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Wrath of the Titans
Genre Fantasy
 
Review:

Clash of the Titans was disappointing. The action-adventure relied too heavily on visual effects, offering a tired video game script, wooden performances and substandard post-production 3D in the face of much anticipation. Yet as tarnished as it was, the blockbuster made enough money at the box office to warrant a sequel. Greek mythology is getting the Hollywood treatment with competition from another Greek hero franchise in Immortals, making it only a matter of time before Wrath of the Titans was unleashed upon us mere mortals.

As with most blockbuster sequels, the acting reserve has swelled, taking original cast members Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, and adding: Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Toby Kebbell, Edgar Ramirez and Danny Huston to the lot. South African director, Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles), commands from the front and adds some much-needed balance to the production that was missing from Clash of the Titans.

Wrath of the Titans has done its homework. Sam Worthington's performance has more depth, they've closed in on the bearded Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes and added ice queen goddess, the s beautiful Rosamund Pike for a different sort of eye candy. Bill Nighy's performance exemplifies the focus on entertainment value amid more light-hearted moments with some welcome jest, which is echoed by Toby Kebbell. While Edgar Ramirez and Danny Huston add more credibility and firepower to an already solid cast.

Other improvements over the first installation, include an upscale in the proportions of this adventure. The film was always going to be laden with visual effects, but uses them to create an epic feel to the surroundings. Mortal man and mythological beings are set apart, from several forest cyclops and massive statues to the impending battle with Chronos, the film-makers have created an awe-inspiring God-view for audiences to engage with the sheer size of the visual artistry. This didn't translate as well in Clash of the Titans.

There's even an element of Indiana Jones in the ancient tombs, labyrintgs and puzzles for our heroes to conquer. Each challenge adds more urgency to their quest as the sands of time run out. The time constraint is quite fitting considering Chronos is the being behind all the peril as Aries and Hades hold Zeus captive in a revenge plot. The escapade into the underworld could have been darker, but that would have taken away from the upbeat tone, which is reminiscent of The Mummy action-adventure fantasy series.

The visuals do most of the storytelling as this comic book style quest reaches its climax and there are one or two moments of levity to break the onslaught of perpetual heroism. Yet, screenwriters Dan Mazeau and David Johnson offer just the right amount of dialogue and story to propel their characters from one action sequence to another. At times, the story seems a little choppy, as if it's trying to be more intricate than it really is... but there's enough mythological content to chew on.

Liebesman's experience in directing Battle: Los Angeles and other special effects films marries the CGI and live-action. While CGI-heavy, there's a good balance of real and unreal, keeping one foot on the ground with real interaction between the characters, their environments and enemies. The gods are treated like wizards, distinguishing themselves from humans by their use of magic, and it would have been great to see some of the gods using their power to shape-shift or distance themselves with size.

Wrath of the Titans is a good follow-up to Clash of the Titans, taking the best of the first adventure and blending it with strands from other influential action-adventures like Indiana Jones, and fantasies like Lord of the Rings and The Mummy. The end result is an all-out entertainment extravaganza pumped up on testosterone, fueled by imaginative Greek mythology and designed for maximum popcorn blockbuster enjoyment.

The bottom line: Enthralling

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