'Wrath of the Titans' is all show, has no substance
Canada AM film critic Richard Crouse
Published Friday, March 30, 2012 7:44AM EDT
"Wrath of the Titans"
Richard's Review: 2 stars
Before one big battle scene in "Wrath of the Titans," the visually epic sequel to the 2010 cheese-fest "Clash of the Titans," Zeus (Liam Neeson), says, "Let's go have some fun." I'm still waiting for the fun.
Set in a world where the Gods have lost their power because people stopped believing in them, the only thing standing between oblivion and the survival of the human race is the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington). Battling his half-brother Ares (édgar Ramírez) and his uncle Hades (Ralph Fiennes), Perseus must rescue his father Zeus from the underworld and prevent the ancient Titans from literally unleashing hell on earth.
Judging by the young woman sitting next to me, "Wrath of the Titans" is a text movie. With her eyes glued to her small hand-held screen, she ignored the action on the big screen. As much as I hate texting in movies, I can't say I blame her.
The movie follows the usual blockbuster movie template. There's an action scene every 10 minutes or so that is loosely connected by little bits of story. It's "Greek Mythology for Dummies" with clichéd dialogue and a flying horse thrown in. There's a lot of action, but because these scenes look pretty much the same -- they're dark and it's often hard to tell what's going on – the sequences don't have much punch.
Couple that with too many computer generated images and you have a movie that tries to entertain the eye and little else.
In a movie where anything is possible -- visually, at least -- images fill the screen but fail to ignite the imagination. The green screen and binary code combo that dominates this movie lacks charm and cannot compare with the creatures created by the legendary Ray Harryhausen. Those beings had the advantage of looking and feeling handmade.
On the plus side, "Wrath" has a sense of humour about itself. Most of the jokes are intentional, but it's hard to take Neeson and Fiennes seriously as they bond together like immortal Bobbsey Twins. The rest of the cast fades into the background.
Worthington must be a master of green screen acting by now; he has the art of reacting to nothing down to a science.
Rosamund Pike looks good in 3D, but is little more than eye candy in a movie dominated by men and weird-looking creatures.
"Wrath of the Titans" is primal story about good and evil, mortality, betrayal and daddy issues. Unfortunately, it is more concerned with the pictures than the script.
Richard's Review: 1 star
Tarsem Singh Dhandwar may have a highly developed sense of humour. I say "may" because I don't know. Judging by his earlier work, it's hard to tell. His features such as "The Cell," "The Fall" and "Immortals" weren't exactly a riot of laughs.
His new movie, "Mirror Mirror," a comedic retelling of the Snow White story, doesn't shed any light on the matter either. It is as amusing as you might expect from the man who brought us REM's po-faced "Losing My Religion" music video.
Julia Roberts plays the narcissistic evil step-queen to the young and beautiful Snow White (Lily Collins). After Snow's father, the King (Sean Bean), mysteriously disappears the Queen goes all Marie Antoinette, indulging her every whim and bringing the country to the verge of bankruptcy.
In her quest to be the fairest in the land, she also locks Snow away from prying eyes. When the princess attracts the attention of a wealthy prince (Armie Hammer), the Queen orders her bungling servant, Brighton (Nathan Lane), to kill Snow.
Unable to murder the girl, Brighton sets Snow White free in the forest where she is found by seven dwarfs. These new friends help Snow find her inner strength and recapture her birthright.
As with all of Dhandwar's films, "Mirror Mirror" is beautiful to watch. He certainly has an eye for set decoration, but in this case I wish they had spent the money on gag writers rather than lavish sets.
"Mirror Mirror" is a family movie, but even five-year-olds deserve better than the old-hat slapstick and word play on display here. Even the seven dwarfs on their spring-loaded stilts can't put any bounce into this fractured fairy tale.
The film is cast well enough. Collins is perfect as Snow White and bears an uncanny resemblance to the cartoon version of this character.
Armie Hammer may have a future playing handsome princes should his career survive the dreadful dog impression he has to do in this film.
Julia Roberts is the headliner here and her comedic timing is in place. But the lines she has to say don't connect.
"Mirror Mirror" is a misfire, played out in 90 minutes that feel like seven years of bad luck. To quote from the movie, "Snow White? Snow way."