Greek meh-thology

It’s always a little awkward when one guy goes to high five and the other guy goes to bump.

It’s always a little awkward when one guy goes to high five and the other guy goes to bump.

Rated 2.0

Bad beards, an especially drab actor, and a whole lot of messed-up Greek mythology nonsense make their return in Wrath of the Titans, a bad film that is, nonetheless, a marked improvement over 2010’s inexcusable Clash of the Titans.

There are enjoyable, even exciting stretches in this film where the action and pyrotechnics overwhelm the fact that the film is anchored with the dullard that is Sam Worthington. As Perseus, a son of Zeus aspiring to be nothing but a human fisherman with awesome flip-hair, he registers zero on the charisma meter. Being that he’s onscreen more than anybody in these Titan pics, it’s a little hard to endorse them.

The plot this time out involves Zeus (Liam Neeson, sporting what will surely be one of this year’s worst fake beard/wig combos) showing up at the fishing village where Perseus is raising his son. Zeus tells Perseus that shit is about to get real. The kingdom of Hell—or whatever the hell they call it in Greek mythology—is going to swarm over the Earth and make it really hard to enjoy a family picnic or bowling expedition.

Zeus wants Perseus to assist him in defeating his own messed-up dad, who is looking to vanquish the gods, and brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes), but Perseus is all like, “F you dad! You sucked as a father, you never got me the G.I. Joe I wanted, and your beard looks fake and stupid! You totally suck!”

So Zeus skulks off, winds up getting captured with his equally somber and ridiculous-looking other brother, Poseidon (Danny Huston), and the last roadblock between the kingdom of Hell—or whatever the hell they call it—and humanity is taken out of play.

Will Perseus get on the flying horse thing and save humanity? Will Andromeda, now played by the oh-so-beautiful Rosamund Pike, get naked, or at least strip down to something frighteningly suggestive? (No!) Will Perseus’s son stop acting like such a whiny bitch and join his father in a fight against the rulers of Hell, or whatever the hell they call it?

Who cares, really? Worthington is such a bore that his wooden line readings nuke anything cool in the film. He’s the antithesis of fun.

There is some coolness to be had with the dreary line readings. Director Jonathan Liebesman (maker of the execrable Battle Los Angeles) and his effects team come up with some fun creations. I liked the Cyclops family (although it took me a while to figure out there was more than one). They looked strange in a good way, although the same can’t be said for a lame Minotaur with whom Perseus battles. It totally lacks imagination.

There are some nice volcanic blasts, with monster type things spinning out of the debris and wreaking havoc. The best effect of them all involves Kronos, father of all the gods, waking up in the underworld. He’s all rock and molten lava, and while he’s not a fully realized special effect and a little rough around the edges, I still dug him.

The poor excuse for 3-D that butchered Clash of the Titans remains some of the worst I’ve ever seen. This time out, the 3-D is looking a little better. At least Liebesman shot the film knowing it was going to be 3-D, rather than deciding on a last-minute conversion. The 3-D here is still post-converted, but they knew that it would be going in, so the shot angles are done with 3-D in mind.

As for the supporting cast, Pike is OK as Andromeda, replacing Alexa Davalos from the original. Bill Nighy, as weapons-forger Hephaestus, acts as if he thinks he’s still playing Davy Jones (lots of popping “p”s). Faring best would be Toby Kebbell as Agenor, son of Poseidon. Kebbell seems to be the only one on hand with a real sense of humor and camp.

I will say I enjoyed this a little more than The Hunger Games. Wrath of the Titans has some pretty decent explosions and a couple of neat creatures. All I really remember from The Hunger Games is Stanley Tucci’s stupid teeth.