A Week Late and a Titan Short


by Eric J Baker

When did B movies become 150-million-dollar epics? Wrath of the Titans has all the qualities of one (including the casting of semi-big stars in small parts to lend faux gravitas) but at 25 times the price. At least with B movies, whatever money the filmmakers have usually ends up on the screen. And if you spend wisely, 150M buys you a lot of Wrath.

This film resumes the exploits of Greek demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington), last seen in the Clash of the Titans remake two years ago, as he travels to the underworld to rescue his father, Zeus (Liam Neeson), who has been imprisoned by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) at the behest of their father, Kronos (good to see the Balrog getting work again). At its heart, Wrath of the Titans is a tender drama about everything getting smashed to fucking pieces or blown up, though these moments are contrasted nicely by whatever’s left collapsing on itself in a mushroom cloud of annihilation. In a clever subplot, lots of punching and stabbing happens.

The Venerable Johnny Depp

Praise the Lord.  I have seen Johnny Depp’s apotheosis and it is named Rango.  It’s like he’s pulled together all of his work since Edward Scissorhands into one masterpiece symphony in the form of an animated feature.  It all makes sense now.  Rango tips its mottled cowboy hat to Ed Wood, to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but most of all, intentionally or not, to Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, the last Jarmusch film I truly enjoyed, as opposed to feeling flattened by enervation.

I don't know why they kept calling Rango a lizard when he was in fact a chameleon. I know, chameleons are lizards, but lizards makes them sound so pedestrian. Maybe the studios felt that American audiences would be too tempted to pronounce the "ch."

If you haven’t heard by now, Rango is truly trippy, brilliantly written, gorgeously animated, superbly voiced, and I have serious doubts it will ever make its real cost back.  If the studio reported a budget of $135 million, it’s bound to be much more than that.  Rango is basically an art film with a big Hollywood finish, which you really don’t mind because the whole journey is so jaw-droppingly audacious and bizarre.  It’s certainly the first time I’ve ever been sexually attracted to a rattlesnake.

One hot motherfucker. If you ignore the fact he is voiced by Bill Nighy, this is the sexiest cartoon character since the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast."