Wrath of the Titans

Info:

Genre: Fantasy, action, adventure

Director/s: Jonathan Liebesman

Running Time: 99 mins

Budget: $150 million

Released: 30 March 2012

Plot:

Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world – imdb

Review:

Some readers may remember my Clash of the Titans review back in 2010, the film was a shit-fest train wreck and despite that somehow someone saw fit to make a sequel.  It confuses me when filmmakers actually believe that they can make a successful sequel from a lackluster first entry, though all things considering, Clash of the Titans did make $493 million worldwide, but then again audiences didn’t really know what to expect.  In comparison, Wrath of the Titans grossed $301 million – notably less than its predecessor which is understandable since it’s a sequel and people knew what to expect.

As bad as the first film was, Wrath of the Titans somehow manages to be better and worse than its predecessor simultaneously, undoubtedly a feat worthy of the gods and I shall explain to you exactly how this is achieved.

Perseus and love interest, Andromeda.

Firstly, to fully comprehend this film’s absolute level of fail, one needs to acknowledge that Wrath of the Titans is a sequel to a film that was a remake of the 1981 film – Clash of the Titans, which was an adaptation of the myth of Perseus *phew*.  So already, viewers know that they’re in for a world of hurt with this one.  The 2010 adaptation was only loosely based on the myth of Perseus to begin with, making up for its complete lack of substance with special effects, popular actors and a shitty converted 3D treatment – all the ingredients required to dupe the contemporary movie-goer into watching a piece-of-shit movie.  When I say that Wrath is better than Clash, it’s only because this sequel manages to do everything the predecessor did, but prettier.  That’s right, the mechanical (as in dull) special effects have been replaced with slightly better mechanical special effects and yeah…that’s about it really.

Plenty mythological creatures, like this downed cyclops, but not many titans…

I shall now do a breakdown explaining exactly why Wrath of the Titans fails so hard.  Firstly, the film is set ten years after its predecessor, Sam Worthington returns as the demigod Perseus, son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) who has turned down his birthright of joining his father on Mount Olympus as a god and has instead settled down in a small village as a fisherman with his 10-year-old son, Helius.  So already we have our first bullshit stereotype >> the reluctant hero.  In the same fashion as Clash of the Titans, pacing means nothing to the filmmakers as within the first ten minutes, all hell breaks loose and our ‘reluctant’ hero dusts off the old sword and armour to combat a Chimera that attacks the village melting anything that moves.  Perseus who’s chosen a ‘peaceful life’ just happens to keep his gear and deftly slay the beast even after a ten year break from combat.  Worthington abandons the shaved head in favour of a ridiculous ‘fro’ and, as the film progresses, seems to abandon his Australian accent as well, how normal!  Within minutes of slaying the beast, the ‘reluctant’ hero has already summoned Pegasus (who has obviously been hanging around for a decade for just such an event) and proceeds to jet over to the Mount of Idols to have a few words with dear old dad.  However, Perseus is informed by a dying Poseidon (Danny Huston) that Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez) have enslaved Zeus in Tartarus (a dungeon beneath the underworld) and are draining his power so that they may free the titan Kronos.

And perhaps the dumbest and most pointless line in the film >> Andromeda: “Kronos is near.” You don’t say…

The ‘reluctant’ hero Perseus soon embarks on an adventure (without reluctance…) to locate the second bullshit stereotype  >> roguish criminal anti-hero  who has certain skill set/know-how required to save universe – Agenor (Toby Kebbell) who, wouldn’t you know it…happens to be the son of Poseidon.  Agenor also goes by the moniker – The Navigator (and there you have the specific skill set I mentioned earlier), and is tasked to find the fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) so that he may show them the way into the labyrinthine Tartarus.

