Title: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
HTS Overall Score:72
When we last saw Percy Jackson he was busy discovering his Half-Blood linage, meeting loads of other Demigods at a safe-haven called Camp Half-Blood, saving his mother from the grip of Hades in the bowels of the Underworld, returning Zeus’ Lightning Bolt, and meeting his nemesis named Luke (a fellow Half-Blooder gone wrong)...all in a short two hours of film calamity. For those of you not indoctrinated with the tale of Percy Jackson, prepare to scratch your head. He’s a boy created by the mind of author Rick Riordan who wrote the hefty Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that rides on the coattails of the mega-popular Harry Potter saga. Percy, however, isn’t a Wizard but a Demigod (what Riordan refers to as a Half-Blood) born of a human mother and sired by a Greek God. In Percy’s case, his father is Poseidon whose domain is the ocean. Without boring you to tears, the parallels between the two series are strikingly similar. Both Percy and Harry are born ignorant of their own powers, protected and hidden until they are outed and whisked-away to the safety of institutions where they train their ways, befriended by two primary characters to create a trio (a boy and a girl), and have a nemesis that is also a peer.
Riordan isn’t guilty of a total ripoff, but there’s definitely a similar feel shared by the two sagas. Of course, the Percy Jackson books have achieved their own acclaim, which lends the series a unique credibility. This goes without mentioning that the first two Percy Jackson films have grossed over $300 million worldwide since the 2010 release of the Lightning Thief (obviously Riordan’s fantasy world has attracted some attention).
Sea of Monsters finds Percy back at Camp Half-Blood questioning whether his successes are exceptional or simply triumphs resulting from the help of others. Another camper, Clarisse (Leven Rambin), is after Jackson’s status and believes she is the one that is worthy of praise. Before long, the evil Luke returns to Camp Half-blood and poisons the tree that provides the camp with it’s protective shield. The tree is growing out of the body of one of Zeus’ deceased Half-Blood children (named Talia), and it appears that the tree is destine to die; without it the camp is vulnerable to attack.
Percy’s two main sidekicks, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and a satyr named Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), devise a plan steal the Golden Fleece from a cyclops that lives on an island in the Ocean. They believe the Fleece has the power to save the poisoned tree. Much to their chagrin, Clarisse and another satyr are tasked with finding the Fleece. Annabeth, Grover and Percy feel too much as at stake to standpat, so they pack up their gear and sneak away with Percy’s newly discovered cyclops brother (Douglas Smith) to search for the Fleece on their own. The adventurers are whisked away by a demented taxi cab dubbed the “Chariot of Damnation” and find themselves in Washington D.C. where they begin their journey to find the Fleece. Things get interesting when they run into Luke and his crew of bad guys; he’s looking for the Fleece, too. The race is on...who will find it and how will it be used?
Unfortunately, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is a movie that is thin on substance, appearing to be built to showcase special effects. Its dialog often feels forced and unnatural, with characters exiting situations that surprised or befuddled them only to blurt out crammed and complicated explanations used to explain scenarios that probably took-up numerous pages in the novel. The characters trudge through the film rarely looking inspired, typically slinging dulled emotions topped with lame attempts at action oriented humor. It just doesn’t feel right and takes away any sense of urgency that is laced into the plot. The poorly rendered CGI creatures also do more harm than good to the overall product. There are also quite a few “plot conveniences” that are laughable. For instance, how did Luke manage to commandeer a multimillion dollar yacht? Why does Percy always wait to tap his water powers? And how does Percy’s cyclops brother see anything when the bridge of his sunglasses clearly blocks his eye? Finally, we have the Percy to Harry Potter similarities (right down to the Chariot of Damnation taxi scene that rings of Harry’s Night Bus experience). Blah. Perhaps the target audience of this film won’t care about these complaints, but this film has too many issues to pass my litmus test.
PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images and mild language.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/pjsom3.jpg[/img]20th Century Fox misses the ocular target with this AVC MPEG-4 transfer. The film is presented in a 2.35:1 cinemascope aspect ratio, which gives it a grand appearance. Unfortunately the image is muted by an inherent softness and a smidgen of noise that's occasionally prevalent in large swaths of a light or dark color (think backgrounds); it’s surprising to see these qualities in a blockbuster release. While ultra fine details of facial features and the like are present, they aren’t as vivid or sharp as one would expect. Also, there are quite a few scenes with zoomed-out shots that appear ever so slightly blurred. Colors are generally accurate, but blacks are a few shades less than deep and contrast isn’t optimal which gives the film a mildly hazy appearance. Shadow detail is fairly pronounced.
It’s a shame the video qualities aren’t of a higher caliber as there are quite a few scenes that would likely make demo lists; unfortunately they fall short.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news//pjsom4.png[/img]Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is given the royal treatment with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio presentation. It’s a balanced audio assault offering just about everything you’d expect from an action movie. Detailed subtleties add dynamic depth to soundtrack’s texture, especially among the many action sequences. The rear channels are used frequently, with many effects, echoes, and ambient sounds bouncing from the front to back for a rich surround experience. Dialog is intelligible throughout the film, however at times it's a tad too thin, lacking warmth. Low Frequency Effects are deep and detailed, pounding away during fight scenes with thuds and booms; quite a few are pant leg shakers and there are several bass sweeps that dig way down into the depths of low. It’s hard to find many faults in this department.
• Tyson Motion Comic
• Deconstructing a Demigod
• Back to Camp Half-Blood
• It's All In the Eye
• Theatrical Trailer 1
• Theatrical Trailer 2
This is the second Percy Jackson film that has left a sour taste in my mouth. Considering the critical acclaim of the book series, it’s evident this is another case of the book being better than the film. The Percy Jackson cinematic experience ends up feeling dull and unoriginal. Unfortunately, the release’s video transfer just doesn’t measure-up to what we’ve come to expect from blockbuster films in recent years. This film is rental material that might be of interest to kids, tweens, and fans of science-fiction that haven’t read the series, but those familiar with the books will probably find their minds wandering as this one unfolds. While the film contains some scary scenes with mild violence, its fairly benign making it okay for some younger viewers (parents should preview the film first).
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Gina Carano, Melina Kanakaredes
Directed by: Thor Freudenthal
Written by: Rick Riordan (author of the novel Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters), Marc Guggenheim (screenplay)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, German: DTS 5.1, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian: DTS 5.1, Ukrainian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 107 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 17, 2013
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