I guess the world didn’t have enough with the 2010 redux of Clash of the Titans. That’s a good thing in my opinion. In many ways, especially in the visual effects category, I thoroughly enjoyed the remake much more than the 80’s odyssey. I was young and naïve back then. Heck, back then I thought those effects were the sh1t. Well I guess in hindsight they really were, but whether you like it or not, Wrath of the Titans picks up a decade after the events of Clash, but sadly without the beautiful Gemma Arterton. Boo in that respect! How does it stack up to its 2-year old brother? That’s what we’re about to address below. Ready to come on this magical journey to hell and back with me and feel the wrath?
I never thought I would see a sequel in my lifetime or for that matter never really felt the need for one, but regardless, talks began as early as March 2010. My main man David Leslie Johnson and Dan Mazeau were brought on board to pen it. Around that time Jonathan Liebesman was attached to direct. The film stars Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Edgar Ramirez, Danny Huston, Ralph Fiennes and bad-a$$ Liam Neeson. Thank the gods that all the major players returned. Dammit Gemma! However, like its predecessor, the film was unfavorably converted to 3D in post-production. Another boo as far as I’m concerned.
So as I mentioned above, Wrath takes place ten years after the events of the first film in a period of time where the gods lose control over the imprisoned Titans because mankind stopped praying and believing in them. Gemma’s character (Perseus’ love interest in the first film), I don’t know how, has already perished from this fictional world and Perseus is trying to live a quiet life as a fisherman in addition to being the sole parent to his 10-year-old son, Helius. Life seems okay and complacent for the two, but hark! Who goes there?! Fear not…danger looms!
People don’t pray anymore. That’s the trouble with this world, right? I don’t know, but that certainly seems to be the dilemma here where our three Gods, Zeus (Neeson), Hades (Fiennes) and Poseidon (Huston), have become weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion and faith and as a result, they are losing control of the imprisoned demons/titans of the underworld, most notably their father…Kronos, who has been long overthrown by their sons and left in the abyss of Tartarus.
Once again, Zeus’ (Neeson) brother Hades (Fiennes) is involved in some very mischievous and malicious acts and also once again Zeus’ demigod son, Perseus (Worthington), is called upon to save all mankind. Gee…I wonder what they will ingeniously do with a potential plot in the third film? Are there any guesses or spoilers? I want to rhetorically raise my hand and answer that question.
So Zeus comes to Perseus for help, but he dismisses his father’s plea. His warrior days are long over and he just wants to be there for his son. Wow! Kids really do make a person soft, don’t they? I thought that was only women who make men weak in the knees, but I digress. Perseus really can’t ignore the events not only unfolding right in front of him, but also engulfing him and his son too. He quickly realizes he has these powers for a reason and has a duty to use them when he is made aware of the simple fact that his son is in more imminent danger than if he remained ignorant of the situation and also when he learns that Hades and Ares (Ramirez) made a deal with Kronos to capture and drain Zeus’ life power, not to mention mortally wounding Poseidon. You lost yet? The choice is made easy for Perseus as you can see. He must muster up enough strength to endure and salvage what fighting skills he remembers if he is going to propel this story into Act 2…and that he does. And so our story really propels forwards and begins here. This is the Wrath of the Titans.
So here’s the low down on the good, the bad and the ugly. First off, the action is just as good if not better than its predecessor. However, the story is really dumbed down. How many times can I see Hades having the conflicts he does? It reminds me too much of the relationship between Loki and Thor. For crying out loud, rid the world of the super villain! And although Kronos is super cool, his appearance is almost too brief and in my opinion, almost wasted here much like the final throw down in Iron Man 2…okay maybe not that bad. I’d much rather see Perseus and armies tirelessly defeat one titan after another than seeing Kronos fall so easy, but like I always do so many times in life…I digress.
Really, what I believe the key is when watching Wrath is not setting your expectations too high so you can at least sit back and enjoy this small dose of mythological fun much like you would a mindless zombie flick like Resident Evil or something similar. There’s definitely nothing to be found here that you haven’t seen before. Sure, there are some cool creature battles like the one with the Chimera, but the stakes never really feel high enough throughout and as a result, you can’t lay fault with the batch of negative reviews the film suffered earlier this year during its theatrical release.
I had a fun ride with Wrath, but I couldn’t help feeling that it was ultimately just ordinary and nothing too special. I realize that it’s also the preconceived state of mind I had going into this one. I mean, how do you top the classic moments and events of the original film that everyone knows and loves in mythology? I’m not convinced you can. You just kind of have to give your core audience much of the same that they came to expect from the first film instead of playing a bait and switch like Lucas did with The Phantom Menace.
