|Criticwatch - Wrath of the Whores
|by Erik Childress
Wrath of the Titans has better special effects and vastly better 3-D than its 2010 predecessor. If I had just stopped there in telling Warner Bros. what I thought of their film, I would be a quote whore. Before I turn this week's column into a Jeff Foxworthy routine, I just wanted to show the distinction between a critic who truly liked the film and one unwilling and unable to back up their hyperbolized, usually pre-written, statements. I am certainly not that critic as I found the Clash of the Titans remake sequel to be a pinpoint study guide on how not to make a matinee-level, FX-laden adventure. But there are legitimate critics out there who would argue otherwise. Some of them even wrote reviews of their justification. Only 19-out-of-80 at Rotten Tomatoes (as of Mar. 30 at 8:04 AM), but do you see any of their praise on the ads for Wrath of the Titans? No maam. Even if you didn't see for yourself that 3-out-of-4 critics wouldn't recommend Wrath of the Titans to you on a bet, Warner Bros. has all but announced that they have released a bad movie by littering it with their usual junket whores.
"The good news is: "Wrath" is a much better film than "Clash" - lighter, more agile, with much better special effects and pretty decent 3-D." - Tom Long, Detroit News
"Wrath radiates the straight-forward, straight-faced pleasures of the mytho-muscular epics, like Hercules and Jason and the Argonauts, produced in Europe a half-century ago." - Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"For a film that barely engages the brain at all, it works pretty damn well for the ears and eyeballs." - Scott Weinberg, Twitch
"Not unlike a twelve-year-old's sugar high-induced crayon creations." - Matt Patches, Hollywood.com
"There's little about this picture to really endear the viewer after the whole thing wraps. That said, while it's happening, the sensationalism is, well, pretty sensational" - Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies
Those are not the whores. Those are five quotes from critics who wrote actual reviews about Wrath of the Titans. Sure some of them work on burying the lead on just how stupid the film is, but their praise portion is legitimate. There is certainly plenty to argue in how the film has virtually no rooting interest in the heroes or their journey or even a worthy villain worth jeering. Or how that watching Wrath of the Titans is like listening to Del Griffith try to tell you an anecdote; shifting from point to point with nary the thinnest of connections. But at least you can engage that argument with any of the five writers above and have them come back at you with their own defense. Can you do that with a quote whore? No, you cannot. Because their job is to choose the most substandard and obvious hyperbole available to them and then get out of the conversation. You cannot even find a damn picture of Jeff Craig so you can yell at this moron who reads "AMAZING" from the film's press release and passes it off as a review. If Warner Bros. would actually start their promotion with a quote from Corliss or Kenny, it would be a little easy to swallow that we were not about to digest another turd for our ten bucks. When I came out of our screening for Wrath of the Titans on the Tuesday night before its Friday release, I knew immediately that the studio would be reaching right into their bag of whores. Partly, cause I cannot believe critics like Corliss or Kenny or anyone could like this film even as a matinee lark. But mostly because Warner Bros insists on selling you the whores first.
"Epic" - Mose Persico
This is a guy who also referred to The Chronicles of Riddick as "a terrific science fiction epic!" saying "Riddick is here to stay!" When was the last time you even heard the name Riddick past a punchline? You want to know when Warner Bros. needs to use Mose freakin' Persico?
"Hilarious!" (The Hangover Part II)
"A hilarious date movie! Couples young and old will love this movie!" (License To Wed)
"This summer’s hottest romance!" (Alex and Emma)
"A real nail biter from start to finish!" (Dreamcatcher)
"An electrifying movie, see it twice!" (Orphan)
"Explosive! Gripping! A blazing suspense thriller! Terrific entertainment! A great time at the movies!" (Firewall)
Why they had to use this joker on the ads for Crazy, Stupid, Love other than its title being the only way they could lob a pair of true adjectives back at him, is beyond me. Next up is the guy who basically admitted on Inside Edition that he has provided quotes on films he hasn't even seen.
"The best use of 3-D since Avatar. Eye-popping. Epic." - Mike Sargent
Christ, another use of "epic." Best use of that word, Mike, since you called Gods & Generals that back in 2003. Actually, not the best use of that word at all. No film that runs 90 minutes sans credits can be described as "epic," I'm sorry. You can also not be "epic" and a Saturday matinee lark at the same time. One of these sets of critics is wrong. And while I admit the 3-D is pretty decent in a world where most 3-D sucks, the best use "since Avatar?" Had to go the Sam Worthington route, didn't you Mike? I bet if Man On A Ledge was in 3-D that would have been your film of choice.
"The best family fun since the original Home Alone" (Are We There Yet?)
