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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.35%
Worth A Look: 4.35%
Just Average: 26.09%
Pretty Crappy: 4.35%

3 reviews, 5 user ratings

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Wrath of the Titans
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Mad About Zeus"
1 stars

When "Clash of the Titans," the remake of the 1981 fantasy epic best remembered for being the last major cinematic work from stop-motion animation expert Ray Harryhausen, was released in the spring of 2010, it was universally drubbed by critics for being an unnecessary redo that failed to live up to an original that, to be honest, wasn't that great in the first place (aside from those aforementioned effects) and for the exceptionally craven last-minute decision on the part of Warner Brothers to do a rushed and sloppy reconfiguration of the entire thing into 3-D in the hopes of cashing in on the renewed interest in the format following the record-breaking success of "Avatar" a few weeks earlier. While the film was a complete disaster from an artistic perspective, it made a lot of money at the box-office (although one would be hard-pressed to find anyone these days who would still admit to genuinely liking the damn thing) and therefore made a sequel all but inevitable and while I can't say that I responded to that announcement with much enthusiasm, I figured that at the very least, whatever might become of it would almost have to come across as at least slightly better than its predecessor, if only because that film set the bar so low that it would take a complete artistic abdication to not seem like the superior effort by comparison. Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen the present of complete artistic abdication and it goes by the name of "Wrath of the Titans.." Uglier, lazier and stupider than "Clash of the Titans," this isn't so much a movie as it is 99-odd minutes of sheer ineptitude lacking the degree of skill and panache needed to raise it up to the level of "complete craptacular." You know how some movies are compared, usually derisively, to video games? If "Wrath of the Titans" were a video game, it would be that infamous "E.T." game that pretty much single-handedly destroyed the entire home gaming market back in the day with its shabby storytelling, ugly visuals and utter lack of even the most basic building blocks of what might be considered entertainment.

The story picks up ten years after the events of the first film and when we see our hero Perseus (Sam Worthington), he is once again trying to live the quiet life of a fisherman, this time while also grieving the loss of his wife and trying to single-handedly raise his son Helius (John Bell). As you may recall--or not, if your life is otherwise filled with joy--Perseus is a demigod, the end result of what occurred when the horny god Zeus (Liam Neeson) decided to visit Earth while on shore leave and Zeus' mother lacked an aspirin to hold between her legs (largely because such things had not yet been invented), and even though he saved the land from the dreaded Kraken and reunited with his long-absent father, he has decided that he wants nothing to do with the family business. One day, dear old dad shows up on Perseus' doorstep asking for his help. It seems that the mortals no longer have the same belief in their gods that they once had and this lack of faith is causing the power of those gods to slowly ebb away. Now, the remaining gods, also including Zeus' estranged brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes), Perseus' estranged full-god brother Aries (Edgar Ramirez) and the comparatively amiable Poseidon )Danny Huston) are meeting in the depths of Hell in order to consolidate their waning powers and plan their next move. Zeus wants Perseus to come along for the ride but Perseus blows him off. This is a good thing because--TWIST--it turns out that the entire thing was a ruse devised by Aries to imprison his father, drain him of his powers and join with his uncle to unleash the fury of the Titans and destroy mankind for good.

After the requisite scene in which Perseus rescues his town from an attack by a fearsome winged creature that shoots digital fireballs and reduces entire buildings into poorly rendered 1's and 0's, our hero learns of what has happened to his father and is informed that he must go off in order to rescue him and save the world from the depravations of his half-brother and uncle with his god-like powers. Not unreasonably, Perseus points out that he is only a half-god and doesn't have the requisite power to do so and receives the kind of logical response that one usually only finds in movies featuring characters named Shemp--"Then you must find another half-god." Luckily, there just happens to be one a couple of towns over in the form of Agenor (Toby Kebbell) a wise-cracking thief (groan!) who just happens to be the illegitimate son of Poseidon (man, those gods were so rapey. . .) and who is now the prisoner of warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike). Along with Agenor, Andromeda and a few anonymous hangers-on who exist only to get croaked during the film's interminable action sequences in order to build a body count without risking the loss of any of the top-tier players (they may as well be wearing red togas throughout), Perseus sets out to rescue dear old dad from the bowels of Hell, a quest that will find him going into battle against fearsome-yet-indistinct monsters, dangerous-yet-confusing labyrinths and an eccentric--yet-boring supporting turn from a colorful character actor (Bill Nighy) along the way.

