An imagined conversation between Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, after the premiere of Wrath of the Titans:
Neeson: Good day, Ralph. Or is it pronounced Raph?
Fiennes: Take your pick, mate. Use the "l" or not. Nice sharing a movie with you again.
Neeson: Well done, then. Ralph it is. When was the last time, when we each earned Oscar nominations for Schindler's List?
Fiennes: I'd like to think so but remember we did that dreadful Clash of the Titans remake that was purely for the money, since my Harry Potter gig was running out.
Neeson: I forgot, after my check cleared.
Fiennes: Better results this time around, eh? Tolerable, at least. Designing the film for 3D conversion rather than doing it at the last minute to ride Avatar's coattails makes a difference.
Neeson: Still not enough beasties for my tastes. The two-headed fire-breathing bat dragon was impressive, and the trio of cyclopses — or is that cycli? — looked good. But the minotaur fight was hectic and short, and if you've seen one gigantic monster formed of lava you've seen them all.
Fiennes: At least the script gave us plenty of time to whisper grave pronouncements of impending doom. You know, after your Zeus gets imprisoned by my Hades in that large green room where we did most of our acting. If I'd realized what the special effects painted in later would be, I might have gestured at nothing more intensely.
Neeson: At least we weren't put through the physical wringer like that muscular lad playing my son, Perseus. Sam Worthington. Nice chap, for an action figure. If I had to be rescued from the underworld before Kronos' six-armed demons overran the world, I'd pick him.
Fiennes: Is that what this movie is about? Seems simple outside the context of all that revisionist Greek mythology the screenwriters cooked up. I mean, Andromeda is a warrior queen now? I don't think her mother Cassiopeia would boast about that. And so many gods get dusted — literally — that being immortal is meaningless.
Neeson: You're right, it's wrong. But you don't expect shrewdly constructed adventure from a sequel to a lousy movie. Setting expectations lower than Hades' underworld could pay off for the sword-and-sorcery rabble.
Fiennes: Perhaps. Well, enough about that. What else has been going on?
Neeson: Keeping busy with people or wolves abducting and killing my loved ones, stealing my identity or reminding me of such. Nasty business. Very profitable.
Fiennes: I directed a movie that only critics cared about, and not much. Coriolanus. Have you heard of it?
Neeson: No, not a critic. Sorry.
Fiennes: Don't be. You'd have to sit through Wrath of the Titans.
Neeson: Quite right. Well, off to the bank now. Cheers.
Steve Persall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365.