Stars: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Jake Abel, Anthony Head, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion | Written by Marc Guggenheim | Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Now I’ll begin by telling you that before going into the cinema and taking my seat to watch Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, I wasn’t exactly excited or filled with confidence that I was about to watch some sort of groundbreaking fantasy film. I saw the first movie and it was what it was, an easy-going if ultimately flawed fantasy picture with plenty of charm to keep it from being terrible. I expected pretty much the same from the sequel, and that’s pretty much what I feel was given to me.
I haven’t read the book series, but I know plenty of people who have and they assure me that the movies are nothing like the books and that many of the book fanatics are extremely disappointed with the on-screen adaptations of their beloved fantasy novels.
I’m a forgiving guy. I see plenty of books to movie adaptations and the movies, more often than not, are nothing like the books. I forgive it most of the time, after all, not all directors are even intending for the films to be shot-for-shot adaps, rather… their versions of the books put to screen with lots of added bits and bobs. Odds and sods. Yeah.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, in my view, is one of those films. It intends to give the jist of the book content while adding its own motion picture magic, and added stories to try to interest those viewers who might not be book readers. It’s happened plenty of times with plenty of stories and it will continue to happen. We can’t all get films like The Road which is almost identical to the beautiful novel by Cormac McCarthy that you’d be forgiven for thinking that perhaps Cormac himself was behind the camera.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is a story that feels well trodden, a story I felt like I’d seen before, read before, heard before, in a variety of ways, since I was a child. A son of a God takes on a mission, along with his loyal friends, to go and find a golden fleece that is required to save his homeland and stop an evil from rising. It sounds like many fantasy stories we’ve seen before, a young man attempting to overcome evil and save his friends and home in the process. We’ll, no doubt, see this story rewritten and re-released in various ways until the end of time, and I guess I’m ok with that, after all…it’s one of those concepts that is so old and so broad, it can appear fresh even when it isn’t.
Percy, played by Logan Lerman, is the main character and holds the group of young warriors together. Lerman is a decent actor, a fact he proved in the excellent Perks of Being a Wallflower last year, and he is decent here too, though I couldn’t help feeling that he doesn’t get enough chance to show off his skills in these sorts of roles. I hope more serious and dramatic roles are offered to him in the future because he has a likeability and realism to his performances that works well in those dramatic roles.
The supporting cast are good, with a really funny and nerdy bit-part from Whedon-mainstay Nathan Fillion who throws in some dialogue that will make us geeks and fans of Firefly giggle in our seats. Anthony Head and Stanley Tucci bring some strong wisdom to the film that is needed when most of the actors are younger and less experienced. However, it is Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D, HallPass) that stands out in many scenes, much like she did in the first movie. Her role is interesting and tough and gives a lot for the other characters to play off.
At the end of the day this is just another young-adult fantasy movie that is very watchable yet nothing that is going to blow you away. There are some great special effects, which are to be expected, and some of the dialogue is genuinely funny, but you can’t help but feel a little flat when it’s all said and done. If they make a third film, which I imagine they will, I can see it being more of the same. I can’t help but think to myself though, could it really be any better? I don’t know. How many ways can you tell a story that is soaked in the water of thousands that wet the path before it?
It wasn’t bad, Fillion stood out as the star and he was only in the film for two minutes, and hey…not all movies have to be groundbreaking, inspirational works of art. I can’t recommend it, but I can’t say I hated it either. It was ok. Sometimes ok is, well, ok.