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  • 12A
  • Action, Adventure
  • 2012

Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans

Synopsis

Jonathan Liebesman's sequel to Clash of the Titans continues the epic adventures of the demigod Perseus.

About

Where once it was the hand-modelled 'dynamation' of Ray Harryhausen that enabled the gods and monsters of Greek myth to be realised on the big screen in films like Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981), now our digital era opens up new possibilities for the computer-generated visualisation of 'photoreal' 3D prodigies, and so the ancient legends are again being revived for a new age. Louis LeTerrier's Clash of the Titans remake (2010) showcased advances in technology (including controversial post-conversion to 3D), while dressing these around a story that stayed more or less true to Desmond Davis' original film if somewhat less true to Greek mythology (the Kraken is actually a Norse monster). Apart from its cutting-edge special effects, however, LeTerrier's film had very little to say about the modern world.

Wrath of the Titans might have been different. With neither a past sequel nor a well-established classical tradition behind it, this sequel provided a liberating opportunity to do something radically inventive  but instead it comes with a basic connect-the-dots storyline designed merely to move the action from one epic set-piece to the next as quickly as possible, filling in the plot's blanks with ideas and images lazily pillaged from other recent sword-and-sandal flicks. There is a son of Poseidon and an Underworld journey from Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010); a thief as hero's companion, unleashed Titans and mortal gods from Immortals (2011); and a Minotaur from both.

A decade or so after the events of the first film, Perseus (Sam Worthington) must join forces with his larcenous demigod cousin Agenor (Toby Kebbell), Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike, replacing Alexa Davola from the first film) and the 'fallen god' Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) to stop a conspiracy of Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez) against Perseus' divine father Zeus (Liam Neeson) before the gods' Titanic father Kronos is released from his Tartarean prison to destroy the universe. So, more monsters to fight, more macguffin-esque weapons to recover.

The cast, though impressive, is thanklessly mobilised around the film's grand action sequences like so many pieces on a chess set - and therefore largely wasted. Not even the vaguest hint of subtext or resonance is tolerated, leaving only the spectacular SFX - which director Jonathan Liebesman (replacing LeTerrier) likes to obscure behind frenetic camerawork and choppy editing. A second sequel seems both inevitable and unnecessary.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Ralph Fiennes, Danny Huston, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Liam Neeson, Sam Worthington, Toby Kebbell
  • Director: Jonathan Liebesman

In a nutshell

With its heavy sword passed down too many generations, this spectacular if tired sequel to a remake abounds in rehashed myths and second-hand ideas.

by Anton Bitel

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