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Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters Review: Building Up the Franchise
Since Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, successful book franchises have been turning into successful film franchises, and recently, the young adult genre has been churning out series after series: Twilight, I am Number Four, and of course, Percy Jackson. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the second film in the Greek mythology-driven series that follows the tale of Poseidon’s half-blood son, Percy, is a testament to the success of book-turned-film franchises. It feels exactly what it should be: a second film in a series of films that builds on the lore that will eventually be the foundation of the franchise, but doesn’t do much beyond what the first film did and only bridges one film to the next.
Yes, you read that right: compared to the first film, Lightning Thief, I enjoyed Sea of Monsters much less. Here’s the deal; the film follows the first closely when it comes to using Greek mythos to its advantage – you’ll perhaps see some parallelisms if you’ve watched other films revolving around Greek mythology such as the misleadingly titled Clash of the Titans. It also follows the first film closely when it comes to exploring the unique facets of the young adult genre, replete with coming of age issues, the annoying over achiever anti-protagonist that turns ally, and even the half-blood camp facet. I have to commend the twisting of mythology to the film’s uses, and the line-up of young adult genre facets.
My praise will have to end there, however, as I found these facets to be utilized beneath their potential. The first obstacle that creates friction between the story-telling in the film and the audience is how vastly different the feel of the film is to actual Greek mythology. Whereas in the books, the author can take his time and have his characters act out exactly as he wishes, deftly transitioning the rawness of Greek mythology into young adult genre, in the films, the story not only suffers from inconsistencies but also subpar acting. This effectively renders the coming of age aspect of the story lackluster.
Somehow, the clean and somewhat realistic effects production of the film is supposed to make up for it. True, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has its moments when it comes to special effects, but like the special effects, you’ll have some difficulty finding any real depth to it despite a very engrossing and encompassing conflict both within the main character and the world or lore at large. Add to that the fact that you’ll be able to predict what happens next if you know your Greek mythology, and it takes away a lot of the fun the film might have been able to deliver.
If Percy Jackson wants to be the next Harry Potter, he’ll have to do better with what he’s got. For now, the second film is lukewarm – a bemusing preparation to continue a series that is very promising, but is hindered greatly by its implementation on screen.