…the ‘reluctant’ hero Perseus soon embarks on an adventure (without reluctance…) to locate the second bullshit stereotype…

That’s basically the gist of the story (and yes this review does contain spoilers), not the worst ever, except that it’s terribly generic and uninspired, and once again I don’t really understand where the ‘Titans‘ aspect comes in, because the only titan present in the film is Kronos.  There were originally twelve titans to begin with, and many of them were imprisoned in Tartarus, so it’s not a wild assumption that when one hears ‘Wrath of the Titans‘ one would expect a bunch of them escaping to do battle with the gods, but nope, not in this film.  So while Kronos does look pretty cool, he doesn’t really do much, portrayed in a rigid CG fashion and defeated before he can do any real damage…so lame.  Zeus also notes that “the time of the gods is coming to an end” – gee, what’s the point  of even offering Perseus a place amongst the gods if it was all going to end within a decade, a bit short-sighted on Zeus’ part, and well pretty stupid if you ask me.  At one point, Perseus needs to do battle with Ares in order to get Zeus’ thunderbolt (in Ares possession mind you), and that brings me to bullshit stereotype number three >> reluctant hero’s loved-one used by bad guy as an exploited weakness, what!? No surely not! Didn’t see that one coming.  To top it all off, they kill off all of the gods within the film save for Hades who will have to live out the rest of his life as a mortal man, so that’s a great idea, kill off the only likeable aspect of the film.  On the plus side, killing off everyone increases the likelihood of there not being a third installment in this travesty of a franchise.

While Kronos did look pretty cool, he didn’t really do much, such a waste.

Conclusion

Wrath of the Titans is a shitty, convoluted mess of a film, loosely based on the myth of Perseus, light on story as the film leaps from one incoherent action sequence to the next and filled with uninspired, wooden acting.  Makes me wonder what actors like Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Bill Nighy were thinking when they agreed to appear in a sequel of such a crappy film to begin with.  Avoid.

Grade: D

Clash of the Titans

Info:

Genre: Action, fantasy, adventure

Director/s: Louis Leterrier

Writer/s: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi

Running Time: 118 mins

Budget: $125 million

Released: 02 April 2010

Plot:

The mortal son of the god Zeus embarks on a perilous journey to stop the underworld and its minions from spreading their evil to Earth as well as the heavens – imdb

Review:

Given the success of Avatar (though for the life of me I don’t see why), it’s only natural that filmmakers will want to recruit Sam Worthington as a protagonist in their films and this time around Worthington finds himself playing Perseus (the demigod son of Zeus) in a remake of the 1981 film of the same name; Clash of the Titans.  Unfortunately, there’s far more trash than clash in this lackluster attempt at an epic tale of the struggle between man and god.

I must say, a big ‘well done’ needs to go towards the marketing guys as they did a stellar job in hyping this film, so much so that after all the posters and trailers you’d be forgiven for thinking that Clash of the Titans could be the most awesome thing in the history of film.  Sadly that isn’t the case.

Sadly, not even the awesome powers of Liam Neeson could save Clash of the Titans.

With so much material to work with (c’mon, the entire Greek Mythology pantheon!) it’s a small wonder how this film managed to suck ass on so many levels, it seems that effects-driven films with shitty acting and poor scripting are fine as long as it has pretty actors or is shown in 3D (I hate this 3D fad and more so when I hear things like; Avatar’s storyline is better in 3D – wtf people??).  The main problem with this film is pacing, or lack thereof, everything happens to damn quickly which immediately drains the ‘epic’ out of a film of this genre.  And why make a film that’s ‘very loosely’ based on the Greek myth when following the actual story properly would equal absolute epicness? Because it’s easier that way and can be achieved following these steps:

  1. Choose to do a remake of a film or adaptation of a beloved novel, play, poem etc.
  2. Take source material (script) into toilet stall but don’t read it in an attempt to visualize how it could be adapted into something awesome.  Instead, place source material into toilet and take a huge diarrhea dump all over it completely submerging it in fecal matter.
  3. Now that the original story has been completely destroyed, proceed with hiring the most popular cash cows (actors of the moment) to be in film adaptation regardless of acting ability.
  4. Take the few remaining pages of source material that weren’t covered in shit and attempt to convert that into an ‘epic’ adaptation that will enthrall audiences around the globe.
  5. Because people are stupid, make sure that your film is in 3D too as this will boost film’s ‘epic factor’.
  6. Combine cheesy acting with shoddy effects-heavy scenes that somehow manage to be frenetic and boring simultaneously.
  7. DO NOT pace your film, instead cram as much liquid shit into 118 mins in order to bewilder audiences long enough so that they sit through your used tampon of a ‘film’ with the hopes that epicness is just around the corner.
  8. Key factor – DO NOT DELIVER EPICNESS.
  9. Make tonnes of money at the expense of your viewers as you are a filthy cunt that couldn’t give a damn about integrity or passion for original source material.
  10. Congratulate yourself as you have released another shitty adaptation in traditional Hollywood style.  Proceed to snort coke, have unprotected sex with $2 whores and die of AIDS.

