Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is the sequel to the 2010 film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief more than an adaptation of novel. The fame Percy Jackson gained for restoring Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt has faded, and Percy has slipped back into the groove of being the underdog in the Camp Half-blood games. There are new rivalries and old enemies to deal with, and Percy discovers he has a cyclops brother. Luke is back to be evilly evil and stuff, too.
In fact, Luke poisons Thalia, the daughter of Zeus who gave her life years ago to defend the camp from marauding cyclops. I realize that sentence doesn’t make sense, but in the world of gods death is meaningless. Zeus felt bad for Thalia, so instead of bringing his daughter back from the dead to live a life of abandonment with daddy issues, he turned her into a magical protecting tree for Camp Half-blood. Poisoning her is a big deal.
Fortunately, Annabeth remembers that the Golden Fleece can cure anything, even magical people trees. Unfortunately, nobody knows where it is, and everybody who attempted to find it never returned. So, of course, our intrepid band of kids must set out on a quest.
You may be getting an idea of why this movie was universally panned by the critics. There are a lot of convenient plot twists and senseless quest moments in the story, but let’s consider why this movie earned over $188 million dollars world wide and enchanted my daughters so overwhelmingly that they made me take a blood oath that I would purchase the movie for them this Christmas so that they could watch it over and over and over again.
The cast is made up of beautiful people, especially in the form of Logan Lerman as Percy. Lerman is charismatic in the role and entertaining to watch. He makes the movie happen. The actors that played Grover and Annabeth weren’t given much to work with, but they fill out their roles to help Percy get where he needs to go. Annabeth’s character was turned from dazzling and intelligent warrior into squishy cheerleader for Percy Jackson—a disappointment for fans of strong female leads—but she was still beautiful and sympathetic.
The special effects were epic, especially in the Sea of Monsters. The soundtrack was excellent and supported the scenes adeptly, and the dialog was fun and zippy. The story captured the escapist awe for youth desperate for something larger than life to happen to them.
In short, the movie was fun. It had a good balance between adventure and peril. For instance, when the kids were trying to escape with the Golden Fleece, you never feared for their lives as they tried to avoid Polyphemus the cyclops because they were playing keep-away. Yet when Percy took on Kronos, father of the gods, the sense of peril was heightened once friends started falling one by one and only Percy could save the day. These scenes in particular thrilled my girls.
I felt that some scenes were just better in the novel. Grover in drag as the Polyphemus’ sweetie was much funnier on the page than on screen, and the cab ride with the Fates was tiresome, pointless, and stretched credibility. In fact, the movie was much safer than the book.
However, I can see why my girls were enraptured with the movie, and your kids are likely to enjoy it as well. Children aren’t bothered by convenient plot points because the plot points are new to them. And the actors do have fun in their roles, so relax and enjoy the ride. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is nowhere near as bad as critics made it out to be. Turn off your adult mind and try to be a kid again. You’ll likely enjoy yourself.
Release Date: August 7, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: 1 (a couple d-words)
Violence: 2 (sword fighting, monster animal cruelty and slaughter (the poor things), cannibalism, death)