Saturday, August 31, 2013




G.P. Manalo


Joshua Michael Stern 


Ashton Kutcher

Josh Gad

Dermont Mulrony

Ever since the late and great Steve Jobs passed away 2 years ago, I’m pretty sure I was one of those people who called the fact that they’ll make a movie about him. But a year later we instead got a biographical novel by Walter Isaacson about his life. We can all agree that after reading that novel, there is great potential that this will be brought to life very well with the right people. This film is Joshua Michael Stern’s shot at bringing one of the greatest innovators of our time be brought to life in film for us to delve into the private life of Steve Jobs himself. Instead we have a straightforward yet very simplified biography that tethers away on the potentials of the different stories they are telling.

Conflicts and drama ensues with Joshua Michael Stern’s Jobs as it tell the real life story of Steve Jobs (a surprising performance by Ashton Kutcher), beginning with him being a drop out student into one of the greatest innovators and visionaries  of the 20th Century.

Like most “true to life”/biographical films the studios will obviously have liberties over that story. From past biographical films, most changes do work and most of the time it would feel genuine than it is “Hollywood-ized”. The problem with Jobs is that, the story felt lacking. There was a scene where Ashton Kutcher quotes “let’s make the small things unforgettable” and yet the film barely makes the big and small ideas be what is promised.The film felt like one direct line and yet there is a large gap between scenes that felt empty.

Unlike the Social Network where the film would only tell the story of how the most popular social network came to be and what happens to Mark Zuckerberg behind the scenes (or court houses). Jobs, on the other hand tell everything in the range of 22 years of Steve’s lifetime. The film is very ambitious on the significant events of Steve Jobs’ life but instead the movie felt like they were rushed cliff notes; They would bring up one idea and rush it to move on to another idea without any impact to the story or the characters at all.

As an example the film brings up his biological mother but instead the writing made it metaphorical when he was under the influence of drugs as he look up to the clouds. Another would be the Microsoft and Apple rivalry, a topic that could’ve been a large plot point and an impact in Steve’s life would instead be done through a phone call and soon enough the film never brought it up again (along with him screwing over Apple’s founding members and his ex-wife along with his biological daughter). There was never a sense of time as well. From the first hour you’d be in 1974 and the next 20 minutes would be 1984 already. I never felt Steve Jobs’ growth as a human being, I never felt the importance of the company or why their tech matters (I dare you to drink every time they say IBM in this movie), nor did I feel his relationship with the characters around him because of how rushed the movie was. It would be both the directing or writing fault of the film. Maybe it’s also because they don’t have the rights to the biographical novel and they end up doing what they have.

Despite the film’s lackluster story, the performances were just “alright”. Ashton Kutcher did a good enough impression of Steve Jobs, just from the distinct walk and how he say vowels was very much spot on, he played the Steve Jobs The Hippie Jesus just right but the businessman Steve Jobs - not so much. I would've liked to see Jason Schwartzman play him but Ashton Kutcher was still good in the role. I do like how he can do roles like this than being "the party guy" in every movie/tv show. There were numerous articles and even in the book brought up on the times where he would lose his cool and how people would label him as an “asshole” because of how hard he is to work with despite his approachable appearance. It was done here in the movie but like most ideas of the film that brings up, it wasn’t executed or handled properly. Him being an asshole was overbearing in this film (it took over a huge portion of the film). For the most part it was interesting but never did I feel the growth of the person because of the large gaps of the film. I think the other ones who stood out in this movie as well were Josh Gad, Dermont Mulrony and even J.K. Simmons.  

Jobs has potential to be one of the best true to life stories/biopics especially with all of the material it is carrying, instead the film took a rather lazy route for it to rushed and unexplained, though the performances did save this from being a bigger disaster. If you’re an Apple fan and want to know more about Steve Jobs, I suggest you buy Walter Isaacson’s biographical novel than seeing this. If you were patient for the releases of the Iphone's new generation every year then I’d wait on something worth your while for a second generation of a Steve Jobs film written by Aaron Sorkin, adapted from the book by Isaacson with Steve Wozniak’s seal of approval for that project.




