Wrath of the Titans (2012)

*. 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.

13 thoughts on “Wrath of the Titans (2012)

  1. Alex's Review Corner

    The last piece of the Trium spear or whatever is Posidon’s trident, not ares hammer. He just fought ares because he happened to have kidnapped his kid and oh-so-councidentally taken Zeus’ lightning bolt with him to the one place it could be taken by Perseus. I got a soft spot for this movie, mostly due to nostalgia though. But the one cliche trope I do dislike the most is giving the protagonist a kid because the stakes need to somehow be even more arbitrarily high than, y’know, the end of the world.

    1. Alex Good Post author

      I defer to your superior knowledge of this film and will make that correction! I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention.

      Yes, saving one’s family is a go-to motivator for action plots.

      1. Alex's Review Corner

        I mean I even second guessed myself thinking maybe Perseus did go for the hammer so looked it up. So even for me who likes the movie, it’s still a bit wibbly wobbly in my memory.

      2. Alex Good Post author

        I remarked in my notes on Clash that I actually wrote these reviews up three or four years ago and just got around to posting them now so I can honestly say I don’t remember these movies much at all. I do sort of remember the idea of the dying gods in this one and the lava monster. But that’s it.

  2. Bookstooge

    So, making 150 million profit is now considered a loss. Man, that’s screwed up so much I don’t even know how to address that kind of thinking.

    So Pike was in this piker before the Wheel of Time fiasco eh? Speaking of, I haven’t heard a peep about that show for some time. I wonder if it’s hit the skids or something…

    1. Alex Good Post author

      It’s Hollywood accounting. The problem was it made $200 million less than the original (and with a bigger budget), which is a significant falling off. Plus, the rule of thumb is that you want box office to be double production cost to break even. Bottom line is they weren’t happy enough with its performance to make another.

      Pike before Gone Girl, which was her breakout role. I haven’t see Wheel of Time, but apparently it’s been renewed for a third season.

      1. Bookstooge

        Man, if I ran my house like hollywood does, I’d be in an insane asylum!

        I haven’t seen WoT either. And from the reviews, I won’t. I liked the books too much to put up with the shit the directors shoveled out.

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