THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"WRATH OF THE TITANS"
Wrath of the Titans is a sequel to a movie I didn't like, which was itself a remake of another film I didn't like. My viewing experience probably wasn't destined to end well, although I approached it with optimism. I mean, the remade Clash of the Titans wasn't a very good picture and didn't seem to satisfy too many people, so they had to have fixed a few of the problems, right? Well, not really. Or maybe they did. Hard to say. You see, I don't actually remember much about Wrath of the Titans. The interesting thing about that statement is that I just left the theater half an hour ago. That ought to tell you something.
Sam Worthington returns as Perseus the personality-free demigod, who has to rescue his kidnapped (god-napped?) father Zeus (Liam Neeson) from the fiery pits of Hell. Why, you may ask? Let's turn to the official website for an explanation: “Dangerously weakened by humanity's lack of devotion, the gods are losing hold of their immortality, as well as control over the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston). The triumvirate had overthrown their powerful father long ago, leaving him to rot in the gloomy abyss of Tartarus, a dungeon that lies deep within the cavernous Underworld.” I just read that five times and I still have no clue what it means, yet somehow it perfectly encapsulates this movie.
Wrath of the Titans is the visual equivalent of white noise. I don't think I watched it so much as I just looked at it. Images flickered across the screen. Occasionally, one of those images interested me. Despite some impressive special effects and cool (if non-essential) uses of 3D, I never found anything that really pulled me into the film. Some of the worst movies I've seen have somehow engaged me, even if it was only because I was actively despising the experience of them passing before my eyeballs. This one didn't even engage me on that level. I wasn't looking at my watch, wasn't seething with resentment. I was just...sitting. Quietly. Staring straight ahead.
Now that I think about it, this was probably the appropriate response, considering how little effort the filmmakers put into Wrath of the Titans. The actors appear somnambulant in their performances, while the screenplay is bland and underdeveloped. There are no characters, just people who wander through the frame and perform actions. There is no story, just an assemblage of moments in which those same people encounter different creatures and periodically stop to speak words that, when strung together, don't really convey anything. The movie was directed by Jonathan Liebesman, a man who keeps getting work despite never having made anything even remotely resembling a good movie (unless you consider Battle: Los Angeles, Darkness Falls, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning to be good movies - and if you do, I may have to haul you outside and fight you.) His resume doesn't improve with this project.
Wrath of the Titans has some cool visuals. I sure did like that cyclops battle, and the fire-creature at the end was pretty impressive. There's a sequence in which Perseus and the gang are trapped inside a stone building whose walls are constantly shifting and sliding. That was fun to watch, although I'd have appreciated it more had I cared about why the people were in there to begin with. Those things briefly wakened me from my daze. When they were gone, I went right back into it.
I don't have much else to say. The few vague memories I retain of Wrath of the Titans are rapidly fading as I type this, much like Jim Carrey's memories of Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Ah, now there's a movie I can get wrapped up in!
( 1/2 out of four)
Wrath of the Titans is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action. The running time is 1 hour and 39 minutes.
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