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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Wrath of the Titans

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Ralph Fiennes stars in a scene from the movie "Wrath of the Titans."
Nothing less than the fate of the universe, so we're assured, is at stake in the mythological sequel "Wrath of the Titans" (Warner Bros.). Who would have guessed that an Olympian-scale near-apocalypse could prove such a bore?

Director Jonathan Liebesman's stilted 3-D follow-up to 2010's "Clash of the Titans" — itself a remake of the 1981 cult hit of the same title — centers, like its predecessor, on the conflicted demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington). Retired from the Kraken-killing biz and recently widowed, Perseus asks nothing more than to be allowed to ignore his semi-divinity and instead pursue a quiet life among mortals as a hardworking fisherman and devoted dad to his young son Helius (John Bell).

But that, of course, is not to be: Destiny and a massive special-effects budget dictate otherwise.

So Perseus' pa Zeus (Liam Neeson) comes calling. He's out to enlist the hardy lad's help in an impending cosmic war that will ultimately pit the King of the Gods against Perseus' Uncle Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and half-brother Ares (Edgar Ramirez).

Despite his daddy issues, a sweat-soaked nightmare convinces Perseus to go along with the plan. His allies in the struggle eventually include earthly warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon's shifty son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) and the exiled smithy to the gods, Hephaestus (Bill Nighy).

Boulders fly and monsters die along the path of Perseus' quest. But the effects- and action-driven proceedings are all spectacle and no substance.

The pagan theologizing to which some of the pompous dialogue is devoted, moreover, may confuse the impressionable.

Thus we learn that the gods depend on the prayers of their human devotees for strength. Since people have become indifferent to them, Zeus et al. are not only unable to hold back the evil Titans they long ago imprisoned, they themselves are in very real danger of death. And, unlike human beings who have a place to go once they shuffle off this mortal coil, for a god, it seems, death means oblivion.

Adults, of course, will have no difficulty in dismissing the above, along with many of the other tedious ins and outs of Perseus' world. Given that most of the violence on view is restrained, and the language problems in Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson's script minimal, "Wrath of the Titans" is also possibly acceptable for older teens, at least those who have been well catechized.

The film contains pagan religious themes; constant, occasionally bloody, action violence; at least one mildly sexual joke; and a single crass term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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