better than the first, I can't imagine that this movie re-upped with so much A-List Hollywood talent to stop at two. There is too much money to be made and I think we've only scratched the surface of the possibilities. While dead and diluted Gods will a be hard story to further, the end-scene where Perseus hands his mystic sword over to his son is a telling tale of things that might be. Though the storytellers in the Titans are running out of mythological beings pretty quickly, there is plenty of life, if they so chose, in the story. I think a third 'Titans' flick is not only doable but inevitable. After all, it only took them 20 months to knock this one out. 
TP: Well Vader, I would be perfectly happy if they didn’t make another film since this one ended very neatly, although the door was slightly ajar for another installment. The real question is with this film being so much better than the first, where do you go from here? With no Gods and nearly every mythological creature already met, where is the upside? I fear a third installment will fall flat and give this possible trilogy a bad taste with only one of the three films being worth watching. Only the future knows for sure.

ARTH VADER Rates Wrath of The Titans: With a slightly better story, much more impressive effects and strong box office performance, Wrath of the Titans equals a good empty-headed time at the movies. If you don't look too deep for meaningful content, you'll be pleasantly surprised–which is more than I can say for the first Titans flick. All given, I found Wrath of the Titans (barely) deserving of seven busted blocks, as the mechanical owl flies.

THE PONTIFICATOR Wrath of the Titans: I really enjoyed this film as it didn’t require me to study, analyze or contemplate in the least. All I had to do was sit back, eat my popcorn and enjoy the ride...and I enjoyed it immensely. The story flowed and seemed to race against itself keeping me engaged while the effects were stunning enough to make me notice I had been stunned. Although still somewhat struggling to reach mythological proportions, it managed to bludgeon  seven blocks.

Wrath of the Titans: 7/10 Busted Blocks


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