Two years ago, I sat down in front of a television with a few friends and watched a film called Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. All I knew about it at the time was that it was based on a popular series of children’s books by author Rick Riordan. And what do I remember about the movie two years later?
Well . . . Uma Thurman was Medusa. Either that’s a sign of how bad her career has gotten or she was born to play that role. Sean Bean was Zeus and didn’t die. The gateway to hell is in Hollywood. And I’m pretty sure the main characters were on drugs the whole time they were in Las Vegas. And yeah, that’s pretty much it for a two-hour movie. Not all that remarkable. And now, they’re making a sequel.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters follows the title character and his friends on yet another ill-advised quest to avoid the wrath of the gods, or in this case, something far worse. Is it a fun fantasy flick that will stick with you, or does it fall short of Olympian standards? Let’s take a look at the trailer and find out. (To follow along, click here.)
All the main characters of the original cast are back. Logan Lerman, who plays Percy Jackson, has also starred in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Three Musketeers, and 3:10 to Yuma. Alexandra Daddario reprises her role as Annabeth, has also been in Hall Pass, several episodes of Law and Order and White Collar, and Texas Chainsaw 3D. And Brandon T. Jackson, portraying Grover, has also worked on the films Tropic Thunder, Fast & Furious, and Lottery Ticket. I’m also excited for minor roles from Nathan Fillion, Anthony Head, and Stanley Tucci.
The director is Thor Freudenthal, responsible for the films Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Hotel for Dogs. I haven’t seen either one so I’m not sure how he affects this film, but taking what I know about the tone of these two movies and applying it to a movie about the children of Greek gods . . . well, it’s not exactly encouraging.
The trailer starts with Percy giving us the rundown of what it means to be a Halfblood. For those of you who didn’t watch the first movie (or those of you who, like me, remember nothing about it) this is everything you need to know. Then a wave of blue light sweeps toward Camp Halfblood. “What is that?” someone asks. It’s a wave of blue light. I should think that much is obvious.
Apparently, this blue light means that Kronos is about to be awakened. For those of us not up on Greek mythology, Kronos was destroyed by his sons Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, but now he’s fated to rise again. I guess the gods didn’t do a very good job if defeating him once wasn’t enough. “The only thing that can save us is the Golden Fleece,” we’re told. Because Kronos has a thing for wooly jumpers made of bling. This supernatural sweater can be found in the Sea of Monsters, also known as the Bermuda Triangle. Funny, I thought that was where Jules Verne’s island full of giant animals was.
No one saw that movie either, huh?
The mission calls for the best warrior the Halfbloods have: Ares’s daughter, Clarice. Yeah, we know she’s gonna flop. It’s in her contract, if your name isn’t in the title, you can’t be the hero of the story. Why don’t we just send the God of War instead of his daughter? You know, make sure things are done right the first time? Clarice tells Percy not to feel bad about always coming in second, to which Percy replies, “You actually do have a sense of humor.” Am I missing something? Where was the joke? Is it that he doesn’t feel bad about coming in second? Is it that he doesn’t come in second, despite clearly being second choice for this mission? Because if that’s what Percy thinks is a joke . . . it wasn’t funny.
But since Percy can’t go after the Golden Fleece, he goes after the Golden Fleece and drags his two best friends and one new guy along with him. Four unsanctioned, unsupervised teens going off to brave a sea full of creatures that want to pulverize them in order to bring back a shiny sweater. What could possibly go wrong? They catch a ride in a New York taxi cab known as The Chariot of Damnation. It’s like the Knight Bus from Harry Potter 3, only somehow more dangerous.
The bad guy from the last movie warns, “We will resurrect Kronos, and the Olympians will know death.” Yeah, did you miss the part of the prophecy where after Olympus, Kronos is coming after the world? You clearly didn’t think this through. Also, Kronos ate the gods and they still didn’t die. I think they’ll be okay. You, on the other hand. . .
The teens hunt down Hermes, played by Nathan Fillion, for help, because when all else fails, trust Captain Mal Reynolds to save the day. Okay, wrong movie, but he does give them a can packed full of the winds from the four corners of the earth. And then Annabeth tries to crack open the can inside. Why is she on this incredibly dangerous mission again?
And as the trailer climaxes, we see lots of mystical creatures, including the Water Horse (Please tell me someone’s seen that film; that one was actually a decent movie) a manticore, a Transformer bull with a triple buzz saw for a tongue, and the Kraken (from Pirates of the Caribbean, not from Clash of the Titans, which is ironic since the latter is actually a part of culturally accepted Greek lore).
So based on the trailer, would I recommend this movie? Eh, maybe. The trailer makes it look like fun and it’s got the benefit of some good actors, but I can’t help but remember how little impact the last film had on me. For some people, it may be worth watching once, but others may be happier reading the book this movie is based on or tracking down a copy of the classic film Jason and the Argonauts, which has a remarkably similar premise. Will I see it? Again, maybe once when it comes out on DVD, but definitely not in theaters. I don’t know how I feel about this movie. My brain is still trying to determine whether Uma Thurman as Medusa is horrifying or brilliant.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is owned by 20th Century Fox.