In preparation for 'Taken 2,' hitting theaters tomorrow, we decided to re-watch a couple of Liam Neeson's masterpieces -- 'Clash of the Titans' and 'Wrath of the Titans.' (Okay, so they're not exactly American treasures.) The first time around, we were incredibly impressed with Neeson's stamina and willingness to take on two roles, (Zeus and Hades) but then the second time through took all that reverence away when we realized the actor and his co-star Ralph Fiennes were not the same person.
Wrath of the Titans
Would it be lazy to open this edition of the Weekend Box Office Report with some kind of joke about the wily huntress Katniss Everdeen besting the mighty demigod Perseus in a battle to the death? Possibly. Probably. Still, the numbers don't lie: 'The Hunger Games' made $61 million dollars over the weekend, bringing its two week total to just over $250 million. That sophomore week gross is almost identical to what 'Clash of the Titans' debuted to back in 2010, making 'Wrath of the Titans'' $34 million opening look all the more embarrassing.
"Years ago when you went to a movie house you'd see a cartoon, a B picture, newsreels and an A picture. Then you'd take your girl dancing." - something my Grandfather probably said to me when I was playing Atari.
Since double-feature programming is rare these days, not everyone knows the true meaning of what a "B picture" is. Its original connotation was similar to a 45's B-side. (Tune in next week to find out what a 45 is.) Still, we all know a B-picture when we see one – Liam Neeson with a Moses-length white beard mumbling "My son! My son!" is a pretty strong indicator.
'Wrath of the Titans,' the sequel nobody asked for to a movie nobody liked, is straightforward in its B-ingness. It's short (99 minutes, compared to 'John Carter's' 132), its video game-like structure has clearly defined goals and bossfights and, in case you forget anyone's name, everyone holds a character-specific talisman of some sort (except Rosamund Pike's Queen Andromeda, unless you count a double x chromosome). But is it any good?
It's fair to say that the sequel 'Wrath of the Titans' looks like it improves on the remake of 'Clash of the Titans.' Because they never made a sequel to Ray Harryhausen's much beloved 1980's original, this one at least has a cleaner playing field. To help whet appetites, they've released a featurette for Jonathan Liebesman's fantasy epic.