2/5 - MEH!

Monday, August 26, 2013


"The geek community is divided" 
Disclaimer: All the photos are not mine.

G.P. Manalo

I woke up that morning to open my Facebook account to numerous posts about Ben Affleck; I started to wonder what it is all about until I read the words “Batman” and “Ben Affleck” being associated to those posts. Next thing you know I saw a headline in the morning news stating the fact that it IS official that he has signed up the very role. In the announcement it is also announced that he will have a 13 picture deal one of them being In “Batman vs. Superman” in July 17th, 2015 as the Caped Crusader though no further word if the 13 appearances will be a stand-alone role or cameos and it is also not announced whether or not he’ll be directing something related to that character.

I was very much in the middle at that point, as I have read through the same story in three different film websites I have observed that there are more negative than there are praises. There were possible death threats, plans of boycotting the film and even a petition to make him sign off the role (last time I checked it was more than 10,000 signatures). As I have reflected on the fact that there is nothing we can do about it, maybe it was a decent choice to have Affleck as Batman, and so I have 4 reasons why he is so.


All we know so far that Ben Affleck will be playing the iconic character but filming the movie haven’t really started yet and the movie is still 2 years away from now. That being said we still have yet to know anything about him being in that role through set pics, trailers, previews, or anything the studios to release to market the film. It’s not really a good argument to say that “he sucks” when we haven’t see anything of him in the project

We’re also not the best at predicting whether or not he’ll be good on the role or not, if we looked back from other actors in Comic book films like James McAvoy (from Wanted to X-Men First Class), Halle Barry (from Catwoman to X-Men 3… never mind), Nicholas Cage (from Ghost Rider to Kick-Ass to Ghost Rider again). Actors have been through at least one shitty film (in someone’s opinion atleast) at some point but that doesn’t mean they’ll be shit again, though it is a gamble. In a similar topic Michael Keaton, Heath Ledger and Christian Bale were given a lot of similar criticisms for their roles and they ended up surprising the nay-sayers and dubbed them to be the definitive versions of the characters they have portrayed. Though I will give the nay-sayers credit that George Clooney did sucked as Batman. That being said we have to wait and see before we have our final judgments and if you happen to have a time-travelling DeLorean to argue with this statement you can freely kick me in the balls and say that I’m wrong.


This other reason is why I liked Ben Affleck as both an actor and a solid choice for the role and it is because he is an experienced and a much older actor. Say what you will about him being in Daredevil, Gigli or Pearl Harbor (ENOUGH! With the Phantoms joke) but those movies were more than 10 years ago and for the few years not only has he been a fully established actor but also one of the best filmmakers of our time for delivering films such as The Town and Argo (I have yet to see “Gone Baby Gone” in all honesty but I heard it’s one of his better films).
Overtime, he has lived through all of his mistakes and he has grown to be a capable and mature person and actor and if you have listened to his speech during this year’s Oscars his maturity as both an actor and person is very much evident in that speech.


Like I said earlier, the success of his films like Argo, The Town and Gone Baby Gone he has established himself as an experienced and one of the best filmmakers of our time. Though it is a gamble for Ben Affleck to be the same level of good as he is as filmmaker than in a movie when he’s not directing, writing or involved in anything important behind the scenes (like a coffee boy). He is a better filmmaker than Zack Snyder therefore even if he is just an actor he can still have the power to pitch ideas for the director and the screenwriter to atleast help them deliver a quality superhero film (maybe it’s three years too early to give this movie an Oscar nomination).
I believe he is mature and aware enough to set his ego (which I’m not sure if he does have or not) aside and that his ideas will be added for bettering the movie than it is to make this movie be more about him, this is a Man of Steel sequel after all.

