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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters review: clash-of-the-titan babies

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters yellow light Nathan Fillion Logan Lerman

Spectacularly mediocre fantasy junk food, perfectly inoffensive for youngsters but too featherweight for adult genre fans.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): was very meh on the first film

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Sea of monsters” sounds cool! Can we go there? Cuz it ain’t here. Here I count one oceangoing monster that’s not all that scary and surprisingly easily defeated, and one other mythical creature of the waves that’s actually rather nice. So we have, erm, an “environment of creatures,” then? The spectacularly mediocre Percy Jackson universe returns — yes, it’s now officially a franchise — with a tale of halfblood son-of-Poseidon Percy (Logan Lerman [The Three Musketeers], who is better than this) and his pals, not-Ron Weasley (Brandon T. Jackson: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son) and not-Hermoine Granger (Alexandra Daddario), also the halfblood offspring of ancient deities, who must hunt down the Golden Fleece of yore because yadda yadda yadda. *yawn* This is fantasy junk food at its most blah and non-nutritious, too goofy and too bloodless, literally and figuratively, to take seriously: the magical-mechanical bull attack at Percy’s secret halfblood school early in the film is a riot of supposedly intense and dangerous violence that appears to inflict not so much as scrapes and bruises among the students. While this may make the flick perfectly suited for gradeschoolers in its mild inoffensiveness, the adults accompanying them may find themselves less than engaged by a movie that is too insecure in its own storytelling to leave us to figure out what The Message is. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in three thousand years,” one god helpfully informs us, “it’s that you can’t give up on family.” Thanks for the tip. As with the first movie, it’s the grownups portraying the gods on Earth who get the juiciest bits and have the most fun with them; alas that Stanley Tucci (Jack the Giant Slayer) and Nathan Fillion (Monsters University) are onscreen for so short a time. Accidentally saddest moment: we meet a halfblood who uses his magical powers to work as… a barista. Such are the limits of Sea’s imagination and ambition.

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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)
US/Can release: Aug 7 2013
UK/Ire release: Aug 7 2013

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated UMF (contains unmagical fantasy)
MPAA: rated PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images and mild language
BBFC: rated PG (contains moderate fantasy violence and threat, and mild language)

viewed in 3D
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Karl Morton IV

    Are you sure Logan Lerman’s better than this? Not sure I’ve seen any evidence to support your assertion, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

  • Have you seen *3:10 to Yuma*?

  • RogerBW

    The first film wasn’t a stunning success — budget around $95m, domestic gross $88m, worldwide $226m, says IMDb. If that had been a film that wasn’t blandly conventional in every respect, it would certainly have been regarded as a failure.

    This whole series is a big meh for me, perhaps because I’ve read actual Greek mythology and don’t feel a need for Greek-myth fanfic.

  • Karl Morton iV

    I have, but it seems like a looooooonnnggggg time ago after seeing him in “Three Musketeers”. It’s as if he thought he was in the Sheen brothers Diznee version from the mid-90’s.

  • He’s been cast in crappy roles. I’m not giving up on him yet.

  • rosterri

    3:10 to Yuma is my favourite western and seems to have been totally overlooked.

  • Karl Morton IV

    Fair enough. :)

  • SM

    I liked it a lot better than the first one. My 12-year-old sister is a purist though, and insists that it was all WRONG because they’ve evidently decided to combine events from future books into this movie, probably because they don’t anticipate getting as many movies out of this franchise as there are books.

    I think that the film’s biggest problem is that the three main young actors are the weakest ones in it. If they’d been more charming or had more chemistry together, I think the entire adventure would have been more satisfying. The clunky narration should also have been cut.

    Nathan Fillion though… <3

  • Now to debate on what to tell my son. I went to the ultra-mediocre first one with him, and I’m sure he’d like to see this. That is, if he knew it was out. Hmmm. Do I tell him? Or just wait and end up renting it later? Because I really don’t feel like going to this.

  • SM

    It’s really not as bad as the first one. I was lassoed into taking 3 of my younger siblings, and expected boring mediocrity given how bad the first one was, but it was surprisingly enjoyable — all the actors aside from the main 3 were fun to watch, and the visuals were a lot more creative this time around.

    No pressure, though :)

  • Bluejay

    they’ve evidently decided to combine events from future books into this movie, probably because they don’t anticipate getting as many movies out of this franchise as there are books.

    Huh. Interesting. The problem with the first one was that they took out material that would have planted seeds for later, presumably for the same reason that they didn’t expect to get more movies made. And now they’re cramming stuff in for the same reason. They don’t really seem to know what they’re doing.

  • I saw the first one and thought it was boring. It was surprising they decided to make a second movie. I was expecting the this is going to be good yet learning from the comments, I think the industry made another bloopers.

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