So let me get Wrath of the Titans (2012) straight. This is about Perseus (Sam Worthington). He’s the one proudly parading in a skirt as opposed to Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) who’s the warrior Princess sporting the full-dress armour you would expect on the battlefield. It seems rather insulting to the LGBT community that men in films can confidently walk around wearing a mini (what did these ancient Greeks wear underneath their skirts?) with their swords in an erect position, whereas modern men seen in public, with or without swords, run the risk of assault and arrest (which in some countries will be the police assaulting the man in the skirt). Except in Greece itself, of course. The modern Greek army, following in the noble tradition of the Scottish regiments with their kilts (and, if we’re to believe the myths, nothing underneath) continues to celebrate heroes like Perseus when turning their soldiers out for guard duty (see below). It brings in much needed tourist revenue during this time of austerity as homophobic men from around the world come to view one of the few national armies retaining gender neutral uniforms, albeit with a female bias — will you just look at those shoes with the bobbles. Having repealed “Don’t ask, don’t tell”, President Obama will no doubt be introducing comparable uniforms to further enhance the morale of US troops, should he win the next election, of course. Anyway, the reason for this fixation with skirts is the way the CGI plays with them in this film. For example, if Perseus were to jump feet-first from a height, you would expect the force of the air whipping past his ankles to wrap the skirt around his waist, thus exposing him to criticism from the film censors. Except, no matter what our hero is doing, the skirt never outrages his modesty (see the poster above).
I begin in this way because the film itself is set at a comparable level of idiocy — on the poster, note how the hero avoids using the forked end to attack the beastie — one spike good, three spikes bad. It all starts with the polyglot approach to dialogue. In the good old days of Hollywood, there were voice coaches who would train everyone involved to approximate the same mid-Western accent. So here comes Sam Worthington with his native Australian, Rosamund Pike and Ralph Fiennes with their cut-glass English, Liam Neeson reverting to type with his Northern Irish brogue and, most hilariously of all, Bill Nighy approximating the Galápagos Islands which are just north of Huddersfield if you approach via Surrey. Ares (Édgar Ramírez), of course, is from Venezuela so he can speak with a funny accent without trying and then there’s Toby Kebbell who wins the prize for the most anonymous accent — it’s the beard that filters out the phonemes as they leave his lips.
As you will gather, Slight Disagreement Between the Gods is all about men in skirts being given silly things to do while pretending to live in the Tower of Babel. The next big truth about this epic is that all but one of the men has Daddy Issues, a term coined by Sigmund Freud to describe sons who would prefer their fathers to be elsewhere. So Helius (John Bell) is annoyed by his father Perseus who won’t let him play with his sword. Perseus is upset with his father, Zeus, because he resents having to save the world whenever Zeus messes things up. Zeus, Hades and Poseidon are upset with Cronus, their father, because he never made time for them when they were baby Gods — just to be sure you understand, Cronus was the Titan lacking in parenting skills, while Chronos was an earlier God of Time. Ares as the God of War just wants to fight with everyone including Zeus his father. Only Cronus has no Daddy Issues because he’s a product of CGI. And talking of the CGI, we get to see Cerberus, a few cyclops, some randomly thrown together nasties with lots of arms and legs, all holding swords, and the horse with wings. When he finally appears, Cronus looks like a grown-up version of Lavagirl without Sharkboy around to liven up the party. He makes all those slow-motion moves much beloved by overweight professional wrestlers who want to look silly when faster-moving, good-looking heroes stop pretending to be hurt and close in for the knockout.
I think the moment I began to feel really ill was when the pride of the ancient Greek army did that everyone-make-ape-noises-together thing that’s supposed to show group solidarity as Perseus had his Pegasus moment wheeling in the sky (the US Marine Corp apparently use the verb to “oorah” as opposed to the “hip, hip, hooray” more commonly used by the British when they want to make a sarcastic comment). If this had been part of a more general attempt to make the film amusing, I would have accepted it as one failed joke. But I think this was intended, somehow, to be serious. So there you have it, Sam Worthington, Toby Kebbell and Rosamund Pike travel to an island that doesn’t exist, go through the labyrinth where the Minotaur makes a cameo appearance, and enjoy a package tour round the Underworld where nothing stays the same until you get to the missing Daddy and the red hot Titan in the soft centre. Wrath of the Titans is completely without humour, interminably boring, and lacking anything approximating intelligence. Even the Gods die in despair — obviously, there’s no convenient Heaven for them to adjourn to when they shuffle off this immortal coil. I suppose this means it’s a blockbuster, but my money says it will sink without trace at the box office once the word-of-mouth spreads.