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Review: PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS Treads Mythic Water

The short review: A series that desperately wants to fill the fandom power vacuum left by Harry PotterPercy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is an enjoyable outing, but not all that glitters is Golden Fleece.

The long review: There are worse ways to spend two hours than watching Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. This isn’t to say it’s a bad film; it’s not. It just isn’t as good as it could be, and the film’s palpable, burning desire to be Harry Potter is ultimately a glass ceiling that keeps the myth-laden adventure film from living up to its potential. That and a whole mess of daddy issues, so much so that Percy Jackson likely has a trident tramp stamp, but alas we’ll have to wait until Percy Jackson: Shores of Jersey to get confirmation.

Greek mythology is usually a guaranteed recipe for a modicum of success given its ubiquity and epic nature, and the Percy Jackson series has always been successful in putting a fun, Fables-like twist on the classic myths. They exist in parallel with our world, invisible to us Muggles or mundanes or whatever they’re going to call us, operating on the fringes of society. Percy (Logan Lerman), a demigod human son of Poseidon, lives his days at Camp Half-Blood, a phrenologically on-the-nose summer camp for demigods and satyrs run by a decidedly dour centaur (Anthony Head) and a Hawaiian shirt-clad Dionysus (Stanley Tucci) as counselor-in-chief. It’s sort of like Hogwarts for the mythically-inclined, a refugee camp protected by a magical barrier created by Thalia, daughter of Zeus, who was killed by a cyclops and gave her life to save her friends, including Percy’s love interest/partner in crime Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario).

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Perhaps Sea of Monsters is a catchier title than Daddy Issues, but it would certainly be more apt, given the film’s almost singular focus on issues of belonging, Percy’s feelings of abandonment, and his crippling daddy issues that stand between him and his destiny. Compounding these issues is the introduction of Percy’s half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), another son of Poseidon, who happens to be half-cyclops. He’s a lovable, albeit clumsy, goofball with a distracting CG-Eye (get it?) who serves as a constant means to hammer home narrative points about the importance of family and not judging books by their covers. What follows is a game of cat and mouse between Team Percy and perennial rival Luke (Jake Abel), demigod son of Hermes turned servant of Kronos, as each one tries to stave off and unleash the apocalypse, respectively. It’s a rollicking story with plenty of exciting pit stops and set pieces along the way, but ultimately too clunky and wooden of a vessel to hold water.

Yet, being intensely cynical can be an exhausting exercise. At the end of the day, my prevailing criteria for assessing films is “Did I have a good time?” In the case of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the answer is “yes.” It certainly isn’t perfect, but the cast is likable enough and the film moves briskly enough to make this a worthwhile way to while away the summer hours before the heavy-handed awards season dramas flood the marketplace.

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24 comments

  • The fact that this movie series has actually gotten good reviews, is something I find insulting. Try as you might to argue that this movie was great, IT’S NOT, because they got SO MUCH OF IT WRONG.
    It had the potential to be as big as the Harry Potter fandom- if they had stuck to the book.
    If you’re one of those people who said they did an amazing job and it was like perfect, THEN OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOKS.
    Harry Potter was such a hit, is because he started young with a sort of innocence, and we watched the character grow up.
    It was like that in the PJO books too, but they completely missed that in the movies.

    Not to mention they got so many facts wrong, it’s confusing.

    All of the logic and facts from the books, is chucked out the window in the movies, not to mention the plot, the character personalities, THE CHARACTERS IN GENERAL, the prophecies, and -can’t believe I’m saying this- BUT THE ANGST IS ALL GONE TOO.

    I’m ADHD and in the books I felt I could connect, and in the movies my life and childhood shattered as the opening credits appeared.

    I must thank Rick Riordan for screwing with Disney Hyperion in the House of Hades

  • I totally agree with kObe. the movie should just go to Tartarus. I understand that there will be differences between the books and movies, but pjo and the sea of monsters was terrible. the casting is off to, they are all brilliant actors, but in that movie they should be 13 not 20 or 30. Annabeth should be 7 YEARS YOUNGER than Luke, not a year older. Thalia should be about 3 years older than Annabeth, because trees age slower. And I am quite disgusted that they are taking “shots” of nectar, it could kill them if they drink too much. the greek mythology was off too which I was disapointed with. Uncle Rick didn’t even SEE the movies. The movie was disgusting and insulting to the world of Percy Jackson. Im going to stop raging but that was not it.

  • I absolutely loved the books of this series and the movies have been a major disappointment. The second film was even more inaccurate than the first and I didn’t think that was possible.

  • It was awful. Pathetic. Please stop making these movies, try again in 10 years once everyone’s forgotten about the first 2 attempts. Honestly. Forget the horrible way in which the movies depart from the books, forgot about the crappy plot point changes (Anaklusmos as the “Cursed Blade”? Seriously? Have they even read the entire series?) Kronos back so early? And as a giant made of rock and molten lava? He’s immortal and he runs scared of Percy’s sword? Damn it read all the books before messing up so royally. If you wanna be Harry Potter, so it like they did. The books were successful because they were good. The movies were successful because they were loyal and didn’t piss of the fan base. The Percy Jackson movie people royally messed up. Its no wonder Rick Riordan based denounced the movies.

  • this had nothing to do with the book….cronos looked liked shit…he wasn´t supposed to come back to life. There are some many parts that are missing its actually a joke. And if you havent read the book…it was just an overall bad movie. Its a shame these guys butchered a perfectly good series. Someone else should pick the whole thing and reboot it….

  • The movie is okay, but if u read the book and watched the movie you would notice the silena bouegarde is the daughter of aphrodite and is not on lukes side. And cronos only comes back alive in percy jackson battle of the labyrinth

  • The movie was shit. Completely ruined everything for me. I will no longer watch the movies. I love the books and that’s it. Maybe if they had a new script writer and producer would I attend another show. To the current makers and staff of the movie, I wish you would all find another series to butcher.

  • I absolutely love the books both the Percy Jackson books and the heroes of Olympus series. They are so good I just wish they would stay a bit closer to the story lines when doing the films.

  • The people who think this movie was good, are the same people who love Dragon Ball Evolution, This is what happens when you stray to far from the source material, As soon as I say the opening of Sea of Monsters I was ready to walk out. But the certain people who liked it are the same morons that go around and tell people to shut up when they express their opinions because either they are too stupid to realize that everyone is entitled to have an opinion, or just angry that they can’t come up with a real opinion so they can only use one word answers like it was Awesome, So maybe someone else should get a life.

  • An opinion is something everyone has, I only stated my opinion because I feel very strong about it. There is no need to attack me because you dont like what I have to say about the movie but I guess there is nothing I can say to make you understand. If you havnt read the series then you wouldnt understand.

  • This wasnt a bit off, it was all wrong. Im not bitching because somone made a bad movie im bitching because there are people that are excited to see some of there favorite literature come to life on the big screen only to see that they just kept the title the same. Harry Potter probably would of been horrible if JK Rowling didnt crack the whip on keeping it to the book, I just wish RR would of done the same. If you dont like what I have said then you dont know the series or you dont care that someone destroyed something good.

  • Well just like the first one, they took a really great book and spit on it. Im surprized they even kept the characters names because that is really about the only thing that is accurate. I watched this hopeing it would be better than the first but I guess I was wrong, it was worse.