Clash of the Titans was not only a disappointing movie, it was also a poor 3D-convert. Indeed seeing it at the cinema on release nearly put me off 3D entirely, and – between the film and the presentation – certainly put me off taking the time to see the sequel at the flicks, 3D or otherwise. Wrath of the Titans is also a 3D conversion but, despite this fact, it is (much like the film itself) a considerably better effort than its predecessor.
It is indeed rare that 3D conversions manage to achieve that sense of fully-rounded 3D objects and people; they may be capable of establishing distance between discrete layers, but the objects don’t feel 3D, they still feel like 2D cutouts, just set back and operating at different distances within the picture. Wrath of the Titans is far from a perfect video presentation, but it is also – rather surprisingly – one of the better converted 3D jobs, not only creating some depth for the image, but also actually achieving some fairly well-rounded elements within.
In a way this is not entirely down to the quality of the conversion work – although, obviously, they did a great job – but also due to the way in which the film was shot: i.e. very much with 3D in mind. Subtle but surprisingly important elements are taken into account and dealt with in such a way that the 3D cannot help but benefit: shadows play a huge part in bringing the 3D look to life – light splaying into dark rooms through small windows and giving you a genuine sense of depth, whilst characters’ faces have such impressive shadowing that they actually look more rounded out than they would through a normally for a conversion.
In addition the sheer volume of CG effects shots considerably benefits the 3D imaging. This has always been the case with effects-dominated features, and is probably why some of Titanic looked so impressive when converted. CG creations like the Cyclops giants and the giant Kronos monster look stunning, the latter’s lava-rock ‘body’ superbly rendered in 3D. CG landscapes too also benefit from the format, although this can be a little more hit and miss, with the initial reveal of the journey into the underworld prison showing some fantastic depth and separation, but the later exploits in the labyrinth itself using the layers to far less impressive effect.
Of course it’s not perfect – there are plenty of more gimmicky moments where rocks and debris fall towards you, and where they have very little solidity; no sense of 3D depth in and of themselves – but there are also some other standout 3D demo moments, like when they are hiding beneath the wood trying not to get seen by the Cyclops, and you can see the well-rendered CG beast through a gap in the wood, showing a very real sense of distance between the multiple objects: characters in the fore; wood in the middle; Cyclops further back; and then the trees for background in the distance.
Colours are generally rich and vibrant, and whilst the picture is obviously that fraction darker because of the side-effects of 3D, this doesn’t mean that the palette itself suffers – in particular the lava glow is wonderful, giving a real sense of ferocious heat. Skin tones are authentic and the palette is generally rendered well, up to and including the black levels which are strong, allowing for substantial shadow detail. As 3D-conversion jobs go, this is undoubtedly one of the better ones.
The accompanying DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is even more impressive, engaging and enhancing the movie experience in every respect. Seldom a quiet affair, the bombastic barrage still makes room for the dialogue, keenly priming it across the frontal array, from which it emanates clearly and coherently throughout. Effects are myriad, and allows for strong directionality and some subtle sound-stage observation, even though the highlights tend to involve having things thrown at you – from debris to lava; with thunderous titans wreaking havoc and crashing right through your living room. From the blast of fire-breath from the Chimera to the ground-pounding stomp of the Cyclops; from the head-bashing, rock-smashing charge of the Minotaur to the tectonic shift of Kronos himself – it’s a deafeningly powerful mix of elements which will grab you and engulf you in the chaos. Even the more atmospheric depiction of the depths of the underworld and Tartarus itself have a potent air of doom about them, ominous dread seeping at you through a low-ebb LFE assault. Occasionally the track lets up and allows you to hear some nuanced subtlety, with old creaking metal, Gods-turned-sand dissipating in the wind, or a moment’s quiet in the forest, prepping you before an attack – but this is still predominantly a showy hell-for-leather affair which does not disappoint in any respect. Even the score – however unmemorable it is – only adds to the entertaining adventure of it all, giving the surrounds yet more to do as they deliver what is, unquestionably, a boisterous, demo-quality experience.
As always, the 3D release comes sporting the 2D Blu-ray too, complete with all the extras that adorned it. Here we get a wealth of background Featurettes, a couple of Picture-in-Picture tracks and a few Deleted Scenes to keep fans occupied as they dip into the production of Wrath.
Maximum Movie Mode
Path of Gods is the first of two PiP options, allowing you to look into the more mythological elements that went into the film – including the Titans, Chimera, the Cyclops, and the Minotaur.
Path of Men takes a more standard route to look at the actual production itself, with behind the scenes clips investigating the set design, staging, key sequences and how they brought this fantasy world to life, all with the relevant cast and crew snippets interspersed throughout.
Focus Point Featurettes
Here we get the specific chapters from the Maximum Movie Mode tracks available to watch individually and separately from the main feature: Battling the Chimera, Agenor: The Other Demi-God, The Cyclops Fight, Prison of the Titans, Minotaur: The Human Nightmare, The Heavens Raise Hell on Earth, Who Are the Titans?, Hepaestus: God of Fire, Lost in Tartarus’s Labyrinth and Creatures of the Titans.
There’s a total of 11 minutes of extra footage, split into three partly unfinished scenes. There’s a nice sequence where Perseus tells his son their history – “if you’re a God then why are you just a fisherman?” – an unnecessary rally-the-troops bit with Andromeda and Perseus and a fantastic little moment with Zeus discovering what happened to some of the other Olypians (including his dauther Athena). Worth dipping into and, without a doubt, worth checking out the third scene.
If you’re one of the many that likely wrote off Wrath of the Titans purely because its predecessor was so lame then you may be surprised to find that this sequel is actually pretty good. It’s not going to turn any heads, and it doesn’t do anything particularly to stand out from the crowds, but it’s still an undeniably entertaining swords-and-sandals fantasy action-adventure romp, with decent enough characters and character developments; and a barrage of well-put-together action sequences that have considerably more impact than anything the first film had to offer. Even the 3D – still converted – looks pretty good this time around.
On Region Free UK Blu-ray we get surprisingly good 3D video and outstanding audio, as well as a nice selection of extra features – for fans of the film it’s a great package. If you enjoyed the likes of 300, Immortals and the Conan remake then you should probably give Wrath of the Titans a shot, and watching it back to back with the first movie – however hard an ask that is – will probably only enhance the experience even more.
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