Wrath of the Titans (2012) Blu-ray Review: Wrath of the Critic

When you think back to the reimagined Clash of the Titans released two years ago, what memories come to mind? For me, the only lasting perceptions are that the huge Kraken monster was pretty cool, and the movie was largely panned, especially because of its lackluster 3D conversion. The film was a passable global hit at the box office, and yet there didn’t seem to be much clamor for a sequel. Well, clamor be damned, Hollywood followed the money and produced this unnecessary continuation of the Titans tales.

Sam Worthington returns to the role of half-god/half-human Perseus, again working out his daddy issues with the almighty Zeus (Liam Neeson). This time around, Zeus has his own daddy drama with the evil Kronos, a gigantic CGI volcano monster intent on escaping an underworld prison to rain destruction down on the foolish gods and mortals. Did you know Zeus had a father? News to me, I always thought Zeus was the ultimate top dog. Adding to the family drama, Kronos is being assisted by Zeus’ brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes), along with Zeus’ other full-god son Ares (Edgar Ramirez). Oh, and Perseus has a son too, a weak one-quarter god named Helius (John Bell), so the family turmoil covers a whole four generations. With all that manly struggle going on, there’s little room for a feminine touch, but the producers shoehorn in tough warrior Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) to fight on the side of good.

Perseus has been enjoying the slow lane for the past decade as a humble fisherman and father, hiding his partial god status and armament from his neighbors. He gets involved in the plot when his dying uncle Poseidon appears before him to announce that Kronos is coming and suggests that Perseus needs another half-god, Poseidon’s son Agenor, to help battle the foe. So basically, Perseus is presented with two quests: find Agenor, then combine three powerful artifacts into a weapon capable of destroying Kronos. Poseidon’s trident is the first artifact, Agenor has the second, and the evil Ares has the third. Road trip! There’s no montage, but Perseus hails his mighty winged steed Pegasus and takes off to the far corners of the realm to complete his assignments. Along the way, he battles a Cyclops clan, matches wits with a mind-bending labyrinth and its woefully weak minotaur, and finally faces off against the big bad. If that sounds more like the plot of a video game (say, any God of War for instance) than a film, it plays out that way too, with the utter lack of compelling character development to go along with it. Even for a summer popcorn flick, the film falls painfully short.

In the plus column, the labyrinth is easily the most imaginative thing about the film, as the creators came up with an outstanding representation of the classic device that finds it stretching and contorting on the vertical plane as well as horizontal. While I didn’t see the film in 3D, I imagine that it is even more spectacular with that added depth. The only other positive item of note is the brief verbal face-off between Neeson and Fiennes, a real treat recalling their early opposing roles in Schindler’s List.

On Blu-ray, the film is surprisingly grainy, which is clearly more a fault of the original image source than the Blu conversion. The effects are decent though, and the soundtrack envelops listeners in the tumult of the film’s epic battles. The film’s primary bonus feature is an option that allows viewers to watch in “maximum movie mode” following either the path of gods or mortals, including storyboard comparisons, picture in picture, and focus points. The combo pack also includes a DVD and an Ultraviolet digital copy code.

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Steve Geise

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