*. I’ve complained enough about CGI over the years. In Wrath of the Titans the effects, however, aren’t bad. In fact they’re pretty good. But I still think the CGI is a net minus for the film.
*. This may seem paradoxical. In fact it is. Wrath of the Titans is a CGI movie. You would know that going in. But that is my point. The genre of “CGI movie” has become so predictable not only visually (large monsters, armies, cities being destroyed) but in terms of plot that all of the elements are basically interchangeable. What movie am I watching? A CGI movie.
*. The story here has the Olympian gods (or at least the male ones, as Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite are nowhere to be seen) heading into their Götterdämmerung because people have stopped praying to them and infighting has led to the possible release of the titan Kronos. The hero Perseus is the only one who can save the day by assembling the Spear of Trium out of Zeus’s thunderbolt, Hades’s pitchfork, and Poseidon’s trident.
*. Got it? Good. Even if you went into this cold you’d be up to speed in no time. I could only keep myself amused by plugging the various characters and plot points into an imaginary CGI-movie template constructed out of earlier and later movies. So Zeus (Liam Neeson) is Gandalf, or Odin from the Thor movies. The bitter half-sibling Ares is the Ocean Master. Kronos is Sauron or Thanos. Hades is Voldemort. The Spear of Trium is the One Ring or the Tesseract or the Trident of Atlan.
*. Even the casting is predictable. If you were surprised by Ralph Fiennes (Hades) and Edgar Ramírez (Ares) turning on Zeus then you obviously don’t watch many movies. Hell, Zeus didn’t even remember the previous movie, where he’d signed off saying that Hades was only “biding his time” to take his revenge. Meanwhile, Bill Nighy is back as Davy Jones and you can even tell it’s him. Nighy, that is.
*. You might be expecting, or at least hoping, that Kronos, being the Father of the Gods, would be a bit more interesting. Alas he doesn’t speak in any known language (not that he has much to say anyway) and has even less personality than the Kraken. He’s really just a big steaming pile of magma.
*. The script is full of the usual fustian, with a surprising lack of humour. Here, for example, is Andromeda’s defence of humanity: “We may not be gods. But we do what people say can’t be done, we hope when there isn’t any. Whatever odds we face, we prevail.” Being an actor in a CGI movie can’t be easy. As Harrison Ford once said to George Lucas, “George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can’t say it.”
*. You would have thought they’d have given Toby Kebbell some funny lines, but I was left wondering what Agenor was even doing in this picture. Come to think of it, Andromeda (Rosamund Pike, filling in for Alexa Davalos) doesn’t have much of a role either, beyond showing that girls can kick ass too.
*. A budget of $150 million that took in $300 million box office. Which means it flopped (Clash of the Titans had grossed $500 million two years previously). One benefit of this being that the planned sequel, Revenge of the Titans, was scrapped. So as for now the gods are dead.