When gods are at odds

2012-04-02 00:00

WHEN Wrath of the Titans was churned out within two years of Clash of the Titans, it was clear that the latter’s commercial success of $500 million (R3,8 billion) worldwide, rather than any substantive content, was the impetus for a sequel.

 

While Clash of the Titans was an adaptation of the 1981 film of the same name, Wrath of the Titans has no such source material.

The film starts with a summary of what happened in the first film so if you haven’t seen Clash of the Titans, you needn’t worry.

It is 10 years after Perseus has defeated the Kraken, and he is content to deny that he is the demi-god son of Zeus and live the life of a fisherman with his son.

Zeus is betrayed and captured by Hades and Aries, whose plan is to release their father Cronus, whom Zeus, Poseidon and Hades had once imprisoned.

Perseus, in typical “reluctant hero’s journey” form, must now rescue his father.

When you are dealing with a sequel there are expectations before the first frame is even seen, expectations that Wrath of the Titans has indeed met because it rigidly adheres to the formula of the first film.

There are a betrayal, a call to duty, a driving force, trials and a great battle. While there is some creative licence with respect to Greek mythology in an effort to render a more coherent storyline, what is accurate is the relationship between the gods.

The first film focused on the gods against the humans. Wrath of the Titans centres on the power struggles between the gods themselves.

The tragedy of action-fantasy films is that 3D cinematic feats are now so commonplace that we have become desensitised to the grandeur of what we are seeing on the screen.

What once would have been described as “impressive” is now described as “average”.

Nonetheless, the scenes are riveting and a generous portion of the film is devoted to action sequences with a cadence so unrelenting it has the capability of inducing epilepsy.

The film features Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Bill Nighy, a triumvirate of mainstream British actors who bring enough clout even before you give them lightning bolts and pitchforks to hurl at each other.

They considerably overshadow Sam Worthington’s (Avatar) two-dimensional Perseus.

Toby Kebbell (War Horse), playing Poseidon’s son, provides some comedic relief offered as a slight reprieve in an otherwise heavy film.

While its driving force may have been “ka-ching, ka-ching”, and while it is missing a substantive core, the end product is not without entertainment value.

*** Kate Dent

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