1.  HE’S NOT THE BEN AFFLECK WE KNEW YEARS AGO (Translation: He can act!)

For argument sake this was a surprise to me because I never saw “Batman” through Affleck’s other films, that is pretty much why I was in the middle at first. If we could define “Batman” it is that he is a dark and brooding character and at the same time he wears a mask that makes him a different person entirely. Most people commented on this statement as they compare his performance as George Reeves in 2006’s “Hollywoodland”, they commented on how in one scene where he is performing as “Superman” where he was all campy and more of a show off at some point and then there was a conflicted yet scared look in his eyes as a kid wishes to shoot him. That is why people say that he is good for the role, in that one scene shows how he can fully suit the dual personality Batman has, and re-watching Hollywoodland again I highly agreed with the statement they made.

This being promised as a different version of the Batman we know from past incarnations. I really hope that his tactician side of Batman will actually see the light of day in this new version of the character. We have already seen the dark and brooding side of Affleck through his role in Daredevil…. A bit.   

His films that are considered to be good like Good Will Hunting, Argo, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Hollywoodland, and Shakespeare In Love it is that he was given the right material. Ben Affleck may not be the best actor out there nor is he the worst. Films like Gigli and Daredevil are not his fault, he was just following the material he is given. He doesn’t necessarily have the chops like Daniel-Day Lewis to completely be a different person entirely, I have faith that the material he will be given will be great since he is tethering away from that statement he said about not playing a superhero again due to his previous attempt. Him accepting the job could mean that the material he is given is good for him to be back under a different mantle of a superhero.


My opinion may or may not change anyone’s mind, “Haters gonna Hate” after all. My judgments are not necessarily final after all and maybe soon enough when I see some early set pics and footages of it with the power of the Internet. I still wish it was a different choice like Josh Brolin but it could've been worse like the other choice that is Ryan Gosling. Something like this isn’t really a good thing to rage about in this kind of time. Hopefully good things will happen to those who wait. I would like to hear your thoughts though, what do you think of the casting choice? and if you like to debate with me, you may freely do so.

Sunday, August 25, 2013





G.P. Manalo

Directed by:

James Wan


Patrick Wilson

Vera Farmiga

Lily Taylor

One would say on where the horror film genre is going downhill due the fact that it is satirized by found footage films, torture porn,  and re-makes that doesn’t really live up to its predecessor. Once in a while there would be that one horror film that would truly stand out and it is The Conjuring. Director, James Wan was able to deliver yet another spine-chilling, well-crafted and intense horror film for the genre.

Based on the true case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren tells the story on how they successfully unfold the case of a wrathful spirit. In 1971, Carolyn and Roger Perron moved to a desolated house that happens to be inhabited by demons. Night after night the family has been experiencing strange and violent phenomenons, the family started to consult to two paranormal investigators to examine the house and defeat the evil spirit once and for all.

For the past few years, James Wan has proved that he can deliver a well-crafted modern horror film. He showed it through the original Saw film and Insidious. He knows how to terrify his audience through his slow shots and dead silence without the use of the cheap and overly-used “jump scare”. The film may have had hints of Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist or William Perdkin’s The Exorcist but James Wan is not really the typical director where he would take all of his inspirations and just put it on-screen without giving any depth at all, he takes all of those and craft it with something fresh enough for the audience.

Horror films are not really famous for being gory in an over the top manor nor is it famous for jump scares. Horror films are famous for showing you haunting imagery and intensity though without those elements it is surprising that this film has an R Rating at the cinemas for having horrific imagery. There were a couple of jump scares in the film but they weren’t really cheap per say, they were actually well placed.  The film does feature horrific enough imagery and like I said earlier it was set-up very well through it’s slow pace and dead silence without the high-pitched musical accompaniment. I also admire that James Wan uses practical effects to back up the imagery of that very scare without the use of CGI effects (though the crows scene at the end ruined it though). The demonic hide and seek aspect of the film was very well handled because of the direction it was given.

The film definitely has a lot of terrifying enough imagery, not really the kind of imagery that will haunt me for days after watching the film. I didn’t enjoy enough of the scares of the film at the first half of the film because I was very much spoiled by the trailers (I was supposed to avoid the trailers but The Great Gatsby screening was playing the trailer where it spoiled almost everything), if I didn’t watch that one trailer I would’ve enjoyed the film, I highly recommend you avoid the trailers and when you go in blind I’m pretty sure you will enjoy this film more than I did. I’m not going to downgrade the film for that; I will definitely blame the film’s marketing team (and probably even myself).

