Another week, another movie, or movies I should say as four big projects release into the cinematic world. My first review opens up with the latest book based adventure Percy Jackson and The Seas of Monster. After the last film, I didn’t expect to see a sequel follow as fans were not impressed with their rendition, as well as the actors were outgrowing the ages they were supposed to play. Thus, when I saw this announced I wondered what was in store. What were the results? Please read on to find out.
I’ll start this review by saying fans of the series need to do their best to either wipe the book from their memory temporarily or accept that they won’t follow Riordan’s timeline. Sea of Monsters has once diverged and become a tale of its own, altering the course Jackson very drastically. The tale of Thalia (Paloma Kwiatkowski) being revealed at the very beginning before we ever see Percy and the crew. This didn’t bother me so much, but movie magic was only getting started as they turned a book that had many obstacle side trips into something much more linear. Rather than overcoming obstacles to get to the destination, which sometimes as well contains hindrances to his quest, the movie decides to only have obstacles at the destination. Where Riordan comes up with creative means to solve these problems with some suspense, the movie decides to use simplistic maneuvers (hack and slash) to solve most problems. For kids they’ll love it, because it it’s exciting but not too intense, while others will be like that’s all to mighty terror. Other unfortunate rewrites take key aspects of the story out that developed the characters and merely combines these ploys or merely references it in a side-glance. I’m sure this is for time and budget purposes, but the purse strings need to come off a little more to get the balance right. As for the endgame, well it’s very anticlimactic in my opinion, lacking intensity and merely hobbled together to get a conclusion, which hints at a third movie.
Despite the plot rewrite for kids and wavering attention though, the comedy is where this movie shines. Director Thor Freudenthal and his team has injected humor into all of the characters, reflecting what the author of the series expertly did. Every character has some type of funny quality to them that made me laugh, and blended together worked well to keep the tale fun and lighthearted. Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) had the sidekick humor, making a fool of himself, shouting out an insult or two set up for jokes, and then somehow pull out a move that is impressive and yet humorous. Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) while a bit out of balance, has a few quips that are timed well to lighten the mood, though usually it’s in response to Clarisse (Leven Rambin) the over competitive Ares heir. This girl again has arrogant responses, but her humor comes in her shortcomings, where other characters have to pull her out of the fire. Percy (Logan Lerman) our noble warrior even has a few well-timed lines thrown in to the mix, often a subtle phrase to sum up the feelings. Yet the humor really shines in Tyson (Douglas Smith) and Mr. D (Stanley Tucci). Tyson is sweet, big hearted, and loveable, but the team really altered his character to play a fool that somehow screws up in the funniest way. While no Steve Urkle, the sunglass wearing fool has plenty of dialog that will have you laughing, yet not cross over into the clumsy mess of annoyance that often happens in the movie. As for Mr. D., well Tucci’s humor has always tickled my funny bone, as he naturally adapts into this character and puts his charm into again well-timed lines.
Yet the humor could not cover up some of the other mistakes this movie has. Acting wise it’s okay, but many of the characters are often too emotionally spoken out to be respected. Most of the reactions involve simply screaming, or calling for an item, and when it comes time to share inner feelings, only Smith seems to have the means to deliver it. Of course the acting/design of Luke has to be the worst, as Jake Abel seems to be an emotionless drone that just stares at the camera looking like Tom Petty. When I saw Luke in this movie, I was like oh great it’s a male Bella, which doesn’t make for a great character when compared to other villains.
Acting isn’t the only thing to take a hit, as the CGI has been sacrificed to some other plot device, most likely the 3-D editing. Many mythological forces are obviously fake, lacking any real detail, or depth to imaginary object. While some creatures that lurk in the sea do has some nice polish and glow, there are a few big story characters that look cheap, fake, and yes kiddie. I can’t elaborate more for fear of ruining, but let’s just say making every movie in 3-D where things pop out of you is getting old and cheesier with every attempt.
Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters is a fun movie, and most likely will bring joy to the children it’s designed for. Yet cheap tricks and creative laughs cannot save this movie from falling into the alright pile of the summer movies. Purists of the book need to avoid this like the plague, because from the very beginning you’ll be screaming What the heck is this crap, from the beginning. Those with an open mind can give it a shot, but I think this film is well worth the wait of Redbox or movie channels. My scores for this film are:
Movie Overall: 5.0-5.5