…The main problem with this film is pacing, or lack thereof…

What made matters worse is that prior to watching Clash of the Titans, I had just completed all three God of War games on PS3 and I must say that after having my mind blown thrice (specially with God of War 3) Clash of the Titans seemed very tame, especially after Kratos violently beat Perseus to death in GOW2, making it kind of difficult to root for a dead loser in Clash of the Titans.  With poor character development (or lack thereof more accurately), choppy action sequences and plot holes the size of the moon, I found this film to be horribly generic and a complete waste of time really.  Not even Liam Neeson (Zeus) could save this steaming heap of dung as Clash of the Titans begins too fast and ends too quickly with one tired action flick cliché after the next. My advice, avoid at all costs though if you must watch it, rather wait for the DVD release.

AVATAR

Info:

Genre:  Science-fiction, adventure

Director/s:  James Cameron

Writer/s:  James Cameron

Running Time:  161 mins

Budget:  $237 million

Released:  18 December 2009 (South Africa)

Plot:

A paraplegic marine dispatched to the planet Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home – imdb

Review:

After almost twelve years, James Cameron has finally returned to the cinematic scene (I’m excluding the various documentaries that he has directed after Titanic was released way back in 1997) with the much-anticipated film; Avatar.

I must confess that up until this year I had no knowledge of his latest cinematic entry only having seen a teaser trailer a couple months back.  James Cameron has got to be one of the most prestigious film directors of all time, with industry-defining films such as Terminator 2, a film that used never-before-seen CGI technologies to bring the awesome shape shifting T-1000 to life.  Terminator 2 also proved that CGI represented the future of film, as well as convincing Steven Spielberg to employ CGI in his 1993 film Jurassic Park instead of the go-motion technique he had previously intended on using.

The one thing I really try to avoid is hype because the film invariably falls short of the mark and your impossibly high expectations are met with disappointment as the film fails to match up to what the majority of people are saying, with the exception of 2008’s Dark Knight, a film that far exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds.  To paraphrase a good friend of mine – you can’t be disappointed if you don’t have expectations.

So after reading the myriad of write-ups on Avatar, I walked in the cinema with high expectations, only to leave feeling somewhat disappointed, people have made it sound like Cameron has released the cure for cancer or something, while it is a good film, it isn’t the genre-defining masterpiece that all the critics are saying it is.

The CGI character models are incredible, with movements and facial mannerisms indistinguishable from their real world counterparts.

Let’s get the most obvious aspect of the film out-of-the-way first – the visuals.  The CGI in Avatar is breathtaking, Cameron’s lush Earth-like moon, Pandora is a sight to behold, filled with bizarre creatures, lush forests and painstaking attention to detail.  Avatar has some of the best CGI I’ve ever seen, everything looks fantastic, from the forests and animals to the war machines of the humans.  The Na’vi, 9 foot tall humanoid aliens with bioluminescent blue skin, consist of some of the best CGI ever, with movement and facial expressionism indistinguishable from their live-action counterparts, I can see that a lot of time and effort was spent in making the Na’vi realistic and believable and the same goes for the rest of the creatures that occupy Pandora.  The other thing about this film is the epic scope, the myriad of wide-angle shots are quite awe-inspiring and it takes a lot of processing to fully take in the beauty of it all.  It’s reached the point where the CGI looks more gorgeous than reality, with environments consisting of impossible beauty.  However, calling Avatar ‘the movie to end all movies’ is nothing but baseless trash.  Already the media are saying that there are two types of films, referred to as ‘Before Avatar & After Avatar – or simply BA and AA.  The aforementioned statements are quite ridiculous.  With Avatar, James Cameron wanted to break the ‘Matrix-mould’ of science-fiction cinema with a film that could redefine the genre but I really don’t see how that’s possible, Avatar doesn’t bring anything new to the table, nothing that future films will be able to take from, unlike The Matrix whose bullet-time special effects redefined modern cinema for the last decade and continue to do so to this very day.  The Matrix is the film to end all films, not Avatar.  Which leads me to my next point – the plot.

The film is populated with all kinds of futuristic hardware ranging from aircraft to mecha.

