Even in this age of long-form online reviews, there's not enough space to talk about some movies.
Wrath of the Titans springs to mind. Probably because that's the last movie I saw. And it's the one that inspired this line of thought, which is the first and last time "inspired" will appear in a discussion of it. I'm writing this after the body of the review, and I'm disappointed that I didn't get to cover several other things the movie got wrong, like the ridiculous romance shoehorned into the very end.
So give me a moment here to complain about the thing I just complained about. Wait, mission accomplished.
Wait again, one more complaint: the gods' powers are totally arbitrary, too. Ah, I feel much better. And now, here is much more complaining about the unnecessary and unimaginative sequel Wrath of the Titans.
As the gods' power weakens, so does the prison they built around Tartarus, home of ancient demons and Kronos -- the vengeful titan who's father to all the gods. Liam Neeson (as Zeus) comes to Sam Worthington for aid, but Worthington refuses to leave his son.
Neeson and two of his fellow gods travel to the underworld to rebuild the prison, but they are betrayed by Ralph Fiennes (Hades). Along with the god of war, he intends to sap Neeson's power and use it to release Kronos and destroy the world.
Which, of course, drags Worthington right into the action. Action that feels suspiciously like it was stolen from a video game. Granted, comparing a movie to a video game is an Old Man Complaint. It's along the lines of peeping through the bushes to make sure the neighbor's Yorkie is only peeing on its side of the bushes. Or criticizing modern dishwashers for the downfall of the American work ethic. But I'm not saying Wrath of the Titans is video gamey because of its CG. It's everything else that makes it feel like a game.
The plot is essentially a collection of plot coupons. To my understanding -- and I'm not going to look this up, because the Internet is all the way across my screen here -- plot coupons are essentially an arbitrary string of achievements, trials and artifacts the heroes must endure and acquire on the way to reach their main goal. So of course Worthington can't just go straight to Tartarus. First, he has to find the half-mortal son of Poseidon, who will lead them through various baddies to the guy who can show them the way to Tartarus, which they'll need to navigate for themselves.
Why all this meaningless convolution? Because the writers didn't have any better ideas, duh. These 90 minutes aren't going to fill themselves. And we can't make the whole thing a nonstop string of fights with a grab bag of Greek monsters. Or can we? Somebody get Michael Bay in here!
This wouldn't be such a big deal if the characters were interesting enough to fill out the journey. They're not. If their clunky dialogue is indicative how Ancient Greek was actually spoken, it's no wonder it died out. The rogue doesn't do anything roguish, but hey, he's in jail when Worthington finds him. Isn't that enough? No? Well, his eyes are kind of buggy, too. Have you ever seen a leading man with bug eyes? No. You haven't. Antz doesn't count.
At least the CG on Kronos is pretty cool, as is his lava-spewing design. Wrath of the Titans doesn't really know what to do with their planet-destroying evil, though. As far as I can remember, he doesn't have a single line. He's also the size of the mountain he emerges from. When the human army assembled is ordered to "Hold the lines!" against the angry living volcano of death, Wrath of the Titans earns its first laugh. After that, it's time to start sighing again.