Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters!

Let us first admit that Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters wasn’t made for me. It’s clearly aimed at the teenage audience who may have devoured the book, rather than put out there for me to cynically make fun of. And yet, if Percy Jackson is a fantasy series worthy of being adapted into multiple movies then shouldn’t it have the broad crossover appeal of something like Harry Potter or The Hobbit? Sadly it does not. Simplistic and bland, Sea of Monsters had me struggling to stay awake, despite how many rampaging mythological creatures they threw at the screen. (And the sea didn’t even have very many monsters in it! What a scam!).

So let’s punch Percy in the nob... after the jump!

So apparently the Gods of Olympus are real, they like to fly down and bang the Earth wimmenz, and they don’t wear protection. The resulting children are Half-Bloods with super God powers who hang out at a camp in the woods and play Nickelodeon style extreme sports. Percy Jackson is the bastard son of Poseidon and the film opens with him moping as he doubts his worth and abilities. Did he save the world in the last film because he was truly a hero or was it just dumb animal luck? And why won’t his dad return any of his calls? And by "calls" I mean that he talks to a lake.

In fact none of the cast of Gods return from the first film (including Sean Bean as Zeus) wisely preferring to sit this one out. Instead, all we get is a single scene of a portly Nathan Fillion as Hermes, who uses his brief appearance to hand over a forgettable macguffin and make an on-the-nose reference about good TV shows being cancelled. This is like casting Bob Saget and asking him to reminisce about Full House.

So a tree that grew out of a dead girl is dying and the barrier that protects Camp Nickelodeon has disappeared, so Percy and his bland pals Annabeth and goat-legged Grover, must journey through the Sea of Monsters to find the Golden Fleece, which apparently can heal trees. Meanwhile, evil rival Luke wants the Fleece to resurrect the Titan, Kronos, father of the Gods because... well... why not? Will Percy and friends succeed in crushing Luke's evil scheme? Yeah! Of course!

In these types of films the plot can afford to be relatively disposable, but the biggest problem Sea of Monsters faces is that there’s nothing particularly likeable or memorable about its central characters who clearly lack a compelling chemistry together. Percy is a boring protagonist who hogs all the action but can be outright moronic when it comes to actually constructing a plan. At one point, as a raging mechanical bull tears relentlessly through the camp, Percy throws a grappling hook at it and then seems surprised that he is painfully dragged along behind it and winds up battered and bruised. WTF were you trying to do, Percy? It makes about as much sense as lassoing a bus!

Meanwhile tag-alongs Grover and Annabeth do absolutely nothing, Annabeth’s role being particularly thankless this time around because not only is she useless, but she’s also now incredibly racist. Percy discovers he has a half-brother, Tyson, who is a cyclops because horny Poseidon once banged a nymph. (More like a nymphomaniac, am-I-rite-u-guyz!??). Tyson travels with them so Annabeth spends half the movie saying, “Why did you bring that dirty cyclops!? I hate cyclopes! Those filthy, no good cyclopes are going to steal all our jobs!” Spoilers: it turns out that she hates them because a cyclops once killed some girl. So, if anyone of a different ethnicity ever wrongs you, then it’s perfectly fine in Annabeth’s book to therby hate everyone of that particular race. Her entire character arc appears to be the dopey long-time-coming realisation of, “Ohhhh... maybe I actually shouldn’t be so racist”. But only after the dorky cyclops nearly dies trying to protect her good looking friends.

In spite of all this silliness, the film overall is reasonably inoffensive, unfortunately to the point of tedium. There are some cool creature designs and one particularly inspired animated sequence, but it’s a shame that none of these flashes of interest manage to amount to very much. Even the final monster is dispatched in such a simple and obvious way that you wonder why Jackson even bothered to leave the house. I was beginning to wonder the exact same thing myself. 

I can't even speak to whether the film would appease readers of the books. My gut feeling is that even the most staunch Jackson fan would be disappointed (unless, perhaps, they were too young to be discerning). None of our group that attended loved the first film, but had enough campy fun to see what happened next. Not much happened next. Not recommended.

SIDE NOTE: I've said this before and I must reiterate it again. Being a centaur would be extremely emasculating! You are standing there with no pants and your front legs make it look like you have a smooth, Ken-like mound where your genitals will be. Meanwhile your penis is about a meter behind you. Wretched!


  1. The actors were great, the dialogue was good except for some corny parts that definitely needed a look over. The story is simply perfect and the whole rating of the movie was good. You would love this movie if you really liked the first part. Definitely a Film Series worth watching.

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