PERCY JACKSON – THE SEA OF MONSTERS
|The photos being displayed in this review are not mine, for all the photos are properties of 20th Century Fox|
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.
+SOME OF THE ACTION SET-PIECES
+SOME OF THE PERFORMANCES
+SOME CHARACTER MOMENTS
-NOT ENOUGH HEART FOR THE FORMULAIC PLOT
-CARTOONISH SPECIAL EFFECTS
2.5/5 - RENTAL!