Director: Thor Fruedenthal
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Brandon T. Jackson, Stanley Tucci, Nathon Fillion
Written by: Marc Guggenheim and (based on the book Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Sea Of Monsters) Rick Riordan
Running Time: 106 mins
Release date: 7th August 2013
Three years ago, a modest (in the scale of most children’s blockbusters) adventure was released called Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief. This was a fun, sometimes exciting film based on the best selling series by Rick Riordan that could be the replacement for Harry Potter (even though it was directed by Potter’s first helmer Chris Columbus). Now we have the sequel. Columbus is now a producer and has handed over the film to the aptly named Thor Fruedenthal. Alas his directing style matches his name…heavy handed. With a sequel that doesn’t match the original.
Percy Jackson, human son of Poseidon, is now living in a camp filled with Olympians, guarded by a force field from a tree made from the soul of Zeus’ dead daughter. Then the tree is poisoned, the only way to save their very existence is to go on a quest for The Golden Fleece, hidden somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle or The Sea Of Monsters. Along with his friends, Annabeth, Grover and new half-brother, the cyclops Tyson, they go on the adventure only to face all kinds of creatures as well as a foe from the past.
This seems like a low-grade sequel compared to the original. Gone are the big names (the first film had Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman and Sean Bean). In come the likes of Stanley Tucci (always reliably good), Nathan Fillion (who manages to do here what he did in Much Ado About Nothing…waltz in and steal the film with a short cameo as Hades) and Buffy star Anthony Head. This should tell you much.
It lacks the charm, the humour and even the excitement of the original. It’s like we are watching the cast act in a film that was made by committee who only wanted to reap the benefits from the first film. Even though this is based on a solid source material, it looks more like a desperate attempt to take Harry Potter’s crown but with the quality on show, there’s no chance of that.
So what is wrong with it? Firstly, the effects look like they were produced in the 90s. Technology has moved on so much that you should believe in what you are watching and no see the strings, in the sense of the word. The scene in which Percy travels on a sea creature is so badly executed, you find yourself almost laughing. It’s not good enough for a film with such a big budget.
The film, lacking in the star-quality, relies more heavily on the young actors and as good as they are (Logan Lerman makes for a likeable lead) it does need the screen persona of a leading man/woman.
It also lacks any real excitement. The creatures that attack aren’t scary enough for the kids to be shocked and look like rejects from old 70s mythology films. Also having two Titans dealing with the same subject matter, it makes it all seem unoriginal and uninspiring.
It’s not awful by a long shot but when you compare it to the first film, this is a huge letdown and I will be surprised if they make a third as I get the feeling this might be the last film in the series. Shame because this had potential. It would never reach the heights of Harry Potter but to be honest, they shouldn’t even have tried.