Wrath of the Titans disappoints. Why am I Surprised?

Well…I actually enjoyed the first one.  The 2010 Clash of the Titans was as Bad-tastic as the 1981 cult classic (which I watched way too many times when I was young) and had cool, fun modern special effects.  Trust me, it was NOT the best movie ever, but it made no excuses for what it was–a mindless, fantasy adventure.  Now, Wrath of the Titans doesn’t even reach those very low standards. 

The ONLY thing this film does have is special effects (especially the cool Tartarus maze) but, unfortunately one can not live on effects alone.  You may think I am exaggerating but I’m not.  Characters?  Shallow.  Plot? Thin.  Sam Worthington? Wooden.  Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes?  Not enough to save it.  The most exciting part?  A surprise, yet too short of an appearance by Bill Nighy

Deep sigh.  Oh, well…what did I expect?  Not much.  And they still could not deliver.  Sad.  And I am sure they are working on the third installment–maybe they will call it “Shit on the Titans”–at least then you would know what you were getting into. 

The Grey was much more than I expected! WOW!

Okay. I will admit that I went into The Grey with only one expectation…to be entertained.  Liam Neeson and wolves?  I am in.  That is all I needed to know.  Yet surprisingly, there was way more to this film than even the trailer reveals (I love when that happens!).  I had heard some positive buzz, but was thinking it was due to pure badassness, not because of its depth and intensity.  How awesome!

You know by now, that I do not like to summarize a film and tell you details because I want you to discover all the wonderful things on your own–but I will tell you this–writer/director Joe Carnahan weaves an exciting, tense, thought provoking and personal story.  This film covers a lot of ground–survival, fear, life and death. It is truly an existential experience!  Really? Yes, I am not joking.  There are strong themes.  From animal instincts to faith in a higher power.  (I love the parallels drawn between the wolves and this group of roughnecks–and by the way, I do not agree that the Gray wolves were being shown in a negative light–if anything, you will respect them more after this.) 

Liam Neeson is perfect.  He was meant to play this part.  I can only imagine what he drew upon to reach the soul of this man who is clinging to his life. If Neeson doesn’t receive award attention it would be a shame!  The supporting cast is dead on!  But, a stand out is Frank Grillo‘s Diaz.  I loved him in Warrior and now this only solidifies my interest in career.  Another important character is the isolated landscape of Alaska.  It is both beautiful and haunting–(there were points that I could FEEL the cold). 

That is all I will say.  The Grey is a smart, intense thriller that is also a psychological study of human survival. I was at points–impressed, exhausted and emotional–wow!  To live and die on this day…To live and die on this day!  Indeed. Now that is what I call a cinematic experience!!