There were problems with the first Percy Jackson film – it was a really bad Xerox copy of Harry Potter. It’s been three years since the first film and one would imagine Hollywood would learn from its mistakes and make the sequel unique and interesting. Sadly Sea of Monsters is also a really terrible copy of Harry Potter, and with worse looking visual effects that the first film.
I do not know how closely Sea of Monsters follows Rick Riordan’s book on which it is based, but the film is such an uninspired, inconsequential waste of resources it doesn’t really matter. It’s hard to figure out whom the film was made for. It’s certainly not for kids because most of the jokes and the story are young adult based, but it’s not a date movie for young adults because the romantic angle is practically nonexistent and the CGI is lame, and it’s certainly not for adults because no self-respecting adult with a day job would step into a movie theater playing such cinematic drivel.
I deign to get into the story details not because I don’t remember much of it but because it would mean crediting the screenwriter for something he didn’t do. What I will mention is that it is a miracle that writer Marc Guggenheim got another job in Hollywood after lending his skills in Green Lantern.
Director Thor Freudenthal fortunately makes the wise choice of keeping the runtime short and the film mostly action packed and urgent. But like in the first film the ancient Greek mythology set in the modern world just doesn’t work on any comedic, fantasy or narrative level. The film looks way too cartoonish but pretends to have an air of seriousness throughout, it makes for a series of very clumsily staged scenes. It is frustrating that a film named Sea of Monsters doesn’t deliver the titular goods - the tiny sea monster battle in Beowulf was more epic than this entire film. Moreover, the big finale is an assault of special effects that is huge in scope but fails miserably because of the less than spectacular 3D conversion.
The film’s star Logan Lerman is a massive talent, he was absolutely terrific in last year’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and he seems to be annoyed with being stuck in a contract in this film. He’s got Darren Aronofsky’s Noah lined up and he makes it clear in Sea of Monsters that he couldn’t give a damn if the film bombs.
(First published in MiD Day)