The action, battle and thrills are just kind of felt helplessly forced and lackluster. I did not notice anything here that hasn’t been done already. At least they got Hades hairline right this time around, but nevertheless there were still some bad hairpieces too. Perhaps what I loved best about the film was Perseus’ undying love to do whatever he must in order to protect his son. That relationship was heartwarming and made this feature human, but why the hell do I keep thinking Helius is young Ron from the Harry Potter franchise? Oh well…that’s irrelevant for the moment. LOL. And I guess what I liked second best about the feature was the “Fun and Games” section of the screenplay where Perseus must relearn what he forgot in terms of fighting. I tell you…that kid and ten years of fishing really took its toll on the man. Let that be your contraceptive warning of the day.
I can’t end this review without mentioning Perseus’ cohorts. Before embarking on this treacherous journey to the bowels of the underworld, Perseus enlists the help of Queen Andromeda (Pike), you’ll remember her, and Poseidon’s bastard son (oops…I mean demigod), the hilarious Agenor (Toby Kebbell). Like Dan Fogler to Dane Cook in Good Luck Chuck, Kebbell stole the show here at times, in my opinion, as the hilarious wise-cracking, comedic sidekick. Along their journey they meet up and interact with “The Fallen One.” No, this isn’t Transformers, but I could see how you could get confused. The Fallen One is named Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), and he’s the one who skillfully crafted all the God’s weapons.
So that’s about it. Long review, huh? Wrath of the Titans is no magical trip like its predecessor, but it’s a far cry from the atrocity of the battlefields scorned in last years Conan reboot. Wrath has charisma and heart, but lacks the necessary triumphant and epic cinematic ingredients necessary to rival the big boys like Empire Strikes Back or The Dark Knight in the sequels category. However, let’s talk about how bombastic sounding this gritty action movie is on the Blu-ray format. Bring it!
Alrighty! Here’s where Wrath of the Titans really soars above the competition. Warner Bros. gives us an exceptionally razor cut AVC MPEG-4 1080p transfer framed in 1.78:1 widescreen aspect presentation. Things are crystal clear and detail driven throughout. Sand, dirt, flames, blood, debris, textures…you name it. The print is clean and clear of any blemishes with exceptional black levels as well as natural looking and warm flesh tones. The obvious effects of heavy CGI pallets rear their ugly head from time-to-time, but that’s to be expected from a mythological fantasy adventure such as this. Fans of the 2010 Titans Blu-ray (reviewed here) should be just as pleased with the sequel here too. Now let’s talk about that bombastic Blu-ray audio!
Boom chaka laka BOOM! Things get quite loud here, thankfully not to the extent of drowning out any dialog, but when things go boom on the screen you better believe that your viewing room goes BOOM equally as well. It’s a loud journey down into the abyss of the underworld and Wrath’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track doesn’t ever let you forget that. Perhaps what is key here is the dynamics of the surround track. Everything from a whisper to the thunderous sounds of Kronos or the pounding of the Chimera is brilliantly captured, authentically recreated and immensely presented here. If nothing else, the spot on surround track makes you feel every bump and bruise Perseus gets hit with thanks to the forceful LFE channel. I think this one deserves a lot of praise and therefore the coveted 5-point score. Anyone feel otherwise? If so, speak now or forever hold your breath.
Unfortunately, there’s really not a lot to gloat about in the supplemental features department with the exception that that there are not one, but two Maximum Movie Modes. Now that’s pretty cool, huh? It certainly can’t hurt in the scoring arena. So let’s take a closer look at all you will find.
- Maximum Movie Mode (HD) – As mentioned above, you can choose from two different Maximum Movie Mode experiences: the “Path of Gods,” where you’ll learn about the mythology behind Wrath of the Titans, and the “Path of Men,” where you’ll go behind-the-scenes of the production. And here’s perhaps the coolest thing. You can choose your own adventure as you are allowed to switch back and forth between the two experiences as you watch.
- Title (HD, 34 minutes) – The Maximum Movie Mode’s featurettes are also available from the main menu. The included segments are: “Battling the Chimera,” “Agenor: The Other Demi-God,” “The Cyclops Fight,” “Prison of the Titans,” “Minotaur: The Human Nightmare,” “The Heavens Raise Hell on Earth,” “Who Are the Titans?,” “Hephaestus: God of Fire,” “Lost in Tartarus’ Labyrinth” and “Creatures of the Titans.”
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 11 minutes) – There area total of three unfinished scenes to watch here, nothing too impressive.
- DVD (SD) – Located on a separate disc within the Blu-ray package one can find a DVD disc of the main feature. Whatevs!
- UltraViolet Digital Copy – If you are okay with using this technology that seems incompatible with just about everything, then have at it. Me…I prefer the iTunes equivalent digital copy. But again…that’s just me!
Why not? Have a good ole mythological fun time. The above scores don’t lie, even though I make them. Wrath of the Titans isn’t that bad. You know you need it for your Blu-ray collection. You’re a “completist” just like me. I think I just made that word up. Anyway, to recap, Wrath lands ferociously on the Blu-ray format with count them, two Maximum Movie Modes, and both demo worthy audio and video specs. There should be absolutely no hesitation on behalf of fans of the franchise. Got that? Wrath of the Titans clashes and will knock your socks off on Blu-ray next week, June 26th, but you can pre-order your copy now! Have at it.