Fantasy follow-up to ‘Clash of the Titans’ misses the mark ... and the Kraken
You know what made The Hunger Games seem even better then it did last week when it was released? It’s the underwhelming fantasy film that hit the multi-plexes this week, the sequel to Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans.
This point of view is not coming from someone who sticks her nose in the air when it comes to Greek mythology fantasy films. I enjoyed Greek and Roman mythology when I studied it in school, and I love the films that used the animation magic of the great Ray Harryhausen. Despite the bad acting (and we are talking really bad), I still consider Jason and the Argonauts one of my favorite “guilty pleasures” of childhood.
Harryhausen also designed Medusa and the other stop animation sequences in the 1981 Clash of the Titans. Therefore, I was on the side of the remake when it was released two years ago. While I won’t totally disagree with those who thought it was less than stellar fantasy filmmaking, it was certainly better than The Prince of Persia, and Sam Worthington, star of Avatar and Terminator Salvation, is an excellent action hero. He has a knack for being both strong and vulnerable, and the “release the Kraken” sequence was a top-of-the-line CGI action moment.
Unfortunately, although Worthington continues to show his heroic and vulnerable side in Wrath of the Titans, the sequel doesn’t have anything approaching a topflight “Kraken” moment. The fantasy sequences are big and loud and completely devoid of any character. They are by the book and we are talking a very bland, forgettable book.
The story begins a decade or so later in the life of Perseus (Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), who has returned to his life as a humble fisherman. He is a widower with a son, Helius (John Bell). I guess that makes Helius a semi-demigod.
The world is in danger again because the gods are losing their power now that the mortals aren’t worshiping them anymore. Zeus and Poseidon (Danny Huston) need the help of Perseus to keep the monsters of the underworld from unleashing their wrath on the puny humans above. Naturally, Perseus turns away from the quest at first until he realizes that he must do battle in order to give his son a chance to live.
Zeus’ brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Zeus’ son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) are on the side of evil. Perseus needs a few more warriors on his side and finds them in Poseidon’s demigod son, Agenor (excellent comic relief from Toby Kebbell), warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and the man who forged the weapons of the gods, Hephaestus (Bill Nighy).
A good cast to be sure, but except for an enjoyable scene involving a family of giant Cyclops, and a decent action sequence with a complex maze that provides a backdoor to the Hades dungeon Tartarus, the actors aren’t given nearly enough to do.
The big monster in Wrath is Kronos, who is no Kraken, despite his stature as the father of the gods, overthrown by his children. He is a giant ball of fire whose assault on the human army is not nearly hot enough to make the finale of Wrath of the Titans sizzle.
Instead it fizzles.
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