Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters [Review]
A fantastical re-imagining of classical mythology brought into the present day. The credit for the story goes to the novel author Rick Riordan, whose books I am unfamiliar with, but I am now considering changing that. The credit for the film is due to director Thor Freudenthal and screenwriter Marc Guggenheim, who delivered a film custom fit for its market. Out of fairness to the film, I will frame this review with the context of the intended audience, pre-teens, and young teenagers. For this audience this film strikes an excellent balance of pleasing visuals, suspenseful action, and humor. Much to my relief the humor was not targeted to a lower common denominator. Many jokes and references are well tuned to those familiar with theology, history, and mythology. These elements made my voyage as an adult, and escorting parent, into the Sea of Monsters highly enjoyable.
The film it set some time after the events of The Lightning Thief (which I found marginally less enjoyable). Camp Half-Blood, home to our demigod heroes, is in danger of losing its god-given protective barrier thanks to an attack by Luke Castellan (Jake Abel), the demigod son of Hermes. To restore the barrier Dionysus (Stanley Tucci) the god of wine and director of Camp Half-Blood sends Clarisse La Rue (Leven Rambin), the demigod daughter of Ares, to quest for the Golden Fleece. Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), son of Poseidon, having learned of a prophecy that may reveal his destiny from Chiron (Anthony Head), a Centaur, decides to also quest for the Golden Fleece. With his friends, Grover Underwood (Brandon T. Jackson), a satyr, Annabeth Chase (Alexandra Daddario), the demigod daughter of Athena, and his half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith) Percy’s cyclops half-brother, Percy sets out to the Sea of Monster. While on the quest, Luke reveals to Percy his plans to revive Chronos, father of the Titans and the Gods.
The story is good, it is simplified enough for the audience, but sophisticated enough to keep the older crowd engaged. My daughter reports that the action was “not too scary, but it was exciting, except for the parts that were a little scary but those were still alright because it was awesome.” I’d say it was very aesthetically pleasing, particularly the Hippocampus, which made the 7 year old girl sitting next to me squeal like a 7 year old girl.
I would give this film 3.5 out of 5, its highest marks are due to the references that taxed my memory, and made me pull out my books of Greek mythology. My daughter gave it one million out of 5; her highest marks were the rainbow Hippocampus, and Tyson the cyclops.