I Saw A Film Today… Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

percyjacksonThere are two notes that should be taken into account here: 1) I had no plans on seeing Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters tonight. I was wholly intent on seeing Aubrey Plaza’s R-rated romp The To Do List; that was until my local decided Mr. Jackson needed an early ten o’clock showing hours beforehand. 2) I have not, nor do I plan to after this screening, seen the original Percy Jackson film. My question is after seeing this film is, when did the young adult genre become the pre-teen genre?

Young Percy Jackson (logan Lerman), following the events in The Lightening Thief, lives on an island on Camp Half-Blood. No really, that is what it is called. Here, all the offsprings of Olympian gods and unwilling humans can frolic and participate in physical activities, all while being protected by a tree that cast a protective barrier around the camp. Nothing can penetrate it.

When someone poisons the tree (huh, that simple apparently) and a giant mechanical bull penetrates the protective barrier and terrorizes the camp, Percy learns that he is part of a prophecy that will either save or destroy Olympus.  In order to save the camp, Perc needs to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Sea of Monsters, assisted by his friends Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario).

If there is one good thing to say about Sea of Monsters, is that it is packed with plenty of… well… stuff. I wouldn’t really say action, even though there is a good amount of it here, albeit poorly crafted and unnecessary. And I wouldn’t say there is a lot of drama. That is unless we are talking about teen drama, which there is certainly some here. There isn’t much story or exposition either, and the bit that is in it is highly predictable.

Really, there is just… stuff. The whole movie revolves around trying to get from Camp Half-Blood to the Sea of Monsters, and obviously there should be some shenanigans in between there. But this film seems to go out of its way to manufacture high-jinks just to stretch this film out into a nearly two-hour film. Coming off the climax of this film, one of the main characters is “killed” by a tiger/scorpion thing for no real reason other than to tack a couple of extra minutes on. You know they are not going to die, the director just wanted to drop a “surprise” drama bomb.

What was the most painful thing to sit through was the numerous failed attempts at humor. Time and time again, recycled and agonizing little jokes pepper throughout, and none of them will conjure a laugh that is sincere or because the material is humorous. Well, that is not true. There is one from Nathan Fillion. But I’m guessing 90% percent of the target Sea of Monsters market have ever seen/know of the show Firefly, so… yeah.

There were some positives from the casting, mainly Stanley Tucci. But sadly Stan the Man has a whopping six minutes of screen time presence, plus or minus. I do like Logan Lerman- just not here. His dowdy daddy-issues are just annoying and in the end don’t contribute to the story much. And the supporting cast isn’t bad either I imagine, if in another setting possibly. The two female leads, Leven Rambin and Alexandra Daddario, could be great action leads. Could be. But the main villain here, Jake Abel, is neither scary nor interesting. He kind of just looks like a spoiled rich kid that had his Maserati taken away and in retaliation wants to bring Kronos back to life.

There really isn’t much to like about this sequel, mainly because there really isn’t an age group aimed towards it. Sure, the people who have read the books will come out to see it, but I have a feeling that they will walk away with a bad taste in their mouth. And it’s not really for teens or pre-teens because it’s just too kiddish for them to enjoy. But I imagine this to be a little much for the kids also. Who’s left?

Verdict: Skip it!

*Rated PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images, and mild language. 110 minutes. Directed by Thor Freudenthal (Hotel For Dogs, Diary of A Wimpy Kid).

** Thanks to Cody for suffering through this with me. I know it wasn’t easy.

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