Wrath Of The Titans
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Wrath Of The Titans

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It does appear that movies focused on mythological characters, creatures or stories appear in the Cineplex on a regular basis. The reason is quite simple they pull in box office receipts. The enjoyment garnered from mythological stores is virtually engrained in our DNA at this point. After millennia of depending on myths to explain the mysteries of the universe and ensure the continuity of cultural boundaries they still remain potently able to capture the attention of the audience. since most of the criteria we use to gauge the efficiency of s storyteller it should come as no surprise that mythological action adventure epic are perennial able to tap into primordial need for just mythology has to offer. We might have move past needing them to define the aspects of nature from the actions of spiteful deities to an understanding on the sub atomic level the stories of bravery, preternatural abilities and the ultimate conflict between good and evil are always going to keep people riveted. Currently many of the Norse myths have waxed greatly in popularity but the old standby, the Greco-Roman Parthenon remains the staple of the Hollywood screenwriter. In 1981 one of the cult classics of the genre was released, ‘Clash of the Titans.’ in 2010 a remake was produced that might have employed the same underlying myths, the exploits of the demigod, Perseus but as is frequently the case the remake was a lackluster shadow of the original. In support of my aforementioned hypothesis the box office was sufficient for the executive overseeing such matters to green light a sequel, ‘Wraith of the Titans.’ The main point that drew fans to the 2010 flick was the promise of state of art special effects and the addition of 3D in select theaters. Some tome later the Blu-ray 3D of the movie was released in time to support the 3D Blu-ray of ‘Wraith of the Titans’. The sequel is marginally better possessing a modicum of character development and a better understanding of how to use 3D effects as an integral element of relating the story. There are combo pack specials with both 3D editions at a reduced price. For diehard fan of the sword and sandal movie waiting for such a deal would be opportune.

The demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) has eschewed his immortal heritage and has settled down as a fisherman to raise a family. His son Helius (John Bell) is all that matters to the now humble Perseus. One faithful day he is visited by his father, Zeus, who has come to ask Perseus for help. The prison of the gods, the Tartarus, is crumbling. Soon when sufficiently weakened the most powerful of the Titans, Kronos, will be set free. Certain involvement will greatly endanger his family Perseus refuses. Zeus return to the gates of Tartarus to discuss these developments with his brothers Hades (Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston), and his son Ares (Ramirez). When Zeus requests Hades to assist in reinforcing the walls once again Zeus is refused. This time the betrayal is more insidious when Ares turns against Zeus imprisoning him and stealing the symbol of his power, his thunderbolts. A deal is struck. In return for retaining his immortality Ares will permit‘s vitality to be drained sway in order to revive Kronos. Poseidon appears before Perseus to explain the dire circumstances. If Kronos is freed it will be the end not only of the gods but of humanity as well. Perseus is instructed to find Hephaestus, (Bill Nighy), the blacksmith of the gods, who constructed Tartarus and knows a secret way in. before succumbing to injuries Poseidon entrust his trident to Perseus dispatching Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and the thief and son of Poseidon, Agenor (Toby Kebbell)on the mission. Hephaestus also created the three symbol of power; the lightning bolt of Zeus, the trident of Poseidon and the pitchfork of Hades. When rejoined they form the Spear of Truth, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Kronos.

By introducing the necessity of finding and assembling them into a more powerful weapon it might sound like a variation of the ‘Power Rangers’ but actually, it is quite an ancient story element, the plot coupon; collect them all and redeem them for a dénouement. Very often this was utilized in mythology in the form of an integral part of the noble heroic quest. Look up Professor Joseph Campbell for a scholarly dissertation on the heroic quest and its modern incarnations in our modern culture. This technique provides a means to extend the tension and suspense offering interim successes prior to the ultimate confrontation. With each item another part of the quest is fulfilled and the hero moves one step closer to the final test of his mettle. This was attempted to a much lesser degree in the first film with an uninspiring execution. At least in this movie the method is better incorporated into the story and limiting the list to three items tied to the trio of main gods. Although the overall story failed to coalesce properly little touches like this did improve upon its predecessor.

Both of the ‘Titan’ movies were not original film in the 3D format; the illusion of depth was introduced in post-production. The advances in the software and the increased expertise in the men wielding it are obvious between the two films even though only two years had elapsed. I did notice the improvement within the first few scenes of ‘Wraith’ that the characters were pointedly more realistic. The curvature of the forms had a marked solidity to them. There is an acceptable use of multiple planes manufacturing a distinct separation of foreground, middle and background. While nicely accomplished it can’t entirely offset the over reliance on the standard gimmicky tricks so popular in 3D action movies.

The acting is standard fair for a sword and sandal epic; a gossamer story on which to hang the battles and dialogue reduced to a series of grunts groans and screams. The battle sequences are notable and while they can’t measure up to the classic days of practical effects they do get the job done. The adherence to the generally accepted mythology which is not at all unusual but it did retain a connection to the far better 1981 ‘Clash of the Titans’. While the adventurers are in the workshop of Hephaestus there is a brief glimpse of Bubo, the mechanical owl. Fans do tend to react favorably to such touches; I know it elicited a smile from me. As far as a beer and pizza guilty pleasure a 3D double feature is not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

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Posted 05/16/2014

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