By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — So, we move from clash to wrath with essentially the same result: complete uninvolvement.
Wrath of the Titans, the lacklustre sequel to 2010’s lacklustre Clash of the Titans, is another yawnworthy action-adventure fantasy.
Clash, a remake of a namesake 1981 sword-and-sorcery epic, was based on Greek mythology and all the larger-than-life melodrama taking place on Mount Olympus. The special effects may have been in 3-D, but everything else was in 1-D. At best.
Wrath of the Titans takes place a decade after Clash. Perseus, the demigod son of Zeus, played once again by Sam Worthington, lives the quiet life of a village fisherman and the sole parent of his ten-year-old son following his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken.
But the battle for supremacy between the gods and the Titans goes on. The gods feel they are losing control of the imprisoned Titans, who are ruled by three brothers — king of the gods and the ruler of Mount Olympus, Zeus (Liam Neeson); god of the underworld, Hades (Ralph Fiennes); and god of the sea, Poseidon (Danny Huston) — who have long since overthrown their powerful father, Kronos.
But Perseus cannot help but be pulled back into the battle to rescue his father when Hades, who has made a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus, unleashes hell on earth, teaming with the traitorous god of war, Ares (Edgar Ramirez).
Perseus turns to the warrior Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell), and the fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), and embarks on a quest into the treacherous underworld to rescue Zeus and overthrow the Titans, thus saving mankind in the name of possible further sequels.
Director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles; Darkness Falls; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), works from a by-the-numbers, gods-and-monsters screenplay by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson, based on a story by Mazeau, Johnson, and Greg Berlanti, that is silly and literal-minded in the extreme.
Oh, it’s got plot points galore, but none of them register dramatically enough to make us care while we’re gaping.
No matter how young you are, this kidflick feels from first frame to last like something you’ve already outgrown. Our sense of wonder never makes its way out of the popcorn box.
It’s the action sequences, most of them involving extended hand-to-hand combat, that obviously comprise the tail that wags the dog here. The film actually feels like one long action sequence. Ands is that action kinetic, as intended? Sure. Moreover, it’s antic and frantic.
But is it at all suspenseful, also as intended, even for a moment? Puh-leeze.
With the unleashing of a “multitide of terrifying demons” — that is, killing-machine monsters such as the Makhai and the Chimera and the Minotaur and the Cyclops, rendered in digital-special-effects splendor as harbingers of doom — we come to realize to our chagrin that we are back once again in soulless Transformers territory.
Oh, joy — CGI. Standing for, in this case, Crushingly Gigantic Indifference.
Worthington is — broken record time — a charisma-less leading man, although he’s not helped much by the script. But to watch actors as gifted as Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes stand around and deliver this silly, anachronistic dialogue is to see severe underemployment in closeup.
But let’s get back to the important stuff: yes, the film is available, in case you’re interested, in highly unnecessary 3-D.
So we’ll clash with 1½ stars out of 4 for the juvenile and not worthwhile Wrath of the Titans.
No wrath incurred in this corner. Just boredom.