It’s the year 2154 and a human corporation has set up a mining operation on an alien moon named Pandora in order to obtain a precious resource called unobtanium, which is worth $20 million per kilogram. Unfortunately, Pandora is what the Warhammer 40k universe would refer to as a Death World, Pandora is pretty much uninhabitable as the air isn’t breathable to humans and almost every resident of the moon is lethal and so the human corporation employ the services of a private security force consisting of former marines and soldiers (emphasis on former – I’ll come back to this point) to safeguard the site that they occupy from the many hostilities including the Na’vi.  The Na’vi live in the Hometree, a place which predictably contains the richest concentration of unobtanium, which the humans obviously intend on harvesting.  The Na’vi are a rural Native Indian/African tribe-like race that the humans view as primitive and worthless.

Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) creates the Avatar program which allows a human being to control a Na’vi-human hybrid while their own body ‘sleeps’, it is used to integrate and interact with the Na’vi tribe.  The human protagonist; Jake Sully, an ex-marine (Sam Worthington) who is crippled from the waist down is assigned to the Avatar program when his twin brother is killed, Jake is chosen as he is compatible with his brother’s Avatar.  At the same time Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), a hardened ex-marine makes a deal with Jake promising to restore the use of his legs if he gains the trust of the Na’vi and learns their secrets.  As Jake stumbles into the Na’vi tribe, he meets a female Na’vi named Neytiri (Zoë Saldaña) and begins to question himself as well as where his loyalties lie as he gets pulled into the wondrous world of the Na’vi.  Sure enough the love story angle comes into play, it’s one of the predictable plot devices used in the film which makes me wonder why everyone is saying the storyline is so original.  If you strip away the flashy visuals, you’re left with a movie about industrious humans invading a foreign land with the protagonist falling in love with a native girl and eventually turning on his own people, much like The New World or Pocahontas.  Now one could argue that The Matrix (I’m aware that I keep referring back to the film but The Matrix is the finest example of genre-defining cinema) would be nothing without its effects but beneath the effects-heavy exterior, the Wachowski Brothers had created an original, intriguing and thought-provoking story unlike Cameron who had basically taken Pocahontas and retrofitted it with a sci-fi overlay.  And in case you were wondering, Avatar is not the most expensive film ever made, Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End still holds that title at around $300 million.

Sam Worthington stars as the human protagonist Jake Sully, pictured behind him is his avatar in stasis.

Now I’m going to address some of the major criticisms of Avatar;

Why don’t the marines just nuke the Na’vi, or use orbital bombardment on the Hometree?

At first I wondered the same until it dawned on me that the human defenders weren’t an army, they’re a military-like security force (albeit an extremely bad-ass one) put in place to safeguard the mining operation.  Just like any normal security force they do not have the authority to possess or even use nuclear weapons or orbital cannons.

Avatar is a racist film about a white man desperately trying to lose his identity.

Why, why, why are people so stupid?? I’m so sick and tired of people trying to find any sort of excuse to cause a controversy. Yes the four main Na’vi are voiced by African-Americans and yes, the humans are voiced by Caucasians, but who gives a shit? The best-suited actors are chosen for specific roles, not because of race and as for Jake Sully trying to lose his identity, who the fuck comes up with such garbage, why not just watch the film and enjoy it for what it is? Jake goes through a transition as he gets pulled deeper and deeper into the Na’vi world eventually preferring their way of live over the destructive, industrialist human existence, which is an accurate representation of human beings and proof of that exists all around us.

To conclude, Avatar is a good, well-rounded film, I just feel that it isn’t the genre defining, cinematic messiah that everyone has said it is.  If you’re watching it for the visuals you won’t be disappointed, as I stated before Avatar is a beautiful looking film.  However, if you watch this film expecting some intricately constructed storyline with twists and turns you will be disappointed.  Avatar is just a rehash of an older tale that we’ve all seen before and in my opinion the Wachowski brothers’ cyberpunk trilogy is still the greatest example of science-fiction cinema.

Avatar – Wallpapers

Resolution – 1280 x 1024

Here are 9 wallpapers from James Cameron’s record-breaking film, Avatar.  I will be posting a review on the film in a couple days or so, so you can look forward to an unbiased, no-bullshit breakdown of Cameron’s latest cinematic entry.