Percy Jackson : Sea of Monsters  (2013)    51/100

Rating :   51/100                                                                     106 Min        PG

The sequel to 2010’s ‘Percy Jackson & The lightning Thief’ sees most of the cast return for the next adventure, although Anthony Head has replaced Pierce Brosnan as Chiron the centaur. It’s based on the novel by Rick Riordan, part of a five book series focusing on main character Percy Jackson, the half human son of Poseidon, and his adventures with best buds Grover, a satyr, and Annabeth, the half human daughter of Athena (each played by Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson and Alexandra Daddario {Texas Chainsaw 3D} respectively). This time around, the intrepid trio must make their way to ‘The Sea of Monsters’, which in human terms is just the Bermuda Triangle, to find the Golden Fleece of myth, apparently significantly relocated since Jason quested for it in the Black Sea millennia ago, as only the Fleece’s regenerative powers can save the tree that protects Camp Half-Blood from the poison it is infected with. But the dastardly devil who infected said tree (just like in the Harry Potter series, it is in fact the same bad guy from the previous instalment) also intends on using the Fleece – to ‘revive’ Kronos, father of the gods and ruler of all before his children usurped and murdered him.

Yes, the story really is that shit. Not only that, but reviving Kronos was also the central plot for 2012’s ‘Wrath of the Titans’. Indeed, the villain here had only to not poison the protective tree, and thus not also send the heroes off after the Fleece, to be able to track down the object of his desire in a pleasant and unhurried manner. However, the story could be forgiven its various sillinesses, were it not for most of the rest of the film misfiring too. Percy has hero doubts/daddy issues as Poseidon won’t talk to him (perhaps so they wouldn’t have to pay an actor to play him again) and realises he has a brother, courtesy of the god of the oceans having his way with a nymph (if it’s anything like the real Greek myths, this means he raped her), the result of which, bizarrely, is a half human, half cyclops called Tyson, that everyone picks on. For families and youngsters the adventure and very crude and obvious character development is probably fine, and may indeed even prove suitably entertaining, but for anyone older this is not going to hold their attention for very long.

The special effects are also a let down in several key areas, perhaps nowhere more so than in the animation of Tyson’s solitary eye, which at no point really looks convincing. The concept of Greek mythology in a modern day setting isn’t really so bad, but it’s just delivered in a sort of lame ‘Scooby Doo’ manner, and much like the other modern day bastardisations of one of the most fundamental literary resources of western civilisation (of which, 2011’s ‘Immortals’ is by far and away the worst example) it scrambles to fit in all of the most extreme characters from the source material. It’s crazy, and completely unnecessary – the myths have so much scope within them that you would never in a million years run out of stories to tell and epic films to create. Much better to focus on the small scale, build some characters up and then throw them into historical context, modern day or ancient, combined with one or two detailed elements from mythology. Indeed, here, for the son of Poseidon, Jackson certainly forgets to use his powers an awful lot, not to mention his staring into space digesting the scene while he really should be, Olympus forbid, doing something heroic.

A couple of nice touches exist – Nathan Fillion appears as Hermes and bemoans the death of an unfairly cancelled TV show (he was the captain, Mal, of the ship Serenity on Joss Whedon’s cancelled masterpiece ‘Firefly’ of course) and when they end up on an abandoned but still operating fairground ride, two of them start humming ‘It’s a small world’, which is the song that plays incessantly on the rides of the same name at Disneyland (The Red Dragon was once on the Paris version of this when it broke down, but THE SINGING CONTINUED. For quite some time. I suspect foul play by sick minded teen operators). This is an adaptation of the second book in the series, so the assumption has to be they were hoping to milk the franchise and get all five of them out there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to curtail it at three, and just mash the best bits of the final three books together.

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