So a couple of years ago, they remade “Clash Of The Titans.” Do you remember that? No? Well, it was pretty successful. Box Office Mojo says it made just under $500 million worldwide. There were some special effects. It was in 3D. Gods, monsters, that sort of thing. Seems like a can’t-miss. Apparently Danny Huston was in it. Well, they’ve made a sequel, believe it or not. Does it match up to the last film? Not sure. It seems this has gone from a forgettable movie to a forgettable franchise.
In “Wrath of The Titans,” the action figure known as Sam Worthington stars as Perseus, the son of Zeus and a human mother. He’s making a humble life for his son as fishermen, existing on the fringes of a world populated by Gods, Titans and all sorts of big CGI creatures. Considering his father is Zeus, Perseus lives a life of relatively quiet solitude as a single dad — something a bit curious considering a bit of research confirms that the first film ended with Io, his love interest, being declared immortal. So maybe she’s back in part three, hard to say.
One day, a lightning bolt brings Zeus (Liam Neeson) to his doorstep. It seems as if the Gods’ power is weakening, and it stems from the rise of Zeus’ creator, Cronos. Cronos is about to return and end both Gods and Man, and Zeus needs all the help he can get. Despite the fact that Zeus is standing in his doorway telling him someone more powerful than Zeus is going to KILL HIM, Perseus surprisingly refuses, on the grounds that he loves his son too much. Because we all know that gods can’t kill love. It’s a concept, not a person.
So Zeus seeks an alliance in the underworld with his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes). Except that Hades has entered one of those only-in-the-movies bargains with Cronos, where he helps the big guy ensnare Zeus in exchange for… well, Hades is just super generous. Hades is also working with Zeus’ son Ares (Edgar Ramirez), and the God Of War is about to reign terror on the lands as Hades monitors Cronos slowly draining energy from a bound Zeus. It does make sense that Zeus would take forever to kill. It makes less sense that you could tie him up. But this is Hades we’re talking about, those bounds are probably magic or something. Logic: airtight.
Out come the monsters, destroying Perseus’ village and forcing him to flee. He learns from a dying Poseidon (Danny Huston!) that Zeus was betrayed, before he crumbles into ash (Danny Huston, everybody!), leaving Perseus to complete your typical videogame-inspired station-to-station journey. It involves magical doohickeys, secret temples, wise old men and lots of monsters, but it’s best to leave your controller at home. Hot on their trail is Ares, and by hot, we mean he shows up once, then loses track of them, and just kinda flies around, being a total jerk. Can Perseus get to Zeus and form a super-weapon that can take down Cronos? Or will he feel…the Wrath?
The skeleton crew essentially responsible for saving the world also includes warrior princess Andromeda (Rosamund Pike). As far as convincing warrior princesses go, well…she’s pretty cute. Also along is Poseidon’s chatty son Agenor (Toby Kebbell, obnoxious), as well as a bunch of redshirts who never really make their presence known until they die. The gang also runs into Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), who essentially fulfills his responsibility as James Bond’s Q, giving the group the lowdown on a few choice gizmos. Because if the Gods have one weakness, it’s gizmos.
“Wrath of The Titans” seems grittier than its predecessor, which fashioned itself as something more fanciful. The Gods in the earlier film had a dress code that didn’t deviate from Prince And The New Power Generation As SilverHawks, but in the new film, their raggedy beards and thick winter season robes suggest Bethlehem Hobo. And our hero Worthington doesn’t have to act as much as he has to observe, posture and preen as an overgrown action star. Despite the big game Worthington talks during press, he likely pulled a Anthony Hopkins on this thing, circling sections of the script and writing No Acting Required.
Director Jonathan Liebesman, who last violated eyeballs with “Battle: Los Angeles,” seems to regard the last ‘Clash’ in much the same way ‘Clash’ director Louis Letterier viewed Ang Lee’s “Hulk” when he made “The Incredible Hulk” — that stuff was too heavy and serious and altogether high-falutin‘. As a storyteller, Liebesman has the patience of a child, almost fast-forwarding through information dumps. Half the dialogue in this film is spoken in voiceover during a big action sequence or swooping establishing shot. But Liebesman knows where the money shots are.
The amount of CG in “Wrath Of The Titans” is considerable, but combined with dedicated, schlock devotion to 3D (Cronos comin’ atcha!), the visuals trump the story. Unfortunately for Liebesman, dude had to hire actors. And either they got paid in gold doubloons or the set had a killer craft services table, because no one seems particularly aware or concerned about what they have to do. Aside from Worthington’s action hero vogue-ing, this is a cast of autopilots, fulfilling contractual obligations. Or so it seemed at the time — it’s hard to remember. [D+]