Wrath of the Titans

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✠ It was in 2010 that my favourite movie based on Greek mythology released, in the form of Clash of the Titans – but I have to admit that I haven’t watched many movies based on that mythology. The 2011 version, Immortals was strictly okay. Even as my love for Greek mythology goes as far as my childhood with such stories easily available in a local version in the nearby library, the love was extended to something better in the first half of the 2000s with that city building game called Zeus: Master of Olympus. Despite the similar games Pharaoh and Caesar III, this was the game which stole my time, and the fact that it was based on the mythology helped, just like in the case of Age of Mythology. Wrath of the Titans is that sequel which falls somewhat behind from its predecessor, and has not many things to boast about. Otherwise, it could have come up with an extraordinary box-office performance, that is for sure.

Count Dracula: You had to watch that? I heard that the gods die in the movie. I couldn’t stand that after watching Immortals. They call themselves immortals and they die, isn’t it the same case with Wrath of the Titans? I guess I am the true immortal of this world, and about the other dimensions, I shall speak not.

Vampire Bat: Immortality is losing soil right from underneath its feet. The main culprit is the use or rather the abuse of vampire mythology in the works like Twilight. The ridiculous glorification of immortality has lead to at least some people having a certain feeling against it, and it seems that Immortals and Wrath of the Titans have tried to hold onto that aversion towards immortality by killing those gods who were supposed to be immortals. Now the gods die and random pale teenagers with bad teeth lives forever with strange pacts, ideas and a love story which should qualify as the wonder blunder of the world.

Count Dracula: I am glad that you didn’t call them vampires. Yes, they are blood suckers and not vampires. They belong to a breed of mosquitoes. They are also indirectly killing not only the vampire franchise, but also many others, and the Greek mythology is also one of them. I won’t even talk about the other group walking on four legs. It is beyond hope, but still what is it in Wrath of the Titans?

Vampire Bat: This movie’s incidents happen many years after the events of the first movie, as the gods keeping on losing power and they almost lose control over the imprisoned Titans until Ares and Hades turns against the other gods and make the process complete. Zeus is captured and kept a prisoner as Kronos slowly awakes and Poseidon dies. The other gods are not even in the fight, as Hephaestus is the only one who is there to show himself. If you are looking for gods, you better play the game Zeus: Master of Olympus.

Count Dracula: I have never seen that horrible gods as those in Immortals. In that movie, when it was known that Luke Evans was Zeus, I thought that he was just a crazy guy who lived in one of those caves. I would rather not see them if I have to witness them like that. I would still miss Aphrodite though. They could have also had Athena and Artemis, as the only divine creature I liked in Immortals was Isabel Lucas’ Athena. I wondered how it would have been if Freida Pinto played an immortal.

Vampire Bat: We don’t even get to see Gemma Arterton, as her character is declared dead. Alexa Davalos is also missing, as Rosamund Pike becomes Andromeda, something which doesn’t seem to fit as a whole. Sienna Miller or Rachel Nichols might have been a better choice as this time the lady is more of a warrior princess rather than the damsel in distress. My imagination of Andromeda is completely destroyed by this movie.

Count Dracula: Well, if you consider the destruction of the images in my mind caused by Immortals, there will be too long a list. They are all trying to deviate from the mythology that we have read. Even Percy Jackson was closer to mythology than the so called mythological movies. Why would you even watch a movie based on mythology after such a setback?

Vampire Bat: The special effects are excellent, and what it misses out on the story, it tries to make up with the graphics and the action sequences. May be some of our literature postgraduates can come up with a better story than this one which has quite a useless Zeus and Poseidon, a more wasted Hephaestus and a strange Ares along with a Hades with clear psychological problems making it almost impossible for him to do the right thing or even the wrong thing. Perseus and Andromeda doesn’t even seem to belong to the world. It is still that visual extravaganza that you can watch on the big screen.

Count Dracula: It has Sam Worthington as Perseus, and that should be its best advantage. One can guess that without even going near that movie. Whenever he is there, one can feel that there will be something there to look out for. I am not an Avatar fan, but if someone can save a movie with his presence even without many people of a land knowing the name of the actor, it is him.

Vampire Bat: Yes, he does save the movie just like Perseus saves the world. Rosamund Pike also does the same, not as Andromeda, but more as a warrior princess or a fighter queen who has come to aid whoever tries to save humanity. Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson are given what might be their worst characters ever, and why would they need these two to play those characters is so strange. May be as the characters are like that, these two were needed to make it any good. This is such a shame that monsters of this movie saves the day for the viewers while the gods ruin the same – the exact opposite of what happens in the movie.

