Ten years after he defeated the Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington) has given up his warrior ways, quietly settling in a small fishing village and raising his and his late wifeís young son. When the Titan Kronos hatches a plot to steal the life-force of Zeus (Liam Neeson), Perseus reluctantly straps on his armor and sets out to rescue his father.
Wrath of the Titans is a movie in name only. Itís a feature-length assemblage of images, which technically qualifies it as a movie, but in all other respects itís a video game, albeit one you cannot play (which defeats the whole point). Its structure follows that of a video game, with minor fights, boss fights, and pointless breaks to explain whatever objective needs to be accomplished next. Parts of the first movie felt like levels from a God of War game; this sequels feels like it began life as a God of War game. This isnít one of the worst movies Iíve ever seen (thereís obviously some technical skill behind it), but itís far and away one of the emptiest.
This is absolutely a case where the effects (which are only marginally better than the first movieís) and action are the whole show. The three credited writers (including Greg Berlanti, who helped screw up Green Lantern, and Leslie David Johnson, who wrote the awful Red Riding Hood) didnít bother to come up with an actual story, but instead wrote a few big action set-pieces and separated them with a few lines of bad dialogue. Thereís no thrust, flow, or logic to what happens here.
Much like a video game, the characters have to quest for three items that will help defeat Kronos, so they travel here and there and fight a few people and creatures along the way, and at the end Perseus slugs it out with Kronos. That sounds simple enough, but Iíll be damned if I could make heads or tails of who was who, what was what, and where was where. Sure, none of that matters, but I couldnít help but try, although I eventually gave up, finally realizing I was wasting my time. Post-production changes turned the first movie into a nonsensical mess; this one looks to have been a nonsensical mess from the get-go.
Jonathan Liebesman stepped in as director here, Louis Leterrier (who got pushed around quite a bit on the first movie) opting not to return (although he receives an obligatory producing credit). I wasnít a fan of Battle: Los Angeles, but I liked the way Liebesman handled the action and effects, and his involvement was the only reason I had any interest at all in this movie. Unfortunately, little of Liebesmanís technical prowess is on display. This is through no fault of his own, though, as he was asked to do little more than shoot plates that would later be slathered with digital effects (the final battle contains no more than three live-action elements).
Aside from an okay bit where Perseus battles a minotaur (which looks like Tim Curryís character from Legend crossed with Sloth from The Goonies), which Liebesman shoots in the same immediate, handheld style he brought to much of Battle, he isnít in full control of the action. Because so much of it was filled in later, the action has a sterile, distant quality. You canít immerse yourself in it the way you can good action.
The first movie assembled an excellent supporting cast and then wasted it. Much the same is true here. Danny Huston gets a couple lines this time out, but heís still making just a token appearance. Bill Nighy shows up long enough to make you wish heíd been given a bigger part (sort of like Pete Postlethwaite in the first movie). Rosamund Pike replaces Alexa Davalos as Andromeda, but her character seems to exist for no other reason than to get a female into the line of tie-in action figures. Ralph Fiennes returns as Hades, and he looks just as bored here as he did in Clash (as does Neeson).
Wrath cost more than Clash and grossed less, but Warner is still making plans for a third movie. Given that the amount of story is decreasing between movies, I fully expect the third entry to be nothing more than four set-pieces and six lines of dialogue, the runtime padded out by extended end credits, the names of the effects artists taking a good forty-five minutes to crawl by. And Iím sure the studio will throw an enormous amount of money at it, attempting to make an A-flick out of whatís not all that removed from one of those Lou Ferrigno Hercules movies. Not that anyone cares what I think, but there has to be a better way to waste that sort of cash.
The 1.85:1/1080p transfer--encoded with AVC onto a 50GB disc--offers a very, very strong visual presentation. The movie was released in 3D (a 3D Blu-ray is also available), but it was converted in post, allowing Liebesman and cinematographer Ben David to shoot primarily on film (some effects-heavy shots were captured digitally). Thereís a dusty, dirty texture to much of the movie, with a palette thatís dominated by rich earth tones. Contrasting primaries come in the form of the orange fire (Kronos is portrayed as a being of lava and fire) and blue lighting, and they have a bold pop. Fine detail is visible throughout. Some minor aliasing and banding are noticeable on a couple occasions, but thatís it as far as flaws go.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is exactly what it needs to be. Once the movie moves past the static, subdued opening, the audio goes crazy, not letting up until the very end. The mix is a seamless, immersive one, handling both atmosphere and chaos with ease. The action scenes are loud and boisterous, with a low end that refuses to quit. Some whispered dialogue in the early scenes is a bit difficult to make out, which is the only thing preventing this from being a perfect listening experience.
French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs are also included; English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are available.
The Maximum Movie Mode included here has been halved, allowing you to decide which section of the background information youíd life to sample. Choose the Path of Men option and youíll be shown more conventional making-of material, including picture-in-picture interviews, behind-the-scenes clips, Focus Points featurettes, storyboard comparisons, etc. The Path of Gods option provides information on the plotís mythological elements.
Warner has once again made the Focus Points bits from the Maximum Movie Mode available as separate featurettes (they total up to about 33 minutes and are presented in high-def).
You also get three deleted scenes (11 minutes, HD), which are presented in unfinished form.
Some copies will also include a DVD; all copies will contain a code to access an UltraViolet digital copy.