Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters

Directed by: Thor Freudenthal

Starring:  Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Leven Rambin, Stanley Tucci, and Nathan Fillion

In 2010, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief debuted in theaters and grossed just over $226 million dollars worldwide.  The reception to the first installment of the film adaptation of Rick Riordan’s best-selling book series was mixed at best, and it did not have the success of juggernauts like the Harry Potter or Twilight series.  However, I was intrigued by the overall demigod concept and was sucked into reading the book series.  While it is not as well written as J.K. Rowling’s legendary series, it is a page-turning fantasy adventure that has entertained adults and kids alike over the years.  So I was delighted when I discovered that they were making a sequel to the original film.  For fans of the book series, I am pleased to say that the film lives up to the excitement of the second book.

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is the teenage son of a human mom and Poseidon, the god of the sea.  Percy stays at Camp Half-Blood, a camp for the demigod children of the Greek gods.  It is the only place safe for demigods as monsters and demons are constantly trying to kill the children of the gods.  Camp Half-Blood is a secure location as it is protected by a special barrier emanating from a magic tree.

As the film opens, Percy is more skilled with his demigod powers.  However, he is having a crisis in confidence as Clarisse La Rue (Leven Rambin), the demigod daughter of Ares, the god of war, has emerged as a dominant leader at Camp Half-Blood.  To compound matters, Percy discovers that he has a cyclops brother Tyson (Douglas Smith).  As Percy struggles with teenage demigod angst, disaster strikes and the camp’s barrier is breached by a bloodthirsty bull.  Luke Castellan (Jake Abel), Percy’s arch nemesis, has poisoned the camp’s tree and set the bull on the camp to attack the other demigods.  In order to save the dying tree, Percy, Tyson, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) must journey to the sea of monsters to recover a mythical golden fleece which has the ability to heal anything it touches.   On their way, they encounter countless monsters, and must face their own personal demons.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is a fun, action-packed adventure that has a little something for everyone.  The film is colorful, fast-paced and packs some fairly funny dialogue.  The film deviates from the book which may annoy fans of the novel, but I think most of the modifications were necessary given that the movie clocks in under two hours in length.  One fabulous bright spot is Nathan Fillion as Hermes.  Fillion is really underrated.  He was only in the film briefly but he stole the show, and was absolutely hilarious.  If the Percy Jackson series continues, I would love to see more of Fillion.

As a fan of the book series, I still have concerns that the three year gap between the original movie and the sequel was too long.  The actors are too old to finish the series as teens as the books are written.  Noting that, the writers have altered Jackson’s age in the movie, which may work in the long run if all of the books in the series are adapted to the big screen.

With all of that being said, persons who have not read the book series may struggle to keep up with the introduction of new characters and plotlines.  The film is so fast that for “non-book readers,” the weight of the “prophecy” and the issues facing Percy may not resonate.  In addition, while many of the action sequences are well done, some of the special effects are not very impressive.  This summer, we have seen some amazing special effects in films like Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3, and Star Trek Into Darkness.  Thus, it is quite disappointing to spot some fairly shoddy digitally imposed effects.  The hippocampus sequence was particularly underwhelming.

Sea of Monsters is a fun family film if you want to break away from the animated fare of the summer season.  However, I would caution that some of the violence may be a little too scary for young children.  Sea of Monsters earns a 0.06% rating.  Those under 21 can try an A & W root beer with this one, and if adults need a little something stronger, I would recommend a Dos Equis.