The film is a good kind of throwback horror; it’s not the kind of throwback horror film where there would be elements of classic horror films to be jumbled into one film without giving depth to those elements. The setting of the film does show it’s authentication to the retro 70s classic horror films. Yes, this is definitely nothing like an original nor is it a groundbreaking horror film and yes, the typical ghost story clichés like an abandoned house, the possession, the hidden basement, etc. but they all those clichés do have enough depth for it to be a satisfying whole.

The performances are the best part of the film and it is the reason why the setting is very much believable and it is all thanks to Chad and Carey Hanes’ script. Not being the typical modern horror movie, the family is very much believable and not really a cast of fresh faced and talentless actors. The family felt like a real family, when things go down you can really feel the sense of fear on their faces and their family dynamic was well executed (not to mention there are very good kid actors in this film, and that’s a rare case in film nowadays). Lily Taylor is very much the focal point of the entire family and continuing my statement of the family being believable, she was the best out of the family and it is with the help of her believably vulnerable performance. My last commendations will be for Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, I liked how well written these two characters were, and they were definitely the best part of the film. They both share a good on-screen chemistry.

In the end, The Conjuring is an enjoyable horror film. Like I said earlier, it is definitely not the best nor is it a ground breaking horror film but it is the best kind of horror film that is very much a nostalgic one. The film is filled with scary enough imagery that will keep your spine tingling for the entire experience and performances that will make the setting and the scares be believable. I highly recommend you see this while it is out in the theaters and see it with the biggest group possible. 




Saturday, August 24, 2013





G.P. Manalo

Out of all the animated features this year, Planes probably have the most controversial behind-the-scenes background to it before it was even released to theaters. This film was actually geared towards a Direct-to-DVD release and it ended up getting picked up by the Disney Company to forcefully release this in the theaters. From the quality of the overall film it does show that it is for that kind of release or maybe even a commercial for the toys.

In above the world of Pixar’s “Cars”: “Planes” explores the life of a big-hearted crop duster named, Dusty Crophopper who has always dream of being part of a global air race. That dream comes true when he was able to compete in the qualifiers for the big race. Though the odds are not in his favor when he revealed that he is actually afraid of heights but with the help of a retired Navy Corsair, Skipper he will help him prepare for the most dangerous race of his life as he competes with aggressive competitors and dangers throughout the race.

This movie is nothing special to begin with, the formula for this movie is something we have seen a bunch of times. In fact this is pretty much like this year’s “Turbo” or more so a blatantly re-written version of 2006’s Cars but less of the heart and wit of both films, both films seem to know what it is doing; the story is rather metaphorically constructed and the drama is genuine along with the comedy. This on the other hand is the exact opposite of the things both of those films have done correctly.

The story is the weakest part of the film: The film follows the typical sports underdog story (I shit you not, the film even mentioned that this movie is “Like Rocky” at some point), it doesn’t have enough heart or depth to shadow all of the clichés the film is carrying in order to bring something (somewhat) fresh or new to the audience. The film tries to put something new but those elements are pretty much the reason why this film is mediocre. There were added elements like the fact that the main character couldn’t reach his dream is because of his fear of heights. That element felt shoe-horned in the film for no particular reason.  Though one element of the film where the main character has this mentor relationship with a Doc Hudson-ish character was pretty much the most interesting part of the film.

Racing plays a huge part to the world of cars and also above it (Unfortunately). I would’ve asked for more of the story than it is a racing film because if there is “so much to explore” in this world I would like to see it with a different story other than racing. That being said the race is very uninteresting, due to the lack of depth and heart there wasn’t really any suspense or drama throughout the race, The race is just one direct line that rarely has substance. 

