By Ron David
Published March 30, 2012
“Wrath of the Titans” is about as soulless a film that has ever come out of the big budget Hollywood blockbuster machine. That’s not to say it is necessarily the worst thing ever committed to film or that it doesn’t have plenty of company, but it alone provides sufficient evidence of the sort of homogenized studio product – a film so devoid of any heart, originality, or personality that has literally been produced rather than created – Hollywood is constantly being lambasted for churning out in order to make money rather than art. Movies as product, especially in the summer movie season (or in this case, pre-summer movie season) are nothing new. You can throw a rock at a theater marque and hit any number of titles that exist simply as part of a money-making machine, rather than some kind of labor of love for all involved. And that’s OK to a degree. Not all films need to be important or even thought provoking. Spectacle for spectacle’s sake has its place in mainstream entertainment. But some films are so obvious in their lack of ideas and creativity that it becomes clear they exist as nothing more than part of an operation. “Wrath of the Titans” feels exactly like the cold and calculated business decision it is. The movie has no wit, no humor, no inspiration, no purpose beyond the fact that the first film made money so maybe this one will too; nevermind that the first one was hardly widely beloved, or that even most fans of the original weren’t exactly waiting on pins and needles for a sequel.
What “Wrath of the Titians” lacks in originality, point and any sense of genuine fun, it tries to make up for with special effects. This is another “blockbuster” in which the audience is hammered mercilessly over the head with obnoxious (and obvious) CGI. Anytime the movie can’t wring something resembling true emotion or excitement out of the lump of Velveeta that is this script – which is pretty much all the time – it attempts to compensate with a lot of showy SFX in hopes that they will distract the film’s target audience, or at least remind them, “Hey, you signed up for a movie about big, lava-spewing Hell Gods; you don’t need this pussy shit like emotional involvement and a coherent narrative; right, you little bitch?!” Since “Wrath of the Titans” doesn’t seem to give enough of a shit to provide the audience with a story, I’m tempted not to waste my time trying to provide one either. More than simple resentment, I’m not sure I could accurately summarize whatever the hell is going on this mess even if I wanted to try. But I wouldn’t be the bigger man if I sat here criticizing this piece of studio hack-work only to stoop to its level. So I’ll give it the old college try (which is a damn sight more effort than anyone working on this movie bothered to offer). If you saw the first film you might recall the half-god/half-human Perseus (Sam Worthington, again looking like someone razzed him from a deep sleep and reminded him he agreed to make this movie, for some reason) has some daddy (Zeus, played by Liam Neeson; and no, still no one knows why he’s in these films) issues. Here, it turns out ol’ Uncle Hades (Ralph Fiennes, again WTF?) is a much bigger dick than pops though. Hades kidnaps Zeus in order to – now don’t laugh – sacrifice him to Perseus’ grandpa, a gigantic lava-slinging creature (supreme dick!) that basically serves as this movie’s version of the Kraken. So it’s up to Perseus to save the day. There’s a lot more convoluted plot detours and needless supporting characters in the mix, but not much beyond this matters (or makes sense), it’s just the ramblings of the five writers who worked on this all trying to cram their ideas in somewhere and (wrongly) assuming more plot, more characters and more bullshit will make up for the glaring lack of genuine story, character development, and entertainment.
Normally when giving a negative review to this sort of BIG movie I’d say something along the lines of, “you can tell it’s trying to be more epic than it manages”. But I don’t think that’s the case here. “Wrath of the Titans” has all the benchmarks of a big-budget, Gods and Monsters, summer movie event, but it doesn’t feel like it tries and simply misses the mark, it doesn’t even seem to be trying at all. In a film like “Transformers” for instance, no, it’s not very good, but there is sense that a lot of time and effort and creative ideas went into making it, (well, not into writing it, but at least the technical movie-making – the spectacle – part). “Wrath of the Titans” feels cheap and bland by comparison. No doubt its CGI cost plenty, but the film lacks any sense of style, wonder, or distinctive look and flavor. The world can say what it will about Michael Bay, but the man is as much in love with the shots he stages and creates as he is with himself (“and that’s an awful lot gurrrl”). He jerks off to how painstakingly he sets up an explosion or chase sequence. A movie like “Wrath of the Titans”, while on the surface it may look like the same sort of thing to a cynic, feels like the work of someone who said, “who cares, we’ll fix it in post; add a few more CGI monsters and a lot of noise, no one will ever know”. Nothing is done painstakingly. Nothing is created. Nothing but soulless studio product.
1 star out of 4.