"The best romantic comedy since When Harry Met Sally." (Must Love Dogs)
Oh I see, you are just not right in the head. Fair enough. No wonder Warner Bros. likes to use you all the time.
This is what Star Wars fans have been waiting for. (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Thrilling, wondrous entertainment for the whole family. (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole)
The most fun you will have at the movies all year. These turtles rock! (TMNT)
The most fun you’ll have at the movies this summer! (Shorts)
Laugh-out-loud funny and refreshingly smart. The perfect way to start the summer! (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past)
Laugh out loud funny! (Music and Lyrics)
The funniest comedy of the year. (License To Wed)
"The best romantic comedy since When Harry Met Sally." (Must Love Dogs)
Smart, original, warm and funny. (P.S. I Love You)
A hot, hip and hilarious holiday movie. (Love Don’t Cost a Thing)
An instant classic. Every character is someone you know. (He’s Just Not That Into You)
All six of Sargent's quotes in 2007 (including ones for Harry Potter 4 and King of California) were for Warner Bros. Here's a newbie to the game though:
"A must-see" - Stephanie Frederic
No idea who that is. Had to look her up with something called FGW Productions. It's not easy looking up the unknown quote mongers who appear on ads for crappy movies since we don't want to condemn just any ol' Jeff Craig and the like. When you scroll down the FGW page though and realize that Stephanie Frederic is associated with King Whore himself, Shawn Edwards, it all makes sense.
If Shawn is the King though, then Mark S. Allen must certainly be the prince. Except when it comes to an association with Warner Bros., then Mark is most definitely the king. We are not going to run down the entire list of WB quotes that this idiot has delivered over the years. We can actually do better than that.
"Awesome! Even better than the first!" - Mark S. Allen
"A masterpiece! An awesome example of movie perfection (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
"Awesome" (The Matrix Reloaded)
"Awesome!" (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)
"Awesome! This summer's must-see!" (Bad News Bears)
"Awesome! The most amazing images you’ll see on the big screen this summer! (Poseidon)
"An epic and awesome experience." (300)
"Awesome, fun, funny with action sequences that will leave you breathless, but gasping for more." (The Rundown)
"Intelligent! Satisfying! Intense and relentlessly suspenseful! Awesome! Harrison Ford at his best. Non-stop, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense!" (Firewall)
"A is for awesome!" (Easy A)
"Awesome fun for thy whole family! Elephant sized laughs! Divine! Thou shalt laugh a lot!" (Evan Almighty)
"Awesome. This is the Cinderella to remember." (A Cinderella Story)
"One of Disney's finest. Awesome for everyone!" (Home on the Range)
"Zoinks, this movie is awesome!" (Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed)
Ladies and gentlemen, Mark S. Allen, aka the Jeff Spicoli of film criticism. And you thought Sean Penn was best as the original Spicoli? Allen may be even better.
"Brilliant! Funny, action-packed and cooler than the first!" (Ice Age: The Meltdown)
"Relentlessly wrong and funnier than the first." (The Hangover Part II)
"Even better than the original." (Iron Man 2)
"Amazing, remarkable chemistry and better than the original!" (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2)
"Charming, funny and even better than the original" (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous)
"The best Pirates yet! Epic and amazing!" (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)
"The best Spy Kids movie yet! Young, old and everyone in-between will love this movie!" (Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over)
"Jaw-dropping. Heart pounding. The best Resident Evil yet!" (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
"The best Underworld yet." (Underworld Awakening)
"The best Twilight film yet!" (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1)
"irresistible...Hilary Duff's best film yet..." (Raise Your Voice)
For those keeping track, Wrath of the Titans joins Warner Bros. films The Hangover Part II, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous as films that Mark S. Allen is trying to sell you as better than the original. I am one of the few people to say that the first Hangover movie sucks on shit-on toast and even I wouldn't choose the sequel over it with a gun to my head.
As for Wrath of the Titans, the new one currently sits at 21% at Rotten Tomatoes where the 2010 remake of Clash generated a whopping 28%. Of the 33 films either to be released wide or cracked the Top 10 at the box office in 2012, Wrath of the Titans critically ranks 28th on the list. Right behind October Baby. That is right, the Jonathan Liebesman sequel cannot even achieve the level of critical support as an anti-abortion drama. Guess it all comes down to a choice on who you would rather follow into hell. If the road is paved with quote whores recommending movies like this, I might have to think about it.
(NOTE: Thank you to "The Almost Film Critic" (@almostfilmcritic) for titling this week's column.)
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originally posted: 03/31/12 03:31:28
last updated: 03/31/12 13:14:57