The comedic element of the film is also weak; if you got TIRED of the car puns in the Cars movies, then puns about planes will annoy you as well. The jokes in this film couldn’t really find it’s rhythm for it doesn’t have a beginning and end, the best example for it was that there were a couple of cars that would talk gibberish for a solid minute in one scene and I just sat there asking myself  "Is this suppose to be funny?". What’s even worse is that the jokes in the film are satirized by commercialized (you’re gonna see a lot of commercial products here and there through Plane puns) and stereotypical jokes as well. This being a kids movie, I’m surprised that they rely a lot on the reference a couple of 80s movies like Top Gun (2 of the actors were actually in this movie) and Rocky; those references are pretty much years ahead of the age of the film's age democratic. 

The animation could possibly be the saving grace of this film, the animation is very nice to look at though there were a few shots where the background would look like a cardboard cut-out, also the characters aren’t also refreshing to look at; at some point you could’ve sworn that every plane look alike (I know it is rather Planecist of me, but it’s true). Though there were a couple of shots in this film of the Planes flying were captured very well. I’m not going into detail with the vocal performances though they are rather decent.

The overall quality of this film is a definite equivalent to a Direct-To-DVD film and at the same time a commercial for toys that will sell more than the movie itself is an example of a film going "by the numbers", there was barely any heart or depth to make this movie be interesting for the entire hour, the comedic element and the animation of the film rarely stalls the audience to forget the fact that this film is terribly cheap nor did the film’s colorful cast of characters and the world itself as well. It's a gamble to have kids enjoy this film, I was actually in a screening where the kids are dead silent while the father behind me was trying his best to make it atleast interesting for the kids to "enjoy". This is probably a better movie if you experience it as a home (for free) experience than it is a theater experience. 



2/5 - MEH!

Sunday, August 18, 2013



Disclaimer: photos are not mine, for they are officially released by Universal Studios

G.P. Manalo


Aaron Taylor- Johnson

Chloe Moretz

Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Jim Carrey

A comic book movie like “Kick-Ass” is a really hard sell despite its originality and uniqueness for the genre and it shows from its records (box office and dvd sales) 3 years ago from its predecessor. Though the film was lucky enough to even get a sequel and two more in the future (Hit-Girl solo film and Kick-Ass 3) due to it being a cult hit by a huge fan-base and dvd sales. But it wasn’t lucky enough to have Matthew Vaughn direct the sequel and instead be directed by the guy who brought us “Never Back Down”, Jeff Wadlow. The first Kick-Ass film was rather enjoyable and fun (though there was that one scene that I hate so much), In Kick-Ass 2 I hoped that I would have the same experience and I am very much happy to say that Jeff Wadlow was able to deliver the same fun and enjoyment as the first one did though it does lack a bit on the storytelling.

After the events of the first film, Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor- Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) has inspired a large number of people in New York City to become masked vigilantes like them. Mindy Macready (Hit-Girl) has to hang up the costume to live a normal life according to her new father while Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass started to feel lonely until he is introduced to a team known as “Justice Forever” led by Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). But heroes are not the only ones they inspired, Chris D’ Amico known as Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) returns with a new name called “The Motherfucker” and he vows to get revenge for Kick-Ass killing his father as he build his own super-villain army.

If the first Kick-Ass film shows the reality of being a superhero with no powers, then Kick-Ass 2 shows what it will be like to have a “world of superheroes” (by world I mean, “AMERICA”). It does portray that aspect of the film very well, though the consequences didn’t feel impactful as the concept of the first film did. The violence of this film is a love-hate relationship to me, there were some violent action sequences that were very entertaining enough to watch on-screen but the other action sequences were rather there for the sake of violence.  What made it even worse is that there were scenes that are rather impactful and emotional and it is very half-assed and rushed when it is executed. The first Kick-Ass film (until the final fight scene with the jetpack and the bazooka)  had the standard of portraying violence in a realistic way in that real open world, seeing that standard fade from this film was a bit disappointing to me. Saying that it is enjoyable isn’t really saying that much coming from me.

The special effects did take away the realism of the film as it does feature badly rendered green screen effects and digital blood (that I hate so much in the last film) though I do appreciate most of the effects that are rather practical (that I assumed that they are practically done). The shaky cam was also very annoying through most of the action sequences of the film, in a way to badly portray documentary-esque type of filmmaking but most of the time used to censor violence. 

