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Wrath of the Titans

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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Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.

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