Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (PG)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner8/08/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (3D) lacks both the star power and the dramatic impact of 2010's Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief but it remains a watchable sequel thanks to likeable characters, pacey direction and the odd comic touch in the script.

What's it all about?
Directed by Thor Freudenthal, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is the sequel to the 2010 fantasy hit, based on the novel by Rick Riordan. The film begins with teen demigod Percy Jackson discovering that he has a teenage cyclops half-brother named Tyson (Douglas Smith), thanks to his father Poseidon's union with a sea nymph. However, no sooner has he adjusted to that information than the magical tree barrier protecting their Half-blood camp is poisoned and Percy and his friends are attacked by a terrifying mechanical bull.

When it transpires that Lightning Thief Luke (Jake Abel) is both behind the attack and planning to resurrect the demon Chronos using the legendary Golden Fleece, Mr D (Stanley Tucci as Dionysus) dispatches Percy's aggressive female rival Clarisse (Leven Rambin) to retrieve the Fleece in order to heal the tree barrier. However, Percy discovers a prophecy that makes him think he belongs on the quest, so he takes off in pursuit of Clarisse, aided by his half-brother Tyson and his friends Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario).

The Good
Lerman's likeable, fresh-faced charm hasn't diminished since the first film and he makes a solid lead here, aided by strong supporting performances from Jackson and Daddario. There are also engaging turns from the likes of Rambin, Tucci and Nathan Fillion (in an enjoyable cameo as Hermes), though the film lacks the star power of the first film.

Freudenthal keeps things moving at a decent pace throughout and ensures that the action sequences are decent enough with a palpable sense of danger, considering the film's PG rating. Similarly, the script has some amusing notes of humour, though the presence of Anthony Stewart Head (replacing Pierce Brosnan as centaur mentor Chiron) and Nathan Fillion makes you long for the presence of Joss Whedon, since the film is clearly striving for something of a Buffy vibe.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that, although nominally a sequel, it feels smaller than the first film in every way, almost as if it was originally destined to go straight to DVD. As a result, it lacks the emotional impact of the first film (a bit of teenage angst wouldn't go amiss) and the CGI effects occasionally look a little dodgy.

On top of that, the 3D effects add nothing at all to the film, while the irritating amount of product placement is both irrelevant and liable to horrifically date the film in a few years time (one particular demigod's iPad already seems horribly out of place in Half-blood Camp).

Worth seeing?
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (3D) is a watchable sequel enlivened by strong performances, decent action and the occasional comic touch in the script, but it's not as much fun as the first film.

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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (PG)
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Content updated: 18/10/2019 06:18

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