Count Dracula: I would rather like the movie for being what might be the last movie based on Greek mythology for a very long time. Everyone needs a dose of Greek mythology, not considering Percy Jackson which is a different take. The love for monsters is a thing of this age. This is an age of no faith, and people tend to like monsters more than gods and pretend that they don’t believe in both. Trust me when I say this from my experience – it is not in human nature to be good, and without civilization, they are nothing. It is the beliefs and the faith in God that keeps them good, and the bad are only those who deviate from faith.

Vampire Bat: I agree, as there is no pillar for faith in this age. I have to struggle with my set of beliefs very often because there is always an attempt to brainwash people into believing that there is no God, and there is no evil. People are denied the chance to live in faith, and we are glad to be part of a nation which has more faith in the supreme power than any other. The weakening of the gods with the loss of faith of humans is a parallel to the recession and the financial problems which Europe and America have faced due to the loss of faith, and the nations with faith are improving. Without faith, you are nothing – even Zeus was nothing.

Count Dracula: Exactly my thoughts. I am a man who has seen almost all wars which you have studied about. None of those wars were actually religious wars. There were just people who lost faith in God and went for material achievements. They never conquered anything for God. They did it for themselves and to enjoy their life on Earth. I have seen into their mind and they had only “Carpe Diem” in their mind. Most of them didn’t really believe in me, and it is such a shame. I lose my confidence when they loss faith in me. Then I can only transform into a little toothless black cat!

Vampire Bat: That comparison is one of those things which I could find. Hades is more like the devil, feeding from the fears of man, but he is also that fallen angel whom Milton told us about. We would love to see such a movie being made based on Paradise Lost, and the fact that the Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of Lucifer will no longer happen is such a shame. The movie could have taken the movie experience to greater heights, something which Noah might succeed in a limited manner. But nothing like angels and demons fighting a war and their leader delivering those speeches. Not even Kraken, Chimera, Cyclops, Minotaur and Kronos together could have stood a chance.

Count Dracula: They can rather develop an original mythology based on my life. Yes, I have fought my battles and my tale has one of the best stories ever, which can be developed into a mythology. I know you would still rate this high enough, and I might also do the same, even with that knowledge that this is an unwanted sequel.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it shall get a 70/100 for its special effects, 3D, the leading actor, use of whatever mythology they can, the action sequences, the monsters and bringing a different idea on gods and ending the franchise for good. That will be good?

Count Dracula: Yes, I think it is. Well, it is time for me to go to the Goblin Market and sharpen my fangs. Good bye, my brother in fangs.

Vampire Bat (to himself): Wrath of the Titans is a lot like its predecessor and it has only a few new things. If this movie was the first of the franchise, the whole thing could have been better, and as a stand-alone version, this scores better. There is a lot of monster stuff for the fans of Greek mythology stories, but that hasn’t really helped, and that much we can easily figure out from the way the responses have been.

Wrath of the Titans will not improve your impression about movies based on mythology, and it won’t make you better with greater knowledge of Greek mythology. Don’t consider it your spark-notes, but watch it for the visual treat that it has to offer with special effects and action sequences. Also, look out for the labyrinth. Lets hope for Hercules: The Thracian Wars to be great, even as it is more of a comic based adventure rather than having a strong base in Greek mythology. We might need a lot more than just a random mythological story to come up with a perfect demigod story. There is the need for a lot more, and the lack of popularity of Wrath of the Titans is no real surprise. For now, we can adjust with this movie, and compared to Immortals, this is a much better choice, and scores as being among the best of its kind (mostly due to not many movies of the kind being released).

Release date: 30th March 2012
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Édgar Ramírez, Toby Kebbell, Danny Huston

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Olympus Has Fallen

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There are a few characters we find difficult to forget. One of them might be that NYPD detective John McClane makes more than just an impact in a Los Angeles skyscraper. It was Die Hard and spanned four sequels, the last one being the most critically panned edition. The first of the series was one of those movies which ruled my childhood, and what Olympus Has Fallen managed to do is to remind me of that one. It is not really a bad thing, as Die Hard never really had a deserving sequel, and this one could have been the closest to being the same. There are terrorists of different nationalities, the setting and the type of building vary by a heavy margin and both the hostages and the redeemer are different, other than that, there might seem a similarity in style and the attitude of the hero in both these movies. With the support of the new technology and the experience gained by the new age movie makers, this one has almost become a worthy successor, not just by the skills, but also by divine providence. This movie’s story is actually an opportunity to die hard, not just for the redeemer, but also for the terrorists – both sides have their own chances, as they have chosen to take the risk.

The name was the first thing to catch my attention. There is something “fallen”, long time after I hear that word, for the second movie of Transformers had it in the name, and so do we hear it relating to the fallen angels of the firmament. But it is not someone who has fallen this time, for it is something. Just for a moment, forgetting the fact that Mount Olympus is also the name of a mountain in the Washington state, lets go to the other Mount Olympus whom we are more familiar about, the highest mountain in Greece, hailed in Greek mythology as the dwelling place of the Twelve Olympian gods of the ancient Greek world ruled over by the most powerful God of thunder and lightning, Zeus himself. According to the writing of the legendary writer Homer, Olympus was that great and divine that it was not shaken by winds nor was wet with rain, and never did snow fall upon it. So it was said about the abode of the twelve; Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Dionysus, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus and Hermes, and here we have another Olympus, another seat of supreme power, the White House of the United States.

