|Sam Worthington in Wrath of the Titans. (Handout)
A holiday weekend, your favourite libation and a surrender to silliness: This is the only way for adults to survive and perhaps enjoy Wrath of the Titans.
The movie debuted on DVD, Blu-ray, separate Blu-ray 3D and digital download this week. The Blu-ray arrived in a two-disc combo pack with DVD, Blu-ray and digital copy. The delusional extras on this Blu-ray, including Warner Home Video's signature Maximum Movie Mode, offer behind-the-scenes insights. These range from seeing what a nutbar new cast member Toby Kebbell (Agenor) was on-set; to instructions on how to create a chimera out of lions, horses, snakes and bats; to a tour of the Welsh quarry where the final battle scenes were shot. There is an emphasis on how great everything was going to be because of the planning and energy cast and crew put into it.
I don't doubt they all worked hard. The delusion is thinking that the rape and pillage of Greek mythology automatically produces high entertainment. Yet Sam Worthington, who stars as demi-god hero Perseus, thought so. When I met the Australian actor in January, he promised he would be better in Wrath than he was in Clash of the Titans.
"I felt in the first one I had let the audience down a bit by not delivering a character," he confessed candidly. "I was an effing generic, bland action dude. That was it. It was like a Barbie doll. I didn't like myself for doing it. I dropped the ball, man, I'll admit. I wanted to pick it up and create something that was a unique character. Thanks to (director) Jonathan Liebesman, I reckon we cracked it!"
Instead, they Krakened it. The Titans franchise shows us exactly what is wrong with Hollywood when it emphasizes action, special effects, blood and noise over human storytelling. Chaos and incomprehension rules despite the presence of Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, Edgar Ramirez and Rosamund Pike in support of Worthington.
You dropped the ball again, Sam, and the movie made only $302 million in worldwide box office, down from the $493 million generated by Clash. Maybe this is the end of the Titans line.
John Boorman's brilliant thriller Deliverance is now 40. To celebrate the anniversary, it was restored and released this week in an upscale Blu-ray book edition. The single disc carries fresh extras along with recycled material from the 2007 release and from the theatrical presentation in 1972.
New is a 30-minute chin-wag at the Burt Reynolds Museum in Jupiter, Fla. Reynolds, now 76, hosts Deliverance co-stars Jon Voight, 73, Ned Beatty, 74, and Ronny Cox, 73. They swap stories, even though crusty Reynolds said in 2007: "If you stuck a gun to my head, I couldn't think of another story, except some that shouldn't be told."
Deliverance, a masterwork of tension, moral conflict and intense violence, is still worth talking about. And listen to, not least because of Cox's guitar-banjo smackdown with teenager Billy Redden (although Mike Addis actually played the banjo by reaching around Redden to pluck the strings).
"That movie changed all four of us," Reynolds says of the core cast members. It also changed cinema in the 1970s, with reverberations that are still felt today in the depiction of violence.
At 30, Jane Fonda became a cinematic sex symbol in Roger Vadim's Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy. The French filmmaker was her husband at the time. Their 1968 sci-fi flick, now restored for its recent Blu-ray debut, does not stand the test of time. Especially not with those cheeseball effects and the silly English dialogue. But Barbarella is still hilarious -- in a twisted, cultish kind of way -- and Fonda really is sexy!