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Wrath of the Titans 3D(2012)
A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus-the demigod son of Zeus-is attempting to live a quieter life as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year old son, Helius. Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and the Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity's lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. The triumvirate had overthrown their powerful father long ago, leaving him to rot in the gloomy abyss of Tartarus, a dungeon that lies deep within the cavernous underworld. Perseus cannot ignore his true calling when Hades, along with Zeus' godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramírez), switch loyalty and make a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titans' strength grows stronger as Zeus' remaining godly powers are siphoned...
For more about Wrath of the Titans 3D and the Wrath of the Titans 3D Blu-ray release, see Wrath of the Titans 3D Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on June 16, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Rosamund Pike, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, Toby Kebbell
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
» See full cast & crew
Wrath of the Titans 3D Blu-ray Review
God of War IV: Wrath of the Titans, now in 3D...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, June 16, 2012
Louis Leterrier's Clash of the Titans arrived to negative reviews, divided audiences, and set off a much discussed 3D backlash with a hurried post conversion and faulty theatrical presentation. Warner cleaned house for the sequel. New director, new screenwriters, new beasties, and a leaner, meaner tale. But is director Jonathan Liebesman's Wrath of the Titans any better? In some ways, yes -- the performances are certainly better, the dialogue sharper, the stakes higher, and the 3D presentation more satisfying -- in other ways, no. Despite its grander scale, the sequel's story and settings somehow feel smaller, its 3D is still derived from a post-converted source, its creatures and monsters aren't nearly as compelling or frightening (save one, the Chimera), and its battles, showdowns and clashes are straight out of a videogame. The results are more refined I suppose, more commendable even. But stronger? Smarter? More agile? More deadly? Don't set your expectations too high. Wrath is just another dose of big, dumb, mythological 3D fun.
It's been ten years since Perseus (Sam Worthington), the son of Zeus, slew the mighty Kraken and saved Princess Andromeda (Rosamund Pike, taking over for Alexa Davalos) from certain death. Ten years since Perseus declined the throne, rejected Zeus' invitation to Olympus, and made the decision to live a secluded life as a fisherman, raising his young son Helius (John Bell) away from the world of gods and monsters. Perseus is forced out of retirement, though, when Hades (Ralph Fiennes) strikes a deal with Ares (Edgar Ramirez), captures his brother Zeus (a softer, gentler Liam Neeson), and sets out to free their father, the titan Kronos. It seems that the gods are quickly losing their power and immortality, and the walls of Tartarus are falling. Rather than contend with Kronos in a weakened state, Hades instead forges an alliance with the imprisoned titan, agreeing to transfer Zeus' life force to Kronos in exchange for his life and a little slice of the planet. It doesn't take Perseus long to respond. With Andromeda and the demigod progeny of Poseidon (Danny Huston), Agenor (Toby Kebbell), at his side, the reluctant warrior sets out to find the fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), enter the Labyrinth of Tartarus, and obtain the three pieces of the Spear of Triam, the only weapon with enough power to kill a titan.
Perseus may be a tortured soul but his compliance with fate is never in doubt. He hems, he haws, he gets a visit from Zeus, kills a Chimera, chit-chats with Poseidon, and puts together a checklist of items and allies he'll need to defeat Kronos. He's even given Poseidon's trident to start his adventure with a proper weapon. So it comes as little surprise when -- mild spoilers ahead -- he bids farewell to his son, hops aboard his trusty Pegasus (who's apparently spent the last ten years nearby, just waiting for its master's whistle), and makes a beeline for Andromeda's war camp to form a band of heroes. With a wily rogue and fierce warrior queen joining his party, Perseus' attack stat increases by four, his health increases by six and his magic increases by nine. Eventually, having gone toe-to-claw with a few tough mini-bosses (a Cyclops clan, a semi-sentient maze, a snarling minotaur, and god of war Ares himself), he collects all the pieces he needs to construct his super titan-slayer. Then it's off to Kronos, where Perseus has to fly through a sandstorm, dodge lava showers, giant fists, and massive shock waves to attack, I kid you not, the bright, orange weak spot that is the towering Big Boss's mouth. A pair of gods help from the ground, firing blasts of energy to provide an opening, while Perseus' rogue and warrior queen hack-n-slash their way through dozens of fiery, duel-torsoed minions wielding stone swords.
