I’ve heard that judging a movie by its trailer is just as bad as judging a book by its cover, which is fine. Never in my life have I been upset with a cover for making a book look cool, and not once have I ever, under the good-cover-bad-book circumstance, thought to myself “That was a terrible book, but damn if that cover wasn’t fantastic.” In terms of great trailers, Wrath of the Titans is up there with the greats: Pineapple Express, Cloverfield, Terminator Salvation, and The Strangers. And like most of those movies, it fails to live up to the expectation it set for itself.
Wrath of the Titans is directed by Jonathan Liebesman—whose other credits include Battle Los Angeles and Darkness Falls (it’s about the Tooth Fairy)—and stars a host of actors with varying British accents, including Sam Worthingon, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Rosamund Pike—each hero better looking than the last. While neither the cast nor the effects were all the surprising to me, I was shocked to find that it took three people to write the story of this meh-pic (like epic, but meh) film.
If you’re worried about seeing this movie because you haven’t seen Clash of the Titans, never fear: there is about a minute of recap at the start of the film. This sequel picks up at a time when the people of Greece are no longer praying to their host of gods, causing the gods to weaken. Perseus (Worthington) has made a promise to himself that he will ignore his godly half and embrace his human side for the sake of his son. Unfortunately, this promise couldn’t have come at a worse time for the people and gods of Greece. Deep below the surface of the earth Hades is plotting with Ares (the god of war and half brother to Perseus) to drain Zeus (Perseus’s and Ares’s father) of his power to awaken Kronos (the father of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon), and release him from his underworld imprisonment to take over the world. It is up to Perseus—with the help of beautiful Queen Andromeda and the bumbling Agenor, half-god son of Poseidon—to save the universe from Kronos’s escape from Tartarus.
While I don’t typically go to a movie like this for the story elements, the plot has an exceptional number of holes, the editing is pretty poor, and the filmmakers seem to focus on the parts of the story they assume the audience will find interesting, rather than just dealing with the stuff I found interesting. For instance, there’s a 15-minute lead-in about a spooky, huge labyrinth that the lead characters must move through in order to get to Tartarus. There’s a special map, and a fight to even enter the maze, but then with a few shifts, some tumbling rock, and a couple bruises they’re out of the tunnels and into the underworld. Lickety split. Daedalus would be really pissed if he saw this movie.
And fine, yes, the effects are really, really excellent—especially one terrifying dream sequence where Kronos’s hand is just massacring a crowd of people. However, when will we live in a world where moviemakers just spend the money to add a good story to a movie like this? Or at least stop hiring such excellent editors for their trailers?