Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review 201: "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters"

"Same difference."

Back to Basics

      Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is the 2013 sequel to the 2010 film Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, though thankfully without the "Olympians" part. It's based on the second book in the young adult series by Rick Riordan. The film has so far grossed about 77 million dollars worldwide and has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 38%. The film is directed by Diary of a Wimpy Kid director Thor Freudenthal and is written by Marc Guggenheim, who wrote Green Lantern. It follows Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) as they discover that Percy has a half-brother, Tyson (Douglas Smith) and that Camp Half-Blood is in need of the Golden Fleece. Secretly setting out on a quest to recover it, Percy and his friends find themselves competing against a rival quest group lead by Clarisse (Leven Rambin) and a group if villains lead by Luke (Jake Abel), who plans on using the fleece to resurrect Kronos and bring about the end of the world.

Trailer shot: GOOOOO!

The Better the Book...

      I'm still kinda surprised we actually got a second movie. I mean, sure the first one did alright. But that was 3 years ago and I know fans of the book didn't exactly look kindly on the film. I did, however, if you remeber my review of the original back in February. Sure, it was fairly generic and strayed a lot from the book, but that doesn't really matter and I enjoyed the film regardless. And, yeah, I did enjoy this second one too. Not as much as the first, but hey, at least it wasn't terrible. A lot of what makes Sea of Monsters just good is simply the fact that the Sea of Monsters book really wasn't all that good. Yeah some major plot points and characters are set up, but I never really liked the new additions and the story itself was dull and not really all that interesting. And that's the case here. New addition Tyson isn't played all that well by Smith, who just acts out of it for most of the movie. And the story just does really have a lot to do. The "Sea of Monsters" is apparently filled with a monster fish and a cyclops and that's it. Plus the adventure there isn't as history filled or fun as the one from the first movie. They take a magic taxi, fight on a yacht and get eaten by a sea monster. Despite being a sequel, the film feels scaled down in size.

 The Better the Movie

      But I can't deny that this sequel keeps a lot of what made the original film fun. The humor is still here and the film is often funnier than I would have expected. That's thanks in part to Lerman and Daddario who have a good chemistry and keep their characters in line with the book versions. Also good are Nathan Fillion in a glorified cameo as Hermes, whose scene makes you wonder why he hasn't played a superhero yet. Rambin also is a good new addition as Clarisse who makes up for the lacklusterness of Tyson. It's also nice to see the movie begin to set-up the over-arching story of the series with big bad Kronos. I get why it wasn't in the first film, but it's fun to see it begin to form. Hopefully we do get a third film. The book is much better than this one. And, all and all, the film is still just a lot of fun. Yeah it's not new or deep, but it is well-made. As a fan of the book I was satisfied and as a moviegoer I felt like I had gotten my money's worth. Sure it wasn't groundbreaking, but hey, it's a lot better than RED 2 and Planes, so what more could I ask for?

"What do you mean there might not be
a third movie?"
The Verdict

      Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is a fun and enjoyable movie, even if it's trying to still be the next Harry Potter, which we don't really need anymore. The story falters from a lack of scale and set-pieces that aren't as impressive as the first. Some new characters don't quite work and the film as a whole can't claim it has much originality. But I still enjoyed as a fan of the books and of the first film. The characters till work, the humor is still there and the action is still solid. It's not a godly film, but it's getting there. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters gets 4 stars out of 6. 

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