If you've played one of the God of War games, or any of the men-vs-the-gods RPGs and actioners that decorate the hallowed halls of 8, 16 and 64-bit history, watching Wrath of the Titans will be a lot like watching someone pound, scream and button-smash their way through a videogame. A decent videogame, mind you, but a videogame all the same. There are weapon upgrades, attack patterns, distinct levels, defensive spells, items to collect, helpful NPCs itching to aid Perseus on his quest... the parallels are unmistakable. With a whole generation of life-long, thirty-and-fortysomething gamers storming the gates of Hollywood, though, and no good videogame-to-film adaptations to be found, the trend will only continue to gain ground. Personally, some of these nostalgia-tweaked elements helped me enjoy Wrath of the Titans a bit more than I would have otherwise. Even at thirty-four, I have yet to lay down my controller, meaning "videogame-y" isn't necessarily an insult in my review vocabulary. That said, it doesn't give the sequel any extra weight. If anything, the Cyclops are cartoon meanies, the Labyrinth of Tartarus is more an exercise in strained logic than a logic puzzle, the minotaur is a lumbering man-in-suit misfire, and Kronos is a silly endgame boss whose defeat comes much, much too easily. With the Chimera, Liebesman and his effects team stumble upon real screen magic: when a creature is big and fast, it's an intimidating force of fury and nature. But Kronos? Slow-mo punches, thick-as-molasses swings, and plodding steps do not a terrifying titan make.
Most everything else is improved. Worthington pulls off a noteworthy performance for once, even though he's essentially playing yet another thinly veiled archetypal hero. (And no, Avatar doesn't count. The best performance in Avatar was its box office take.) Neeson and Fiennes are given more to do this time around as well, Pike is far more capable and convincing than Davalos, Ramírez is a suitably sinister foe, Kebbell is a charming ruffian, and Nighy is welcome in my house any day of the week he'd like to stop by. Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson's screenplay helps, of course. Gone are (most of) the cringe-inducing exchanges and one-liners, gone are the cheap jabs at the original 1981 film (Bubo returns, but in a more respectable capacity), gone are the extraneous gods, gone is the episodic adventuring, gone is the malaise that plagued the sequel's 2010 predecessor. With more to gain, more to lose, and three or four layers of father-son abandonment drama to chew through, Worthington, Neeson, Fiennes, Kebbell and Ramírez are able to sink their teeth into meatier material. And Liebesman? He bests Leterrier where it counts -- storytelling, character development, and tone -- and only comes up short when action erupts. So which wins out? Clash of the Titans or Wrath of the Titans? As far as I'm concerned, Wrath has the slight edge, but it's closer to a draw than Warner was probably hoping for. Still, with $300 million at the worldwide box office, I'm sure it won't be long before a third Titans makes its way to the screen.
Wrath of the Titans 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Wrath of the Titans hacks and slashes through the beasts of Tartarus with a razor-edged 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer free of major issues and distractions. Hardly a scene goes by that doesn't fill the air with sand, dirt, mist, debris, smoke or bursts of flame, and yet the presentation isn't plagued by significant noise or artifacting. Negligible instances of each sneak into the image when the chaos is at its most intense, but it would take a stringent videophile to spot them. Otherwise, the encode is nearly flawless. Colors, though typically dusty and sun-struck, are strong and striking, potent primaries lend Kronos' hellfire vibrance and voracity, skintones are warm and lifelike, and black levels are quite deep (when furious battles aren't blanketing the screen with sand). Detail is exacting as well. Fine textures and closeups are precisely resolved, edge definition is crisp and clean (with little to no ringing), delineation is excellent, and grain is intact. A few scenes, particularly those that rely heavily on visual effects, have a slightly glossy digital sheen, but it doesn't hinder the proceedings. Moreover, macroblocking, banding, aliasing, crush and other serious problems don't factor into the mix, and the encode is polished and proficient.