As an action-comedy, the comedy in this film is a step up from the film; I couldn’t really name a few comedic sequences that are unnecessary like the last film did.  the dark comedy is like the heart and soul of the comic and the movie itself, the dark comedy is rather funny and enjoyable though there were a couple of jokes that are displayed as very childish humor and by childish I mean it is more like Adam Sandler’s version of “comedy” in his present films (it has something to do with someone throwing up and shitting themselves at the same time) 

I have read the source materials (this being based on the prelude and Kick-Ass 2 at the same time) a year before seeing this film. As much as I don’t want to compare a source material to an adaptation, I just have to say that I do enjoy the movie version more than the comic. The actual Kick-Ass 2 comic was more of a slideshow of dirty violence and foul-mouthing than it is a legitimate sequel (though the Hit-Girl prelude was more of the sequel I wanted) though there were some moments of the book that does have potential to bring the film some emotion and intensity. Fans of the book will be happy that this was translated very well and the flaws of the book are corrected not to mention they keep monumental events of the book that are translated scene by scene and word per word in this movie while some does have it's own twists, and I've always thought that what  a comic book movie should do.  

The performances are still very good and entertaining to watch, Aaron-Taylor Johnson still plays a charismatic and believable teenager (despite his age being far beyond than he is supposed to be). Chloe Moretz still steals the show as a murdering psychotic teenager and still has a good side-story surrounding her having a normal life, her role is not as fun to see compared to the first film (you can really see that time has passed) since she is no longer that little kid who murders and curse like a sailor. Returning characters, standing out in this film like Clark Duke having a titular and fun role, along with Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Chris D’ Amico who is now known as “The Motherfucker” who pretty much shares the most comedic dialogues and situations in this film.

Newcomers like Jim Carrey’s Col. Stars and Stripes stealing the show for the first hour of the film was so much fun to watch, it is rather unfortunate to hear that he is distancing himself from this project because this is probably his best role since “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”. If I didn't know that it is Jim Carrey under all those prosthetics i'll be surprised. He does only share a small portion of the film; I would’ve liked it if they took liberties and add a few more scenes of him as the character (If you've been catching up with the previews, all of those scenes are basically the scenes he have in this film). While new characters also shine like Scrubs’ Donald Faison as Dr. Gravity and Olga Kurkulina’s Mother Russia also stands out in this film, both of them were both hilarious and impressive to watch in this kind of project. The rest of the cast are just solid without mentioning them.

In the end, Kick-Ass 2 is still a Kick Ass film despite the complaints I have, I still have a great time with the film through most of the action sequences and the comedic timing of the film. If you loved the first film, you will definitely love the second one as well. The film is definitely entertaining, it’s action-packed, it’s funny, and I suggest that you look away from that tomato-meter and watch this movie in the theater. Fair warning, the film is pretty violent and I have met a lot of people who are disturbed by this film but do have an open mind and do your best to watch this movie as you separate reality from fiction. 




3.5/5 - WOULD WATCH!

Saturday, August 10, 2013




The photos being displayed in this review are not mine, for all the photos are properties of 20th Century Fox


G.P. Manalo


Logan Lerman

Alexandra Daddario

Brandon T. Jackson

It seems that Hollywood is looking for that “next big thing” (by next big thing I meant the next Harry Potter) when it comes to children/young adult fiction-fantasy novels being adapted to the big screen as film producers would scour bookstores to find something appealing for big studios to release it to the public. Percy Jackson (surprisingly) continues to grace our screens despite it being unsuccessfully acclaimed by both fans and critics though embraced by a number of casual movie-goers. This new sequel, didn’t really change my mind about the franchise and I’d rather read the book about it.

Percy Jackson – The Sea of Monsters continues the adventures of three demigods, Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase and Grover. In this film, they set out their quest in retrieving the long lost Golden Fleece at the Sea of Monsters so that they can heal the tree that acts as a force field to defend Camp Half-Blood. But they’re not alone in retrieving the Golden Fleece when the son of Hermes, Luke returns to resurrect the titan, Cronos to unleash his wrath in Olympus.

