As the title indicates, Warner Bros.’ new, 3D fantasy adventure Wrath of the Titans called forth some mammoth and mythical adversaries to pit against the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington).
These include the multi-headed Chimera, three one-eyed Cyclops and an army of double-bodied Makhai. Perseus’ most formidable opponent is, of course, Kronos, the gargantuan, heretofore imprisoned Titan and father of Zeus (Liam Neeson), Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston), who is on the verge of breaking free and bringing hell down on the earth.
“There’s truly a smorgasbord of action to be had in this movie,” says visual effects supervisor and second unit director Nick Davis, who also worked on the first film.
The first foe Perseus meets is the Chimera, a fire-breathing beast with the heads of a lion and goat, dragon-like wings and a vicious snake’s head at the end of its tail.
“The main heads work in tandem, with one throwing out fuel and the other a haze of heat that ignites it,” director Jonathan Liebesman says of the brute that tears through Perseus’ village, a terrifying warning shot of things to come if he doesn’t take action.
“The Chimera descends on the village like a meteor and immediately starts ripping it apart,” Davis says. “There’s a huge pyrotechnical explosion, then the ground starts to crack, followed by a very elaborate, 400-foot trench blast that snakes its way through the town before blowing up a house and finally erupting out of a building. Then it really gets going.”
With the Chimera forcing his hand, Perseus is now committed to the battle to save Zeus and all of mankind from Kronos, and sets off to find a way into Tartarus, catching a ride with an old friend: the winged horse Pegasus, who takes him to Queen Andromeda’s (Rosamund Pike) encampment.
Once Perseus, Andromeda and Agenor (Toby Kebbell) are on their way, they sail off to find Hephaestus, whose remote island home is booby-trapped and heavily guarded by a group of 30-foot-tall Cyclops, one of Liebesman’s favorite creatures in the film. Prosthetics designer Conor O’Sullivan provided the director with about 15 different maquette heads, and worked closely with Davis in the full body design, before they determined the final blueprint for the Cyclops.
“The biggest challenge was to get them to appear as photorealistic as possible. Well, as much as a one-eyed, 30-foot monster can be photorealistic,” Davis smiles.
Heralding the emergence of Kronos from his ages-long confinement, legions of two-torso Makhai rage through the battlefield in a swarm of death and destruction. An invention of the film’s writers, they are warriors who had been sent to Tartarus and melded together by Kronos. “He created his own army by merging two tortured, warrior souls into one, and then sent them to wreak havoc on earth,” Liebesman relates.
“They are eight-foot-tall, two-headed, six-armed warriors who can run and roll and fight and jump with strength superior to any man,” Davis says. “But they are really just the prelude to the evil that’s about to come, the huge, final battle for Perseus, Zeus, Hades…everyone.”
The war comes to a climax as the over 1,500-foot Kronos bursts free of his bonds and begins to attack.
“Kronos created the world from chaos, and he wants to return the world to that state,” Liebesman notes. “What I love about him is that he reminds me of an atomic bomb when he hits the screen—this massive explosion with tons of volcanic debris flying off of him and setting fire to everything in his path.”
Davis adds, “Kronos has forever been this unstable, volatile force that the humans have unwittingly been sitting on, and as soon as Zeus’ strength fully empowers him, he erupts: rocks cascade off of him, the prison walls start to collapse and lava bubbles up from underneath.”
He goes on to describe the Titan king as having “human proportions, but he’s comprised of streams of solidified and molten lava that is constantly pouring off his body. He’s also covered in pyroclastic clouds that billow off of him, and as he moves, he hurls lava bombs toward the people below.”
Kronos was achieved entirely via CG, but that was no deterrent for Sam Worthington, who has become something of a master of fighting green screen beasts. For the actor, it’s all in a day’s work. “It’s simple: you have to believe in the world. When my nephew runs around pretending he is fighting monsters, it’s the same thing. As long as you commit and believe, then the audience will also commit and believe. We know it’s computer generated, because Kronos and Cyclops and Chimera don’t exist, but if I dive into the situation 100 percent, then hopefully the audience will follow and not be pulled out of the world.”
Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, March 29, “Wrath of the Titans” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.