KCFV Radio – August 2013.
Percy is entertaining, but he is no Harry Potter. I know, I know, it may not be fair to compare the two, but there are so many similarities it is almost impossible to ignore. The next installment of the Percy movies, based on the popular Rick Riordan’s, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” youth book series, finds the heroes knocked off the mountaintop by a new set of I’m-better-than-you demigods.
Life has changed for Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) at camp Half-Blood. He has taken a backseat to Clarisse (Leven Rambin), the daughter of Aries, god of war. Clarisse is better at everything it seems and she makes sure everyone knows it. Her sassy dogging and sharp spearheaded put-downs send Percy to the empathetic underdog position mighty quick.
The source of the magical shield around camp Half-Blood has been poisoned and the camp comes under attack from an old enemy back from the grave. Luke (Jake Abel) has survived from the first movie and has decided to rid the world of the father-gods that abandoned their children.
How does he expect to do that? What better way to defeat Zeus, Poseidon and Hades than to bring back their own father, Kronos, whom they imprisoned centuries before.
The legendary Golden Fleece has healing powers that will heal and restore the camp’s magical shield, but unfortunately, the fleece is also the same thing that will bring Kronos back to life.
Mr. D (Stanley Tucci), the sarcastic head-teacher who leans towards the popular crowd, chooses Clarisse and her minions to go on the quest after the Golden Fleece. Thus, setting up the scenario for Percy and his friends, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) to once again save the day by finding the fleece before it falls into the wrong hands.
No longer the hero, Percy doubts himself and his abilities, but knows he is the one to save their home after finding out about a family prophecy. The prophecy points to Percy or maybe the newly found Poseidon prodigy, Tyson (Douglas Smith). No one knows, but it will make an interesting brotherly sequel.
Percy now has a brother – a Cyclopes brother to be exact. Tyson, clumsy and innocent, captures our sympathy immediately. He has spent his life alone in the woods, aches to fit in and find a friend. However, with one giant eye in the middle of his forehead, making friends is not easy. Too bad he did not find camp Half-Blood sooner. Percy has mixed feelings about having a new brother, but decides to let him join his band of friends anyway.
Our merry group starts out trailing the camp A-listers. As expected, the know-it-alls end up needing some help and soon Percy joins Clarisse to become teammates on the quest. The obstacles standing in the way of success are a yacht full of the bad guys, a sea monsters stomach, a giant mean brute of a Cyclopes (who happens to sound a lot like Hellboy), and an abandoned spooky amusement park.
For me, there are a couple of distractions. One is the turn-around in Percy’s girlfriend. In the first movie, Annabeth was a hard-core fighter with the smarts to go with it. After all, she is the daughter of Athena. But, in this film, she has turned into an eyelash batting girly-girl and from a brunette to a blonde. For example, she falls during a stampeding bull scene and yells for Percy to come and help her up? Really. This seems out of place for a sword-yielding, knowledge-laden, kick-ass girl who held her own in the depths of Hades last time.
And Chiron, the centaur teacher originally played by Pierce Brosnan has a new face, Anthony Head, who has taken over the role. Though not as charismatic on screen, Head does a good job, but puts a more serious mentor tone to the once run-free, love a good fight, half horse fella. The manly stud has been replaced with a nerdy professor.
A couple of bright spots are Luke’s father, Hermes (Nathan Fillion), who works as a UPS front-man. He is spicy, loud, and full of sharp-witted humor. He has a never-ending array of gadgets to help Percy’s team in their quest. A bright spot is the Hippocampus, a sea-horse type creature that is gently beautiful and looks like it has jumped straight off a “Bellasara” magical horse trading card. A little attitude gives the magical animal some personality as it helps the Percy gang along its way.
The computer CG graphics are super spectacular and give the film a visually fun ride, which are worth the price of admission. However, the storyline and elements, such as a flying car that goes a zillion miles an hour and professors that lean towards a good side and a dark side, along with the titan’s story with Kronos simply are too familiar from other recent movies not to be distracting. I was constantly having the feeling of movie Deja Vu.
Greek mythology makes flat-out fantastic movies and there have been several in the past few years, such as Clash of the Titans and The Immortals. Mixing elements from the recent myth-themed movies and the wildly successful Harry Potter franchise – you simply get expectations that are just hard to live up to.
I give Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters 6 ½ out of 10 stars. The visuals are larger than life and it is an entertaining summer fun flick. But, I’m not sure it has the staying power of Potter.
Published: KCFV Radio – August 2013.