Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wrath of the Titans 3D Review

Wrath of the Titans is the sequel to the 2010's Clash of the Titans, a remake of the cheesy 1981 version. If you remember there was a backlash to Clash since it was a quick 3D conversion designed to take advantage of 2009's 3D blockbuster Avatar. Moviegoers felt cheated because there was nothing special about the 3D effects. And frankly, it did well enough as a 3D movie that it started a stream of 3D conversions to make their way to the theaters. Clash also did well enough for Warner to make a sequel. And get this, they had the chutzpah to make the sequel a 3D conversion.

Liam Neeson is back as Zeus. This time he comes to his son Perseus (Sam Worthington) with a problem. It seems that the Titans, the forerunners of the gods are breaking away from the Hades prison of Tartarus. Perseus refuses to fight since he is now a peaceful fisherman. In an attempt to stop the Titans, Zeus enters Hades. But he is captured by his son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) , god of war and Hades. (Ralph Fiennes) Ares and Hades plan to release Kronos, the father of the gods. And well since Kronos will probably destroy every human being on earth, that just isn't good.

What convinces Perseus, is a Chimera attacks his village. After Perseus dispatches the monster, he goes to seek the help of Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) who he saved in the first movie. She and her Greek armies are at war with the monsters being released from Tartarus. With the help of Poseidon's demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) , they travel to find god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) who knows the way to Tartarus. Once there, they find the only way to defeat Kronos is to form a superweapon from Zeus' Thunderbolt, Hades' Pitchfork and Poseidon's Trident. All three form a magical spear.

To be honest, I was enthralled with the first twenty to thirty minutes. Peseaus' battle with the Chimera was a big WOW. But director Jonathan Liebesman makes the same mistake that filmmakers make when filming a maze scene. Much of it is first person or behind the backs of the actors to show the audience that our heroes are lost. And it's the maze to Tartarus that is where the movie gets lost. It's confusing and that drains the energy.

Still, writers Dan Mazeau, David Leslie Johnson and Greg Berlanti have crafted a good story. They inject some funny lines. I wish there was more of Hephaestus. There were some logic issues. I mean I don't remember from mythology that gods could die. One wishes that the writers and Liebesman could have put more of a climatic battle at the end. I mean the two headed warrior monster thing was cool. But there really needed more of them.

With a movie like this, it would have been easy for the actors to play their parts with a wink in their eye. Thankfully, everybody takes their parts seriously. Neeson and Fiennes are powerful as Greek gods. Sam Worthington knows when to deliver a funny line and when to play it straight. Bill Nighy steals every scene he's in with his goofy Hephaestus. And Rosamund Pike is regal and lovely to look at.

Director Liebesman previously stated that the movie would be shot in 2D and while it was being shot, care would be taken to set up the 3D effects. It shows to a certain degree. The lighting is better than most conversions. CGI effects have depth. It's good as conversions go. But you cannot make a 2D movie look as good as one shot in 3D. The technology cannot replicate every nook and cranny of an object that light casts on it. There's nothing in Wrath that made me say 3D was worth the extra bucks.

There are nice doses of action and humor in Wrath of the Titans. It's not going to make anyone forget Jason and the Argonauts but it's still a fun time at the theater. The grade is B.

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