When in times of great calamity and strife, when the world is on the brink of disaster at the hands of some terrible power, what message does one send, exactly, when a group of teenagers are sent to save the day? Granted, they are half-blood descendants of Greek Gods endowed with special powers, but still.
Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), fresh off his last quest involving some lightning (I had to check because I forgot the name), has to band together with his demigod/half-blood friends to retrieve the Golden Fleece – a magical cloak with healing powers that can save their home from destruction and perhaps prevent the resurrection of the god Kronos.
This is definitely targeted at the youngsters. If you’re a parent taking your kids, then fear not – you may find that it’s just entertaining enough and nice to look at with decent CGI, to not make the trip unbearable.
The Bottom Line
There are quite a few problems with this film, like the way they mesh a modern teen film with the old Greek mythology and the predictability of the storyline to name two. The film can’t really decide how to regard itself and awkwardly struggles to find a balance. One comment in the film was “the Christians have a God that can do this trick with his eyes closed…now there’s a God” – which suggests that they don’t want to take themselves too seriously (and understandably so). The problem though, is that you fail to really buy into the story, because as mentioned above, it can’t be all that bad if a bunch of teenagers are regarded as suitable defense against catastrophe – hence it lacks that true sense of impending doom and dread.
I also felt that a number of the characterizations were very familiar (it is a teen movie after all – so there are bound to be some stereotypical teen characters).
All of these loose elements mean that the Percy Jackson franchise fails to stand toe to toe with other big budget teen fantasy films.
On the positive side the film isn’t necessary bad, (it’s just not all too memorable, kind of like those recent Clash and Wrath of Titans films), the acting is decent (with a fun cameo by Nathan Fillion) and so are the special effects.
Ultimately though, it all feels a bit run-of-the-mill, even for Percy. And, without giving too much away – early on there’s this fight scene with a bull – it is disconcerting how, just like in those Titan movies, the big and fearsome monsters seem to be easily defeated, or have some kind of simple main weakness. This element inevitably betrays the story and downplays the hero’s role in making it special.
So, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters may be good to look at with fast paced action designed to amaze and distract the youthful masses, but (due to a lack of commitment) it fails to convince on many levels once you look beyond the glossy surface.
I’ve thus given it two ratings: one general, and one for its intended target market.