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Sunday, April 1, 2012

(Published in The Sunday Guardian, on 1 April 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/a-battle-of-the-best-in-film)





Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Bill Nighy
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Rating: 3.5 stars
There’s very little you can do with a sequel to a regurgitation of a Greek myth. In Wrath of the Titans, Jonathan Liebesman decides to bring in Daddy issues. You kinda wonder why they didn’t just name it Wrath of the Demigods, or whatever the spawn of rapist Gods are called. Liebesman also decides to bring in subtext along the lines of Peter Pan’s dying fairies – the Gods lose their powers as people turn atheist. To compound the problems of the Olympians, Tartarus – the prison of the monstrous Titans – is crumbling.
So Zeus (Liam Neeson), who has a penchant for banishing his relatives, goes to an atheist bastard son of his, Perseus (Sam Worthington), for help. Apparently, the Gods need every bit of divine power they can muster (and it’s okay if it doesn’t believe in itself). But Perseus is a single dad trying to support his son through the recession – you assume there’s a recession if the Gods are weakening – with his fishing business. Zeus’ other son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) is jealous, and yet another son Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) is cranky. Zeus’ brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) is resentful.
Now, to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It oozes cheap thrills – serpents darting their fangs at you, debris flying your way, grotesque creatures breathing fire and spewing spittle at you – and packs most of its hundred minutes with nicely choreographed action sequences.
The reason Wrath of the Titans is watchable, for all its inane dialogue, is the cast. When the director knows the script is bound to suck, his best bet is to bring in actors who will enliven the screenplay. Hence, Bill Nighy and Toby Kebbell, who may be the first divine beings who didn’t study in British public schools. Sam Worthington is interesting mainly because the rate of change of his accent could give Freida Pinto a run for her money.
Then, there’s the ironic treatment of moronic lines. When Ares smirks, “Gone fishing?” after asking Zeus where his other son is, and Agenor (Toby Kebbell) asks Perseus to “go to hell”, you will laugh. Okay, maybe not anymore.
I saved the best for the last. There are several oestrogen-stirring moments when Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson get some alone time. They attack each other, then kiss each other, and stride out together, flashing thunderbolts and firebrands to fight their Daddy, Kronos – who, incidentally, castrated and killed his own Daddy Uranus, and then ate most of his own babies for breakfast.
The Verdict: Thanks to Wrath of the Titans, I finally get this heterosexual fascination with same sex intimacy. Therefore, the movie’s special to me.

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