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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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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire, therefore, of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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