Movie Reviews

'Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters': Harry Potter-wannabe is an adequate fantasy-adventure film.

By Anjali RaguramanMovies - 31 August 2013 12:00 AM | Updated 03 September 2013

'Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters': Harry Potter-wannabe is an adequate fantasy-adventure film.

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Rating: 3 out of 5

After discovering that he is the teenaged demi-god heir of Poseidon (Greek god of the sea) and retrieving the stolen lightning bolt of Zeus (ruler of the gods) in ‘Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ , Percy and his friends return to the mythical Camp Half-Blood for this sequel.

This time, he has to save the ailing tree that protects the camp, a safe haven for all the demi-gods. The only way is to search the Sea of Monsters (conveniently located in the mythical Bermuda triangle) for the famed Golden Fleece.

While it possesses the power to revive the tree, it also has the ability to bring back to life an ancient foe capable of destroying Mount Olympus ­– meaning they are not the only ones going after it.

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The young demigods in action

Logan Lerman returns as Percy, along with his pals Grover (Brandon T Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandria Daddario). While Clarisse (Leven Rambin), the demi-god daughter of Ares (God of War) is chosen to go on the quest to retrieve the fleece, Percy and his best friends decide to take matters in to their own hands. They sneak off and are joined by his half-brother, half-Cyclops, Tyson (Douglas Smith).

From there on, good luck keeping up with the rapid introduction of new creatures and villains at every turn, from a mechanical bull to a trio of eyeless taxi drivers to zombies.

QUICK PACE

Between keeping track of the Greek myths being referenced and following the quick pace of the action, it could all get a bit overwhelming.

But the plot cleverly weaves them in to great effect, keeping them current and relatable in a modern setting.

Hermes (Nathan Fillion), messenger of the gods, gets an update as the manager of a UPS-style post office called the Olympic Postal Service. While Lerman carries the film among a pantheon of rather one-note characters, the five-minute scene with Fillion is easily the highlight of the film.

Even the climactic showdown between Percy and villainous Luke (Jake Abel) is underwhelming. The resurrection of Chronos, an ancient foe, almost feels like an afterthought.

Like the 'Harry Potter' series, the movie is based on a set of well-loved young adult novels, ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ by American author Rick Riordan. But like ‘The Mortal Instruments’ or ‘Beautiful Creatures’, it is by no means a viable contender for the gap in the young adult market left behind by the 'Harry Potter' films.

While director Thor Freudanthal may not have a laundry list of credentials to his name, he has definitely succeeded at making an accessible movie for young audiences.

Even though the special effects and CGI were sub-par, the 3D experience does make you feel like you are in the thick of the action. You are literally dragged along for the ride, in the belly of the beast. There is also a brilliantly executed stained-glass flashback scene.

With the dearth of fantasy-adventure films, and the lull after the US summer blockbuster season until the highly anticipated 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' later this year, this 'Percy Jackson' sequel is adequate as filler.

It is entertaining family fare at the very least.

'Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters' is now showing in cinemas