Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Wrath of the Titans

One scene in Ted that really resonates with me is when Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane describe the 80’s cult classic Flash Gordon as “so bad but so good.”  I don’t know if a movie has ever been more accurately described in five simple words.  Another movie that I think falls into that category is the original Clash of the Titans starring Harry Hamlin.  The earnest attempt at special effects and the hit-and-miss acting all came together to produce one for the ages.  So when they released a remake in 2010 starring Sam Worthington, I had an inclination that I would be disappointed.  And I was.  The movie was unremarkable in every way.

The $493MM worldwide theatrical gross of course warranted a second installment - Wrath of the Titans - and to quell the worries of a somewhat disappointed fan base, the message was put out that part two would be better because it would not be encumbered  in the same way Clash was by the original film.  A canonical origin story is always an easy target for the blame game.  Having seen Wrath of the Titans, I think that the freedom to flesh out Perseus, Zeus, and the other Greek deities in an original script by Dan Mazeau is more a detriment than a strength, because Wrath is a flimsy story populated with one-dimensional characters, logic leaps, and what generally feels like lazy writing.

This is particularly disappointing to me because I love classical studies.  So much so, that I minored in it at THE Brandeis University.  The literature, mythology, architecture, and linguistics – I studied it all as an undergrad so whenever a movie grounded in classical literature gets produced, it always piques my interest.  Part of the problem is that as of late there have been too many of these films – Clash, Wrath, Immortals, and to a much lesser extent Percy Jackson – and they’ve all begun to blend together into one nondescript mass of long hair, generic gods, and British accents.

The movie is not terrible, it is just not good in any way.  In the movie, a hollow threat brings cause for the principle characters to get back together to take up arms.  Unfortunately, the cast appears to be going through the motions as they try to sell the plot.  As I mentioned in my review of Man on a Ledge, I believe Sam Worthington is a very limited actor and should not make any more movies not directed by Jim Cameron.  His listless approach seems to have spread throughout the cast like a pandemic as Liam Neeson and his typical middle-aged badass bravado is sorely missing, while Bill Nighy, Rosamund Pike, and Ralph Fiennes – three very good actors – bring absolutely nothing to the table.

There really isn’t much more to say about this film.  I feel like I have already spent too much time trying to find an interesting way to say this movie stinks and that you should not rent it.  There are countless other movies that can take you back to the days of gods and humans without lulling you into boredom.  As for the movie's beleaguered star, here’s hoping Sam Worthington turns things around as 5 of the last 6 movies I have seen starring him have been overwhelmingly underwhelming. 

Standout Performance: No one in this film warrants distinction.


  1. Great review. It’s a shame that Wrath of the Titans wasn’t better. I haven’t seen it yet, but after getting so many mixed responses from my friends and Dish coworkers, I thought I would read up and see what was so bad about it. Many said it was good, while some said the only good thing about it was the graphics. I would still like to see Wrath of the Titans so that I may form my own opinion about it, which is why I’ve added it to my Blockbuster @Home queue to have it shipped right to my house. At least now I would have an idea as to what I can expect with this movie.