Look, I am aware of the fact that a film like "Wrath of the Titans" contains a fairly high degree of ludicrousness that one has to simply accept if they are to have any chance of enjoying it on even the most basic level. For example, take a film like "The Immortals," last fall's big-budget goof featuring a battle between gods and mortals with the fate of the world in the balance. Like "Wrath of the Titans," it was as silly and narratively incoherent as it could possibly be and yet, I found myself enjoying it because it was made with a certain degree of energy and enthusiasm, it contained visual splendors to behold in virtually every scene and most of the performances contained just enough traces of wit and self-awareness to cut through the cheese that the roles were liberally swathed in. By comparison, "Wrath of the Titans" pretty much strikes out in all of those categories and many more to boot. The story is the usual crappy frappe of overlong and unexciting action scenes strung together with chunks of raw exposition that is generally conveyed by having one character shouting at another while fireballs are exploding all around them--all leading up to a conclusion in which it is virtually impossible to discern what exactly happened based upon the on-screen evidence. Director Jonathan Liebesman--who, thanks to a filmography that includes "Darkness Falls," the prequel to the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake and last year's worthless "Battle: Los Angeles," is now a name to fear whenever it turns up in a credit listing--handles the material in such a listless manner that to call it perfunctory would be an insult to an otherwise proud word--he has no sense of pacing (even at 99 minutes, it feels endless), the action scenes are so sloppy that I found myself yearning for the comparatively coherent spatial geography of the "Transformers" series and, despite the presumably enormous budget and army of technicians at his beck and call, there is not a single striking visual moment to be had as far as I can recall. The lack of visual excitement is compounded by the dreadful and dreadfully uninteresting 3-D on display that presents viewers with nothing more than a compelling argument as to why the gimmick should not be deployed in the service of a story in which one half of the action seems to be taking place in the middle of a sandstorm and the other half is set in the bowels of the Earth.

And while Mickey Rourke managed to find the right tone with which to attack "The Immortals" (even if it was more or less inadvertent), the actors in "Wrath of the Titans" seem hopelessly adrift in a sea of crummy special effects with nothing in their roles to hold onto. Once again, Sam Worthington solidifies his position as the luckiest guy to hit the movie industry since Steve Guttenberg and one of the most relentless stiffs to ever hit the big screen. With his appearances in any number of effects-heavy behemoths, one might consider raising the suggestion that he is meant to be the modern incarnation of Charlton Heston but even at his most logy, Heston usually brought a little energy, even if it was due to his overt hamminess, that helped to liven up the proceedings. Worthington, on the other hand, is so relentlessly wooden that when his on-screen kid gives him a knife that he carved himself, the knife turns in a better and more convincing performances. Among the other good guys, Kebbell is so irritating that many viewers will be ready to sacrifice him to the nearest Kraken, Pike has nothing to do except to stand around in a leather skirt and look pretty (which she does) and John Bell's turn as Perseus' spawn is often undercut by his resemblance to Peggy from "Mad Men" in some shots. Things are more depressing amongst the gods because they are all played by people who actually can act but who are left floundering as well. Everyone knows that Ralph Fiennes is a genius and anyone who caught Edgar Ramirez in "Carlos" would be hard-pressed to argue having that description being applied to him either but both come off looking like dopes here. As for Neeson, it is no secret that he has been in a lot of junk over the last few years but this must represent some sort of personal nadir. At least in the previous scene, he got to utter the immortal line "Release the Kraken." Here, the only notable thing that his character does is appear to die in every other scene--in this regard, he still comes in second to the film as a whole, which dies in pretty much every scene.

"Wrath of the Titans" is such a waste of time, no matter how you slice it, that it almost makes you want to go out into the multiplex parking lot afterwards and plaintively call out "Come back, 'John Carter'--all is forgiven!" That was another dud, to be sure, but at least there were certain points where it seemed as if it was at least trying to do something. By comparison, this film offers nothing for even the least discriminating viewers to latch onto with any enthusiasm. It appears to have been produced for one reason and one reason only--the original over-performed and a sequel would almost certainly top the box-office charts for at least one weekend and do reasonably well overseas where spectacles featuring little dialogue often do better than they do in the U.S. If you are a Warner Brothers stockholder, then a film like "Wrath of the Titans" is all ouzo and honey that should help pad out the bottom line nicely. On the other hand, if you are simply a moviegoer looking for a bit of entertainment that doesn't treat its audience with total contempt, the wrath of the Titans will surely have nothing on the wrath of anyone who actually pays $10 or so (not including the 3-D price uptick) to sit through it.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=22657&reviewer=389
originally posted: 03/29/12 17:30:57
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User Comments

8/05/12 TreeTiger These 'reviewers' are movie snobs! Did you expect Kieslowski? This is a great action flick. 4 stars
6/20/12 SREEKIRAN MURALIDHARAN There are generally two kinds of movies. One is that which will entertain to the best that 2 stars
4/14/12 M Sam worthington doesnt even try put on an accent???? 1 stars
4/01/12 radium56 I truly beleive the actors gave their best, but the movie is such a mess. Avoid it. 1 stars
3/31/12 Jerome SCREW PETER SOBCZINSKI!!!!!!! This movie was freakin awesome. if you dont like it. YOUR OLD 5 stars
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  30-Mar-2012 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Jun-2012


  DVD: 26-Jun-2012

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