Academic journal article Interactions

Conflictual Familial Relationship and Fear of Death in Wrath of the Titans

Academic journal article Interactions

Conflictual Familial Relationship and Fear of Death in Wrath of the Titans

Article excerpt

The recreation of a remote age when human beings had a closer contact with their gods and their demons; conflictual familial relationships developed to the most extreme consequences; mythological creatures reproduced with excellent special effects; a cast of talented actors; fast-paced action; beautiful natural landscapes and a compelling plot. This is what constitutes Jonathan Liebesman's 2012 Wrath of the Titans, a film where different Greek myths continually intersect with each other and offer a series of gladly- welcome surprises for those viewers who appreciate the original myth, but are ready to accept a reinterpretation of it that frequently does not adhere to the primary source. Wrath of the Titans could therefore be easily accused of being an unfaithful adaptation that deforms the traditional version(s) of the mythological stories passed down through the centuries. On the other hand, the film is a very good sequel to Louis Leterrier's 2010 Clash of the Titans and, I would say, it even develops a more compelling and more intricate story.

The story begins some years after the facts narrated in Clash of the Titans, focusing on the quiet life of Perseus (Sam Worthington) as a fisherman, now father of a young boy, in a village on the coast of Greece. Zeus (Liam Neeson) descends on the earth to ask for his demigod son's help by explaining that the walls of Tartarus, the underground prison of the monsters and Titans defeated by the Olympian gods in the ancient times, have begun to fall after the gods have lost their powers. The relationship between father and son-- a theme extensively developed in the previous instalment of the series, whose story is mainly based on Perseus' almost adolescent refusal to acknowledge Zeus' paternity and authority--assumes central importance in this film as well, where it is shown from the first scenes as more affectionate and definitely founded on mutual respect. Familial relationships are thus central in Wrath of the Titans as well, as Zeus' affectionate attachment to Perseus and the latter's love for his own son Helius demonstrate.

As anticipated by Zeus, monsters and demons freely wander the earth, destroying all signs of civilizations on their path and exterminating all the human beings they encounter. If the most dangerous of them all, Cronos, father of the main Olympian gods, could escape from the centre of Tartarus, as Zeus says, "it will mean chaos. The end of the world". This film thus reprises the myth of the war of the gods in Heaven, a myth that is present in many religions and is based on the dualism of good versus evil (in the Christian religion, for example, it is epitomized by the fight between God and Lucifer), and updates it in a later age. Indeed, the war between the Titans and the Olympian gods fought before the creation of humankind now involves human beings too and is waged on the earth, humans playing a fundamental role in determining its final result.

Perseus initially refuses to help Zeus, but, after a chimera devastatingly attacks his village and endangers the life of Helius, the demigod decides to help his father. However, he discovers from the deadly-wounded god Poseidon (Danny Huston) that Hades, ruler of the underworld and of Tartarus, has betrayed and imprisoned Zeus in order to liberate their common father Cronos in exchange for immortality. (1) Hades' revenge has been coldly calculated during the years allegedly intervening between the two films and he executes his plan after allying himself with the god of war Ares (Edgar Ramirez), who feels a blind hatred against his father Zeus' preference and affection for Perseus. Almost like Cain towards Abel, both Hades and Ares are jealous of their respective brothers' fortune and position and they decide to conspire against them to win over Cronos' and Zeus' attention and favour. Specific mention must be made of Ralph Fiennes' interpretation of Hades, which conveys the character's rage as it has been solidified through the centuries of banishment to the underworld. …

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