I was never a fan of the first Percy Jackson film (The Lightning Thief) though I do enjoy reading the book series based on it even more as kids my age do. The first film was pretty much a bad taste in my mouth (I was even bullied for hating the film back in 6th Grade) as the film does come off to me as a bad Harry Potter clone and a mediocre adaptation of a good book in general.  This on the other hand, is not really as horrendous as the first one though that is not saying much.

The film continues to suffer the same problems of the first film did and it is that they don’t really do anything special with the formula that we have seen before. They have all of the ideas being brought to the screen but they don’t really hit the right notes, there wasn’t much depth or heart to each element and they don’t really have that much of an impact that the film expects us to have (but it really didn’t), that results to a rather bland and uninteresting story (until the ending though, I’ll give them that). This film is definitely for kids lower than 12, the humor is childish though it wasn’t that forceful commercialistic type of humor like the last films had. Not to mention the storytelling was very straight-forward and full of exaggerated and cartoonish designs of the monsters (I swear that one monster reminded me a lot of Scrappy Doo in that one bad live action Scooby Doo movie). As much as I want to admire the simplicity of the straight-forward plot, there were most elements that were very distracting and it did take me out of the film at some point.

Take these elements for example. In the film they show Percy is having an easily misjudged half-brother and Percy is developing self-doubt on himself for not really accomplishing his mission very well in the first film due to the fact that he had help but they weren’t executed properly up to the point where I didn’t really care that much for the problems he is facing. That one element of self-doubt felt shoe-horned in to the film and it is easily written out of the film. While the brother relationship that they keep showing in this film wasn’t impactful as I have hoped it to be, the writing gave the four characters less interaction compared to the last film; they barely felt like they have a direct relationship to each other.

The action set pieces was barely the saving grace of the film, but they were entertaining. The special effects are still a love-hate relationship for me; there’d be shots of the film where it is believable that a giant Cyclops was fighting five children in one room (which is probably the most entertaining fight scene of the film though) though there’d be most shots where the special effects looked barely ahead of its time. The special effects are worthy for some sort of TV movie or something for a straight to DVD film.

Almost half of the cast that were decent in the last film didn’t show up while one of them got re-casted, while years have definitely passed, the young actors are barely believable to even be called “children” in this film. The performances weren’t also strong as well though it did have a few considerations. I’ve always hated Logan Lerman since the first Percy Jackson, I would shrug every time he is in a movie but after watching him in “Perks of Being a Wallflower” there I knew that he does have potential to be one of the best actors of this generation, though here he was decent (he was so wooden in the last one) enough, nothing really special about his performance in this film but decent enough. The problem with some of the performances in the film is that they were overly-serious with the material, maybe it is the writing’s fault because they barely add life to most of the characters and as a result most of the performances are wooden and lifeless. As a man, I cannot deny the fact that Alexandra Daddario is nice to look at. But her acting is just so wooden and overly-serious in this film. She’s one of those characters that didn’t really connect very well with the characters around her. Though, Brandon T. Jackson’s Grover and Stanley Tucci’s Dionysus thankfully gave life to this movie through their characters and it is unfortunate they weren't in this movie a lot because they are the best parts of the film. Jake Abel’s Luke was also woodenly dry in this film; I could’ve sworn that he looked drowsy every time he talks. Newcomers like Douglas Smith and Leven Rambin’s Clarisse were just stereotypes to progress the film though they were just decent for the material they were given.

In the end, Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters is a rather mediocre attempt of a sequel. Despite its flaws, I was still able to enjoy fragments of the film; most of the performances were enjoyable enough to keep me going for another half of the film and there were a couple of action sequences that were entertaining enough. I would recommend you see this if you have a kid under 12, above 12 years old is a big gamble whether or not they will or will not like this movie. Fans of the book would love or hate this movie, it really depends on how attached you are to the series.



2.5/5 - RENTAL!