And what of Warner's 1080p/MVC-encoded 3D presentation? After the fiasco that was Clash of the Titans and its botched 3D experience, even the producers began hinting that the sequel would be shot in native 3D. For whatever reason, though, that never came to pass. Wrath of the Titans was also converted to 3D after the fact, a move that took me by surprise and lowered my expectations by a few rungs. Thankfully, Wrath's 3D experience is much more satisfying than its predecessor's, with reasonably convincing depth and dimensionality, a handful of fun (albeit somewhat gimmicky) shots, and no major problems or conversion mishaps to speak of. It still isn't as enveloping as it could (or arguably should) be, but that's more a product of the film itself than the post-converted 3D presentation. The aforementioned sand, dirt, debris and smoke wreaks havoc on the 3D experience (as do the more frenzied monster fights), flattening the image into a two-dimensional cloud of whatever happens to be swirling round the actors and creatures at any given moment. Add to that the torch-lit walls of Hephaestus' cave, the impenetrable shadows of the Labyrinth of Tartarus, the dark recesses of the underworld (made that much darker by the dimness of the 3D glasses) and you have even more scenes that aren't really able to pull the viewer into a fully realized 3D world. Does it spoil the film? No, it simply makes for a hit-or-miss 3D experience. Fans will still be pleased, but I suspect most repeat viewings will involve watching Wrath of the Titans in 2D.
Wrath of the Titans 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Unleash the Kraken! Er... Kronos! Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track wreaks more havoc than Wrath of the Titans' most vicious mythological monsters and does so with more finesse than the film's mightiest gods and warriors. Fireballs hurtle across the sky, lava turns to stone as it rains from above, a Chimera pounds the ground as it pounces, a cyclops hurls trees at a band of trespassers, a minotaur smash through rock with tremendous force, lightning and thunder split the skies, and gods crash to earth with a deafening thoom. All the while, the LFE channel wages war on the soundscape, demonstrating the staggering fury of Olympus' power and loosing the unbridled rage of the titans. The rear speakers join the fight too, surrounding the listener with epic conflicts and clashes. Battle-hardened soldiers cry out, fleeing peasants scream, snapping jaws clamp shut, toppling trees fall to all sides, shifting labyrinth walls twist and turn, erupting streams of lava spew upwards and outwards, attacking hellions dart by, and rampaging giants circle around Perseus and his heroes. But it isn't just volume for volume's sake. The tiny crunch of a soft footfall on a rocky mountain pass, the whisper of a light breeze, the faint rustling of a deadly forest, the murmurs of nervous swordsmen, and the ominous atmosphere of Tartarus and the underworld make the sequel's entire soundfield as immersive as it is during its most bombastic action scenes. More, you ask? Gladly. Dynamics are dead on. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout. Javier Navarrete's score streams from every speaker, complementing the sonic experience perfectly. And prioritization? Terrific. All told, Wrath of the Titans sounds fantastic.
Wrath of the Titans 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Wrath of the Titans 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Wrath of the Titans improves upon Clash of the Titans in some ways but still falls short. The performances and script are better, but the visual effects, creature designs and monster battles are ripped from videogames and, perhaps more distressingly, feel as if they have been. At least audiences will agree on the quality of Warner's Blu-ray release. While a bit slim in the supplemental department, the sequel's video transfer is outstanding, its 3D presentation handily bests its predecessor, and its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is a full-force knockout. If you enjoyed Clash of the Titans, you'll certainly enjoy Wrath. If you shrugged off Clash, still give Wrath a try. If you're gun-shy after having sat through Clash's migraine-inducing 3D experience, there's little need to worry this time around. If you despised Clash, though, Wrath of the Titans won't convert you to the franchise fold.
Wrath of the Titans: Other Editions
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