Thursday, August 15

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Review

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Dir: Thor Fruedenthal
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, and Brandon T. Jackson

Percy Jackson, the focus character from the collection of Rick Riordan novels, first came to life in director Chris Columbus’ 2010 film Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief. The film, released at the height of Harry Potter and Twilight film mania, was overlooked though it held some promise of being the next young adult film adaptation. Unfortunately, a poor reception and mixed reviews has kept the sequel on hiatus for the past three years. Under new direction by Thor Fruedenthal, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has all the appeal for younger audiences but is stumbled by an underdeveloped story.

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is the half blood human offspring of the god of the sea Poseidon. He is being protected/trained at a camp for other half blood offspring. The children at the camp are protected from outside foes by a barrier created by Zeus after the death of one of his daughters named Thalia. She is turned into a tree, the source of the protective barrier, but is poisoned by a group of half bloods that want to resurrect an ancient destroying god. Percy, trying hard to prove his worth, is snubbed for the quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece, which will save the dying tree. Still, Percy and his group of friends venture out in hopes of helping the quest.

The film begins with a promising introduction, holding Percy in an unwanted position of both confidence and doubt from his fellow students. Percy’s supportive companions, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and a satyr named Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), are back to assist again but are slightly underused due to the addition of other characters. Added to the group is Percy’s half-brother Tyson, who also happens to be a Cyclops. The role is in line with the books but the execution is clumsy, using the character for derivative comic relief and blatant emotional material. Though the character of Clarisse (Leven Rambin), daughter of Ares, offers an opposing quality that plays nicely against Percy’s more restrained aggressions. There is also a welcome cameo by Nathan Fillion playing Hermes with his usual sarcastic and humorous charm.

Much of the issue with this film lies with a narrative that feels somewhat rushed, lacking a cohesiveness that connects the title character and the importance of his quest.  The success of the Harry Potter films was partly attributed to the continued transition of the characters and the world around them. Though the actors look far older than the last film, the maturing quality for their characters is offered but not progressed due to a lack of development in the script. Percy is in constant danger, after the protective barrier at his camp in disabled, but the perils never feel authentic. And there are some really nicely crafted effects that should feel more threatening.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is suitable enough, but just barely. The labors of adolescence and the tension associated with danger are never fully utilized which could stall the progression of the characters for future films. However, with a clear target on the younger audience, the film should please fans of the books and provide enough action distraction to keep those unfamiliar with the material interested.

Monte’s Rating
2.75 out of 5.00

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