The hero of the story and another form of John McClane is Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), the lead Secret Service agent assigned with the United States President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) whose wife dies in an accident – an incident which Banning fails to prevent even as he manages to save the President’s life. Eighteen months later, Banning works at the Treasury Department, not separated by the scars of the incident which blinded his senses. But he is still not separated from his skills. His office is not too far away from the White House and lives a quiet life with his wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) after being demoted. Meanwhile, during a meeting between the heads of the United States and South Korea, Korean-led guerrilla forces, aided by some people from the inside itself, launch a perfectly planned air and ground attack which surprises and even shocks the defence and leads to the capture of the White House. The ease with which they achieves this rather surprising, and the deaths which occur in this assault, especially of civilians is more of a thing of terror than strangeness.

Asher and several top officials are held hostage in the White House bunker, where the South Korean prime minister is killed by the same terrorists. The attack has been lead by Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune), a wanted terrorist wishing for a reunification of Korea. He wishes to force the United States army to withdraw from Korea. He also wants to detonate all of America’s nuclear weapons in their own soil and destroy the country by turning it into a nuclear wasteland, but for this, he will need a few access codes, and in achieving this, he will go to any limit, murder being just a simple thing of no significance. Meanwhile, Banning manages to get into the White House, and begins his own mission of saving the President’s son who might be somewhere in the house and murdering the terrorists one by one before finally rescuing all the captives including the President himself. It is his miracle and his second chance given by fate on the way to redemption, his chance to become another John McClane, into which this character successfully transforms into. In the objective, he is aided by Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), the Speaker of the House and the Acting President through earphone.

Gerard Butler is at his best since his King Leonidas of 300; as he improves upon Gamer & unleashes the new action hero who is likable to most of the audience if not all of them. Mike Banning is the new John McClane, and there is no point in the movie where you can doubt it with full heart. He saves the day, and his world as well as of others, and he is alone in this job. He looks vulnerable on so many occasions, and is still strong throughout. He had his ups and downs in life and career. He has more courage and love for action than anybody else – he wishes to die hard. Radha Mitchell’s role as his wife is limited, and Morgan Freeman’s role is not that much as expected considering the posters. Rick Yune’s villains is successful without doubt, not in the mission but with the audience. Aaron Eckhart’s President works quite well. The best thing is that there is no silly romance, and even the screentime for married couple discussing future is pretty much low. There is no slowness in the movie, and even when the situation seem to calm down, there is a certain amount of thrilling factor ready to explode.

The movie can be termed as unrealistic and violent as most of the others of the same genre, but there are limits which the movie hasn’t crossed, those which have contributed to the success of this movie for the common audience. Still the dose of patriotism and CGI might be a little high. The action and the blood reminds one of more than one first person shooters of the 2000s, for I shall not speak about 2010s and what is to come later. But, this is no computer game – still, the destruction is immense, not just with the bombing and shooting, but also with the two people of fearlessness on both sides, of good and evil, of saving and destroying. There might be less memorable dialogues in this one considering what one should be expecting, but the avoidance of unnecessary dialogues also contributes to the success of this movie, for it rests on Gerard Butler’s character as what he is, rather than what he pretends to be, and what he appears to be. In that case, he is better than John McClane, even if not more interesting for the masses. The fall of the Olympus is one thing and the rise of the titan is another, and that titan in Butler as Banning, for he has to achieve what the Olympian gods couldn’t, not by fighting them or himself, but by saving his own Olympus from the common outsider enemy.

As the upcoming movie White House Down also seems to deal with the same theme of a takeover of the White House, one has to wait and see which one ends up being superior. But for now, Olympus Has Fallen keeps the title of being the movie which has taken this theme to new heights. Even as it is more of a Die Hard happening in White House, there is no point where this can be seen as a thing of lesser energy or imagination. There has been no creativity which was left in the gutters with this movie, as it had that impressive style of taking the audience by surprise, at least in this part of the world where this is to be considered as a highly under-rated and a not much screened movie. The presence of the new 3D version of Jurassic Park and G. I. Joe: Retaliation‘s hesitation to leave might be the main reasons. But as even Life of Pi hasn’t really left some of the theatres here, there is surely no surprise about. But the fact remains that it is time these movies get their due, even if they are not hyped enough and has no stars who are popular enough in this part of the world.

Release date: 22nd March 2013 (USA); 5th April 2013 (India)
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Cole Hauser, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Rick Yune

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.