March 31, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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WRATH OF THE TITANS:  Watch It At Home – Put Back the Kraken


The producers of WRATH OF THE TITANS swore that this time the 3D would be better than it was in 2010’s Clash of the Titans, and you know what… it is.  That’s not saying an enormous amount, since the 3D in Clash was a notoriously shoddy rush job done to capitalize at the last minute on the stupendous success of Avatar, but still.  And in fairness, it also has to be admitted that the CG effects are a lot better in Wrath, with smoother movement and less feeling that the CG strings were almost visible above the creatures.  And here’s another plus:  under Jonathan Liebesman’s direction, the photography by Ben Davis is more handsome and epic than the look of the clearly soundstage-bound Clash.

So there’s that.

What’s left, unfortunately, is everything that actually determines whether a movie is any good:  the script, acting, pace, direction and style.  In these areas, Wrath is no better than Clash, and sometimes it’s even worse.  It turns out, for example, that it’s possible for a movie to have an even less compelling storyline than Clash.  In the script by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson (with a somewhat bewildering story credit to TV auteur Greg Berlanti, which probably means he did an early draft that was mostly rewritten), 10 years have passed since the events of Clash.  Perseus (Sam Worthington) has had time to become married and widowed, and he’s raising his son Helius (John Bell).  God/daddy Zeus (Liam Neeson) appears to ask for help:  it seems–to the extent any of this is comprehensible–that grandpa Kronos, a CG creature kept prisoner in the Tantalus neighborhood of the underworld, is in the process of being set free by Perseus’ half-brother Ares (Edgar Ramirez, cashing a paycheck after his spectacular performance in Olivier Assayas’ Carlos).  This will somehow result in the death of the gods, which would presumably be a bad thing.  Perseus just wants to fish and raise his sonny-boy, but once Ares eliminates Poseidon (Danny Huston)–wait, does that mean no Poseidon Adventure?–and takes Zeus and brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) captive to drain them of their power (making Zeus look like Charlton Heston after he saw the burning bush in The Ten Commandments), Perseus reluctantly straps on the old lightning bolt and goes to work.


What follows is basically just a string of special-effects battles as we wait for the climactic showdown with Kronos.  Perseus pals up with cousin Agenor the Navigator (Toby Kebbel) and warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), who’s also probably related to him but not so much that it’ll keep her from becoming a romantic interest.  They climb hills and hike through forests, periodically beset by creatures with multiple heads, single eyes, and for a bit of variety, multiple torsos on a single set of legs. These sequences are shot in such a needlessly shaky style, and are so overedited (by Martin Walsh) that there’s neither any spatial logic nor suspense nor excitement.

The only one in all this who even attempts to act is–all too briefly–Bill Nighy as Hephaestus, sort of the Q of the operation.  The rest doggedly look grim and plod through leaden dialogue about the consequences of man’s losing faith in the gods, as they variously volunteer to do the next impossibly brave thing that’s required.  That’s pretty much the way the audience looks, too, by the time things have been blown up sufficiently so that everyone can go home.

It’s particularly sad to see Wrath of the Titans open on the same weekend as the return of HBO’s Game of Thrones, a show that proves, on a weekly basis, that sword and sorcery stories can be both thrilling and smart, a pleasure for all the senses.  Wrath doesn’t do much for any of them.  Except, of course, for that pretty decent 3D.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."