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Wrath of the Titans: Bland Action Sequel
Hades (Fiennes) and Ares (Ramirez) have conspired to kidnap Zeus (Neeson) and use his power to break Kronos, king of the titans and father of Hades, Zeus and Poseidon (Huston), out of Tartarus, where his three sons had imprisoned him after they overthrew him. Only Perseus (Worthington), Zeus’ demigod son, can avert this calamity and save the world. Accompanied by Queen Andromeda (Pike) and Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Kebbell), the trio try to find a way to free Zeus from the underworld so he can help them in the fight against Kronos.
The film’s plot fulfils only one purpose: to connect the various fights and battle scenes together. Seriously, don’t question anything or you’ll uncover a ton of gaping plot holes. And while these fights are initially pretty cool, after Perseus has fought a chimera, Cyclops and a Minotaur, you start to get kind of bored and then there are still battles with Hades and Ares and Kronos to sit through. And while the fights /mythical creatures look good, there’s nothing particularly exceptional about them that’ll hold your attention for the entire film.
The film looks blandly pretty in a sand-strewn kind of way. Everything looks good but nothing stands out or grabs your attention. These swords and sandals flicks are a dime a dozen and after last year’s Immortals, the bar has been raised tremendously on eye popping visuals. Unoriginality seems to be a common thread here because the 3D is absolutely wasted. It’s mainly used only to chuck a bunch of rocks at the audience. There are some scenes that are pretty eye popping though. Perseus, Andromeda and Agenor trying to navigate their way through a labyrinth to get to Kronos comes to mind. The labyrinth’s walls shift, tilt and rearrange themselves while the trio try to get through it before they’re squeezed to a bloody pulp or tossed off the edge.
The most surprising thing about the film is how it’s filled with heavyweight actors who are barely recognisable. Both Fiennes and Nighy were unrecognisable under their costumes and wigs. But the problem wasn’t just in their appearance. These two actors who are usually pretty electric just weren’t even trying. And it wasn’t just them either. Worthington continues his quest to blend into the background of every film he’s in and Neeson sleepwalks through his dignified, wise man shtick.
Wrath of the Titans can be summed up in three words: beige, bland, and forgettable.
Produced in Spanish and dubbed in English, there is plenty to like about this space-bound animated adventure, which, although, not exactly groundbreaking in terms of story or technical achievements, it still has enough charm and will to keep its intended audience target engaged and entertained.
The story is centred on Mike Goldwing (Calvell); an inquisitive and a spirited twelve-year-old boy who comes from two generations of NASA astronauts, his astronaut-in-training father, Scott (Mora) and Grandpa Frank (Garcia), a legendary astronaut known for mysteriously walking away from the Apollo XI mission years ago.
See, Frank – a man who prefers to live a life of solitude - has never fully explained why he left the mission; something that created a significant rift between him and the rest of his family.
So, when billionaire and oil tycoon, Richard Carson (Rovira), announces that the moon landing was faked – cue the not-so-subtle nod towards Stanley Kubrick – and that he plans to claim the ‘land’ for himself by launching his own privately funded mission, NASA is quick to react by nstigating a relaunch of the Apollo space program andthe help of veteran astronauts – including Frank himself – is soon called upon.
However, after a sly move from team Carson, the Apollo XI is accidentally launched into space with a few uninvited guests, including Frank, Mike, his best-friend Amy (Jenner) and Igor the lizard (voiced by Tarrago).
Written by a legion of writers and directed by Enrique Gato, the story is relatively appealing and while the screenplay – targeted strictly to anyone under twelve years of age - has its flaws, the director is able to sustain enough control to keep things moving on a refreshingly high beat throughout the minutes.
In terms of visuals, Capture the Flag is no Inside Out or Up – expecting the same kind of ingenuity will only result in disappointment. However, even though the technical limitations could pose a problem to some, in the end, they won’t really matter to those who the movie is trying to reach out to.
The voice-over is decent and the dialogue, as well as the characters speaking it, are fittingly drawn up for the targeted audience, with an additional fun fact or two about the Apollo mission thrown in for good measure.
With enough power to reach out to the little kiddies in the crowd and even to a handful of adults who will appreciate its first-man-on-the-moon-conspiracy-theory storytelling efforts, Capture the Flag is uncomplicated and engaging and although not entirely memorable.
In 1820, an American whaling ship called Essex sank in the Pacific Ocean after being attacked by a sperm whale – an incident that went on to inspire Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece, Moby Dick, as well as being retold by Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 non-fiction book, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, which in turn has found its way into the hands of Ron Howard. Unfortunately, despite what the dramatic trailers suggest, this surprisingly sluggish Hollywood adaptation fails to channel or transcend the spirit of its source material.
The year is 1820 and eager whaler, Owen Chase (Hemsworth), is excited to finally get the chance to command the Essex. However, his dreams are soon crushed when he learns that the position has gone to the more experienced Captain George Pollard Jr. (Walker).
Though disappointed, Chase soon makes peace with the decision and the ship soon sets sail out into the open sea in search of a large supply of whale oil. Failing to get into the rhythm of things, the crew soon finds themselves fighting, not only against each other, but also against the unforgiving storms. After encountering – and slaughtering – a pod of sperm whales, the crew still will need to get their hands on much bigger prey if they are to profit – a mission which soon finds them in the middle of the open sea, facing off against a giant whale which refuses to go away without a fight.
One of the most disappointing aspects of watching In the Heart of the Sea unfold on screen is how immaterial it all feels and how very little magic or depth is injected into its storyline, which too often leans on the disaster movie elements.
Adapted to the screen by Charles Leavitt, the story – part adventure, part survival – is told mainly through flashbacks via one Thomas Nickerson (Gleeson); the sole survivor who was just a fourteen-year-old cabin boy back then (played by Tom Holland). On the special effects front, Howard and co. don’t disappoint, but even so, there’s a lack of heart in the plot that derails what should have been an engaging tale of survival.
Given the magnitude of the source material, the performances are surprisingly bland. Hemsworth is a decent choice – good-looking and stoic – however, he, just like the film itself, fails to distinguish himself as the main character. Exciting at times, but seemingly overly ambitious on others, it’s not a complete waste of time, but it’s hard not to expect more from such rich material in the hands of a filmmaker like Ron Howard.