Wrath of the Titans


Wrath of the Titans

Run time 99 minutes.
Not for children.

Sam Worthington in “Wrath of the Titans.”

Why do studios continue to make rubbish like this? Money. The first in this series, which will probably continue, Clash of the Titans, made $163 million to rank 192 on the all time list of money makers.

This is just more of the same. While the film ballyhoos that it “stars” Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, they couldn’t have been on the set for much more than a week, so few scenes do they occupy. The only person onscreen for an extended period is Sam Worthington, who plays Perseus, the demigod son of Zeus (Neeson). It’s Perseus who has to go to battle with demons and monsters and all.

This is the classic new Hollywood movie that is virtually nothing but special effects. This one is in 3D. It was actually filmed in 3D, so the 3D is pretty good, and it doesn’t mute the color like the post production 3D (which marred the first one) does, if you can stay awake through all the inane action scenes.

Louis Leterrier directed the 2010 remake of the 1981 original. This directing chore falls to Jonathan Liebesman, no stranger to action films that rely on special effects. His last, Battle of Los Angeles (2011), was pretty good, but it was almost all action and special effects. This is much of the same, just switched in time from today to 3,000 years ago. There is really no story and no acting. Just one impossible fight between Perseus and the next monster, be it giant Cyclops or a creature composed entirely of fire.

This film shows Hollywood at its reprehensible worst, glorifying and minimizing senseless violence which can desensitize younger viewers to horribly violent actions that have no apparent consequences. Worthington’s brother beats him unmercifully, slamming his head against concrete time and again, to virtually no effect on Worthington (unless Worthington’s head has been so battered he can no longer make an intelligent choice of films in which to act).

Almost laughably, there are lots of writing credits here, Dan Mazeau & David Leslie Johnson for a screenplay and Greg Berlanti & Johnson & Mazeau for a “story by.” When you look at all the special effects that are bombarded at the audience and the meagerness of the story and script, one wonders at all the credits for a “story” and “script” (or why one would desire a credit for something like this).

As such, it really doesn’t require acting. Fiennes realized it and just mailed in his performance. Neeson is always good, even with stuff like this. Worthington has the potential to be a fine actor, but he needs to direct his efforts at something that actually requires talent.

One thing was pretty funny, however. Toby Kebbell plays Poseidon’s demigod son, Agenor, with a heavy British accent. Remember, this is in the second millennium B.C. I don’t know who was occupying the British Isles then, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t speak the Queen’s English.

This is nothing but mindless special effects. If you like them, this is your cup of tea. It wasn’t mine. But the movie left one with something to desire as before he dissolves into sand, Neeson tells Worthington, “There will be no more gods.” One can only hope.

Damsels in Distress

Run time 99 minutes.
OK for children.

Greta Gerwig in “Damsels in Distress.”

This doesn’t even rise to the level where it could be called a “bad chick flick.” Near the end of the film one of the characters says, “I don’t think my brain was fully formed or functioning properly.” This could describe every character in the film.

Written, produced, and directed by Whit Stillman, the film stars Greta Gerwig, accompanied by a bunch of relative unknowns. Although there are no special effects, the characters act and speak as if the film is a total fantasy. No real person acts, thinks, or speaks as do these women. They are as unrealistic as the monsters I just saw in Clash of the Titans.

Three of them, led by Gerwig, entice an incoming transfer student, Analeigh Tipton, to join their weird group. I say “weird” because they run a suicide prevention center that is based on counseling students not to kill themselves by devoting themselves to good hygiene and dance.

The most annoying thing about most bad chick flicks is the way they speak with one another. This film takes it to an entirely different level. They are all looney. The men in the film are a little more normal, but the fact that they would waste their time on goofy women like these means that there is something desperately wrong with them, too.

Apparently intended as a comedy, the dialogue is excruciating. I actually heard groans from different people in the audience at various places in the film. I kept groping for some deep meaning, for some big message the film was trying to make. If it existed, it was beyond me.

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