Eye For Film >> Movies >> Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters (2013) Film Review
Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
When it comes to staying power, you have to hand it to Greek mythology. Its tales of adventure, half-human hybrids, monsters and metamorphosis continue to captivate generation after generation who come into contact with them. Which makes the fact that Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters is so dull even more criminal. Quest story arcs should, arguably, be some of the easiest to handle - starting at one place, proceeding through monsters and life lessons until they end up with some sort of 'boss' showdown. Yet director Thor Fredenthal and writer Marc Guggenheim, whose backgrounds in the more episodic land of television are all too evident, leapfrog from event to event, as though there were advert breaks in the action that allow them to 'cheat' in terms of where they place the cast.
The story, such as it is, joins demi-god Percy (Logan Lerman) and his pals as they practice their skills and try to stay out of trouble at Camp Half-Blood - which feels like one-part Hobbiton and two-parts Buffy. When the tree that provides protection for the camp starts to die, courtesy of some no-good shenanigans from bad boy son of Hermes, Luke (Jake Abel), Percy and his entourage embark on a quest to find the Golden Fleece, which is said to have the power to cure anything. While Grover (Brandon T Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) are old comrades, Percy also finds his newly-discovered half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith) is eager to help him on his mission. The only problem being that Tyson is half-nymph, half-deity which makes him a cyclops, a lineage that apparently means he is more than clumsy and less than popular.
Events follow in stacatto fashion - one minute we're taking an interminable taxi ride with a reimagining of the Graeae (one eye between three of them, much arguing, few laughs), the next we're transported, though only the gods know how, to Florida to watch Percy hop on a hippocampus. By far the most memorable sequence is a played-for-laughs interlude with Nathan Fillon's Hermes - sometime messenger of the gods, full-time UPS man. This myth and match approach means that something is happening almost all of the time although very little of it is furthering the story and the film also suffers, as The Wolverine did, from the lack of a coherent, weighty villain.
The action sequences are reasonably handled - although shelling out for the 3D unecessary - but there's nothing here that most kids won't have seen before and it lacks the emotional bite of franchises such as Harry Potter. The decision to keep Tyson in sun specs or morph him into a 'regular' eyed kid with a special spray for most of the runtime, also feels like a penny-pinching cop-out - plus, how can he see with the bridge of those specs right over his eye? The film may have one or two moments, usually when one of veteran actors, such as Stanley Tucci or Anthony Head are around, but the younger characters and those taking on the roles are never more than bland or workmanlike. There are five books in the Percy Jackson series, so perhaps there's time yet for this franchise to shake off it's watered down feel and make a lasting mark. Better start praying to Poseidon.Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2013