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Wrath of the Titans (2012)
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/26/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on
Wrath of the Titans available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 6/25!
It seems that every other review that I write has to do with remakes. Why must we always be discussing remakes? And what's worse than a remake? How about the sequel to a remake? Talk about your bastard step-children. But, it happens, with movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning or Piranha 3DD. Can you get further from credibility than that? But, every now and then a movie can come along and buck any trend, any that of the lowly sequel to a remake. 2010's Clash of the Titans was a pretty bad movie, so who would have thought that Wrath of the Titans would not only watchable, but entertaining.
Wrath of the Titans begins several years after the events of Clash of the Titans. Perseus (Sam Worthington), son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), and conqueror of the Kraken, now leads a quiet life as a fisherman with his son, Helius (John Bell). The time of the gods has passed and very few pray to them anymore. The gods get their powers from prayer, so Mt. Olympus is in turmoil. Hades (Ralph Fiennes), Zeus' brother and lord of the underworld, and Ares (Edgar Ramirez), another of Zeus' sons, have conspired to release Kronos, father of the gods, from him banishment in Tartarus, the underworld prison. In order to do this, they must kidnap Zeus, but before this happens, Zeus is able to warn Perseus. Perseus has no interest in getting into this squabble amongst the gods, but when a monster destroys his village, he knows what he must do. Perseus goes to the camp of Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), where he finds Agenor (Toby Kebbell), the son of Poseidon. With Andromeda and Agenor in tow, Perseus begins a quest to free Zeus and find the one weapon which can defeat Kronos.
There are distinct reasons why I liked this movie and why this movie was better than I expected it to be. 1981's Clash of the Titans was one of the touchstone films of my childhood. Yes, the special effects by the great Ray Harryhausen look dated today, but the movie set a new benchmark for combining action with stories from Greek mythology (and no doubt launched a generation's interest in those stories). Medusa, the Kraken, the scorpions -- each scene was a classic. Other than an opportunity to update the special effects, the 2010 version of Clash seemed like a waste of time and energy from the get go. Upon seeing the film, I was appalled in the changes in the story, none of which helped to make it a better movie. Therefore, I had little hope for Wrath of the Titans. But, the film actually works because it is an independent story. Free from the comparisons to the original Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans is able to do its own thing and it weaves a pretty interesting tale. Ignoring some of the plot differences, this actually works better a sequel to the 1981 Clash than to the 2010 Clash. Free from pre-conceptions, I was able to enjoy this movie for what it is -- an action movie.
Which brings us to our next point. Yes, Wrath of the Titans is about Greek mythology and yes, it includes a lot of confusing genealogy with all of Zeusí offspring and Perseusí half-brothers, but at its heart, this is an all-out action movie. Director Jonathan Liebesman isnít known for making great movies, but heís certainly shown growth since Darkness Falls and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (Hey, didnít we mention that earlier?). With the recent Battle Los Angeles and now Wrath of the Titans, Liebesman has shown that he can handle visual effects and he knows how to craft a well-paced movie. The first action sequence here is stellar and shows a great combination of CGI and camera movement. I also liked the creature design here, most notably the monster which has two torsos connected to one set of legs. The story does get bogged down at times and the inclusion of a trapped in a maze sequence -- even though it is directly related to mythology -- seems hackneyed. The story also gets thin at times, and the motivations behind Hades and Kronos actions are glossed over.
Is Wrath of the Titans a classic? By no means, but it is a serviceable action movie. Thereís no denying that that tales and characters from Greek mythology are still fascinating and this is a nice entry into that cycle, as we get some recognizable characters and beasts from those classic stories. The movie may be brain-dead at times, but the special effects are well-done and the action sequences move along nicely. Will we see Perseus again in the future? Thatís hard to say, but it we do, I hope that Bobu gets more than a cameo.
Wrath of the Titans reaffirms my dislike of the black Pegasus on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear for the most part, showing no defects from the source material. However, there is grain evident in the daytime scenes. Itís difficult to say if this is an issue with the transfer or if it was a stylistic choice. As with Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans wants to bring a gritty, realistic edge to the stories, so I can see why Liebesman would want to push the grain. The colors look good, most notably reds, and the image is never overly dark or bright, although some of the scenes in the maze come close to being overly dark. The level of detail is good and the depth is acceptable. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As the action is nearly non-stop in the film, so are the audio effects. The explosions and monster roars provide palpable subwoofer effects which shake the walls. The surround sound effects are very good and place us in the middle of the action. These effects are nicely detailed and we can pick out individual sounds.
The Wrath of the Titans Blu-ray Disc contains a selection of extras. As with many of Warner's big titles, this Disc offers the choice to watch the film with "Maximum Movie Mode". Here, the viewer can choose "Path of Gods" and learn more about mythology or "Path of Men" and gain insight into the film's production, complete with interviews and on-set action. Through Picture-in-Picture segments, the viewer learns about the story and the making of the movie. These segments can be viewed independently in the "Focus Points" section. "Path of Men" contains six sections and runs about 21 minutes, while "Path of Gods" has four parts and runs about 12 minutes. The Disc contains three DELETED SCENES which run about 11 minutes. This contains a nice scene in which Perseus explains to Helius that he's the son of Zeus. In the film, we just assume that Helius knows this. We also get a Braveheart-like speech which needed to be cut. The third scene shows the fate of some of the other gods of Olympus, a question which is not answered in the film.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long