Review: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
PLOT: Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is back for another quest when his schoolís protective barrier- designed to protect the demi God children from danger- is breached. Only the Golden Fleece can restore the barrier, so Percy and his friends Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) go out in search of it, on a journey that also reunites Percy with his half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), a shy Cyclops.
REVIEW: I might be wrong, but I doubt anyone here is terribly enthusiastic about a sequel to PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTENING THIEF. The first one, which came out three years ago, was wildly hyped by Fox, with it having been directed by Chris Columbus, who also did the first two HARRY POTTERís. Suffice to say, PERCY JACKSON was no HARRY POTTER, and the film did modest business. Still, it was far more successful than other Potter clones and would-be franchises like ERAGON, CITY OF EMBER, & THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING, all also put out by Fox.
Despite everything, PERCY JACKSON is back for another go-round, with Columbus being replaced by DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and HOTEL FOR DOGS director Thor Freudenthal. I donít know for sure, but to me anyways, it feels like SEA OF MONSTERS was made for considerably less money than the relatively lavish first film, as this feels like a quickie sequel designed to cash in on any of the franchiseís remaining fans (the book series runs five volumes).
Yes folks, that means the quest in PERCY JACKSON is far less grand in scope than the first film was, with most of the action being contained to (1) a yacht, (2) a speedboat, or (3) an ogre dwelling cave. The CGI is still relatively decent, although SEA OF MONSTERS feels too low-rent for the 3D conversion itís received, as the technology doesnít really lend itself too well to the proceedings.
Even if the budget had been slashed, SEA OF MONSTERS could have still been fun, considering the game cast. While itís immediately apparent that the ďkidsĒ from the first film have grown up considerably, they still do their best with the material. Lermanís broken out since the first film, with his part in THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, and an upcoming role in Darren Aronofskyís NOAH, but he doesnít phone it in, and tries to make Percy a fun hero. Lerman moves well, and a (very) brief fight scene where he uses a little martial arts rather than magic makes me wish Freudenthal and the writers had focused less on stretching the budget with CGI, and made more of a fun, family-friendly action adventure movie rather than trying to live up to the scope of the first film.
His co-star, Alexandra Daddario, whoís blossomed into a gorgeous woman in the three years since THE LIGHTENING THIEF looks far too mature to be running around as the teenaged Annabeth, and considering that sheís twenty-six, and co-star Brandon T. Jackson is twenty-eight, it might have been wise of the gang had been aged a little so that they were no longer high-schoolers. Jackson disappears for a good chunk of the movie, with him written out of the mid-section only to re-appear in the conclusion.
All of the stars who played Gods in the first film have been replaced, with Pierce Brosnanís Chiron now being played by Anthony Head of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. The role is even smaller here than it was in the first film, so it probably wouldnít have been worth the expense to bring him back. They did, however, manage to land Stanley Tucci for a small part, and whatever enjoyment I got out of the film is mostly due to his limited screen time, as well as a fun cameo by the great Nathan Fillion as Hermes (along with a funny nod to the best TV shows always being cancelled- FIREFLY anyone?).
Suffice to say, PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS probably isnít going to rejuvenate the franchise and will likely be the last we see of the character unless it makes enough of a profit to do another one. Itís probably only worth watching if you happen to have young kids that are too young for something like PACIFIC RIM. So, while this is (probably) the end of PERCY JACKSON, Iím sure than the central trio, Lerman, Jackson, and Daddario are all going to have long careers. Each of them is talented, and they deserve a better showcase than this, especially if itís going to be made in such a boring way.