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This Week at the Movies

'Wrath of the Titans' and 'Mirror, Mirror' are expensive-looking flops.

Hollywood is often referred to as the “dream factory,” which is appropriate considering its two major releases this weekend nearly put me to sleep.

“Wrath of the Titans” is the unnecessary follow-up to the unnecessary 2010 remake of “Clash of the Titans.”

In this sequel, demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) has given up fighting mythical beasts to raise his young son.

But his father, Zeus (Liam Neeson), comes calling for help after Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez), the god of war, team up in an attempt to unleash uber-titan Cronus.

The 3D effects have slightly improved since “Clash,” but – unfortunately – there are a lot more of them.

Much of the picture’s scant 100-minute running time is dedicated to Perseus and crew being flung through the air by all manner of Cyclops, minotaurs, doubled-headed wooly beasts and the large fire-breathing Cronus.

These sequences are executed with technical skill, but serve merely as filler for the film’s uncomplicated plot.

While I might not go as far as calling “Wrath” an outright bad film, it is certainly dedicated to keeping strictly by-the-book.

One of the movie’s villains even shows up at its culmination with one of Perseus’s family members as a hostage, if that gives you any indication.

“I can’t wait to return home,” one character says wistfully near the film’s end. With that sentiment, I agreed.

“Snow White and the Huntsmen” will not be released for another two months, but it’s already clear which film about the titular alabaster-skinned character will not be the fairest of them all.

That would be “Mirror, Mirror,” which was directed by Tarsem Singh, whose “The Cell” and “The Fall” were showcases for the filmmakers’ visual talents.

“Mirror” is also filled with colorful costumes, eye-popping set design and skilled camera work.

It’s too bad the rest of the film is such a mess.

The picture opens with narration by the wicked queen (Julia Roberts), who claims the story will from her perspective – and not Snow White’s point of view.

Within 30 minutes, the filmmakers appear to have forgotten this promise and the action shifts to Snow (Lily Collins), a bumbling prince (Armie Hammer) and the seven dwarves.

After Snow White is banished from the Queen’s kingdom, the dwarves school her in the ways of thievery and sword fighting.

The film appears to be suffering from a personality crisis. It’s not exactly a faithful retelling of the fairy tale, but neither is it a satire.

Its attempts at wit mostly fizzle and the obligatory action sequences do little to move the story forward.

Singh has a unique visual style, but his recent films – “Immortals” and “Mirror, Mirror” – have been uninspiring. I’m hoping that his next picture will have more compelling content to match his captivating images.

Both "Wrath of the Titans" and "Mirror, Mirror" are playing at Douglaston's Movie World.

Rainey Duke April 04, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Thanks for the warnings!

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