Film review: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013), directed by Thor Freudenthal
Last time we met Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), he had just saved Olympus. Nowadays, he doesn’t seem to do much, and when he does, he keeps getting beaten by Ares’s daughter Clarisse (Leven Rambin), and daddy Poseidon isn’t much help either. Something’s gotta change.
And something does. First of all, Percy’s half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith) shows up – but he’s not a half-blood, i.e. half-god half-human, but rather his mum was a nymph, and Tyson is a cyclopse.
Then, the halfblood camp is attacked by a giant, mechanical bull – Luke (Jake Abel) is back, and he’s poisoned the tree which sort of powers the forcefield protecting the camp. In order to save the tree, and to possibly fulfil a prophecy, Percy, Tyson, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T Jackson) need to go on a quest to find the one thing that can save the tree before it’s too late. Especially since said item could also be used to bring Kronos back from the dead – and that would be bad for everyone.
Also starring Anthony Head as Chiron (replacing Pierce Brosnan), Stanley Tucci as Mr D[ionysus], Nathan Fillion as Hermes, Shohreh Aghdashloo as the voice of the Oracle, and Ron Perlman as the voice of Polyphemus.
The first film, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, was apparently not that well-received by fans of Rick Riordan’s book series, because they had changed so many things around. When we saw the film, neither of us had read the book, so we just enjoyed the ride. We then picked up the books, and the Squeeze plowed through them. His conclusion after watching Sea of Monsters was that this one had been changed around a lot too. The bit with the big cyclopse, for instance, was a lot more fleshed out in the books – and there’s a reason why Grover is wearing what sort of looks like wedding attire. The yacht is apparently also meant to be a cruiseliner, which makes a lot more sense, because that boat was way too small to pull off the whole hiding thing for as long as they did.
I’ve not yet read the books (so much to read, so little time), that I can only judge the film on its own merits as a film, and as a film, it’s … sadly quite flat. Okay, the first film didn’t feel very in-depth either, and it’s an enjoyable fantasy adventure, no doubt about it, but it just feels as if it could have been so much more. It’s a bit like a great-tasting chewing gum that loses all of its flavour after five minutes, and I didn’t want it to be that.
The actors are all considerably older now, so if they’re making the other three films, they’d better hurry up. Apparently, there is shizzle going down before Percy’s 20, and he doesn’t look far off already.
On the plus side, there were two things that made me almost dizzy with glee:
1. They’ve ditched Pierce Brosnan. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed him as a centaur and I really wouldn’t have minded if they’d kept him. According to the Squeeze, the character gets to kick ass later on in the series, and Brosnan would’ve been great for that, former 007 and all. But he’s been replaced with ANTHONY [Stewart] HEAD. He’s like Giles again (♥), but also a centaur. And looking REALLY HOT to boot, which is a really fucking odd thing to say about a character who is half horse. Still true, though.
2. NATHAN FILLION!!! Okay, add Nathan Fillion to anything and I’m bound to love it at least a little. He’s so marvellously awesome I really hope Hermes will be in the rest of the films too, if they end up making them. Kudos that he gets to do a shoutout to Firefly as well. If you didn’t get it, it’s when he talks about the TV-show that, “like all great TV shows, was cancelled after just one season”. Ahhhh. I love that guy.
If you enjoyed the first film, the sequel is well worth a watch. If you’ve read the books and thought the first film deviated too much, this does as well (although Annabeth is now a blonde, like she should be). I’m not even sure you really need to have seen the first one to enjoy the second, because pretty much everything is explained again, like what a half-blood is, that Percy’s the son of Poseidon and so on, so you should get up to speed soon enough.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is an okay film, but it could have been better, and it should have been better. At least the girls got to kick some butt, and goofy Tyson (who for the most part wore a pair of shades to not look like a cyclopse, or under the influence of Mist, to make him look like he has two eyes – y’know, budget constraints and all that) was adorable.
3.4 out of 5 abandoned amusement parks.