Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters: Movie Review

Percy-Jackson-Sea-posterI was actually surprised that 1492 Pictures and Sunswept Entertainment gave the green light for the sequel after Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief did not perform as well as expected in the box office several years back. But seeing as Logan Lerman built a career and a steady following in Hollywood after the first movie, it was kind of smart to push through with the sequel, come to think of it.

The second installment of the Percy Jackson franchise (based on the books by Rick Riordan), puts Percy (Logan Lerman) in middle of a new quest — this time to save the Tree of Thalia, which is poisoned by Hermes’s son Luke (Jake Abel). The tree serves serves as a barrier that protects Camp Half Blood from attacks from the outside world and without it, the camp becomes an open target for any man, monster or beast that sets its sights on it. In order to save the tree, Professor Dionysius (Stanley Tucci) chooses Ares’s daughter Clarisse (Leven Rambin) to embark on the quest for the Golden Fleece, which has the ability to heal or revive anyone touched by it. But then, Percy learns  from the oracle that an offspring of one of three major gods (Zeus, Poseidon or Hades) will save or destroy Olympus. With Percy being the only available demigod to match the description, he calls upon his friends Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), Grover (Brandon T. Jackson)  and his newfound cyclops brother Tyson (Douglas Smith) to join him on his own quest to get the fleece in order to fulfill his destiny.

I liked the first Percy Jackson movie. I also liked this installment, truth be told, although the two movies are decidedly different in approach and tone. The first movie was basically a kid’s movie, filled with adventure and magic and fancy all in a modern day setting flavored with Greek mythological elements. The second chapter in the saga meanwhile, is slightly more mature, mainly because Percy and the gang grew up. Percy is no longer an adolescent boy but rather one in his late teens, questioning himself and his purpose, and grappling with his daddy issues, much like half of the members of his camp.

I liked the chemistry between Percy and Clarissa. Leven Rambin really brought to life the competitive relationship of the two characters without being annoying, and I kind of liked how they bantered. Even if the books were setting up Percy with Annabeth, (even this movie kind of pushed the pairing), I still thought that on the big screen, Percy should totally go with Clarisse. She is a much more interesting partner because they are just so different and dynamic . Alexandra Daddario, while she is undoubtledly gorgeous, looks too old for Logan Lerman, period. It was the same problem I had in the first Percy adventure and I stand by it now.

I loved Douglas Smith as Tyson. He looks a lot like Brendan Fraser in the Encino Man and the innocence with which he portrayed the misunderstood but loyal cyclops was awwww-inspiring.

I don’t really remember much from the book but I was pretty sure that the film skipped lot of scenes and focused only on the main elements, which, on the one hand is good because it was able to concentrate on the important parts of the story. At the same time, I also thought it was a shame because there were other elements in the book that would have contributed to building a stronger, deeper plot, and in this sense, I kind of felt shortchanged.

Another thing I noticed was some inconsistencies in the quality of the CGI. There were times that it was super detailed and fluid (hippocampus, charybdis), while in others, it seemed kind of underwhelming (cyclops, snakes). Otherwise, the film proceeded along quite nicely.

All in all, Percy Jackson was a good movie. It entertained with a lot of action, adventure and mythology. There were also some funny parts delivered by the characters of Grover and Tyson. However, I felt that it was still a long way off the Harry Potter franchise on which it was obviously patterned.  For the next installment, I really think the franchise should push the envelope some more to really make its mark on this genre.