Percy Jackson review: Some CGI fun, but not enough cleverness

Deepanjana Pal

Aug 30, 2013 12:42:51 IST

Everyone loves a boy wonder, especially now that there’s no more pottering around Hogwarts. Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson is one of the many teen heroes that popped up in children’s fiction after the success of the Harry Potter series, and Fox 2000 Pictures is clearly hoping Percy Jackson will bring them the kind of success Warner Bros had with the Harry Potter films.

If you’ve read the books, you know that Percy is a fun guy to hang out with even if he isn’t quite as charismatic as Harry. Much like in Harry’s case, Percy’s debut movie was spectacularly clumsy and a bore. The second time round, the film Percy’s turned out better than he had in his last outing. This doesn’t mean Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is anywhere near as engaging as the book on which it’s based, but it isn’t bad either.

Percy Jackson review: Some CGI fun, but not enough cleverness

Courtesy: Facebook

This time, Percy and his friends must get hold of the Golden Fleece in order to keep Camp Half-Blood safe. The camp is home to the 'godspawn', or children whose DNA are part-human and part-Greek god. Between Percy and the Golden Fleece are crazy taxi rides, hungry Cyclops, sea monsters and a whole lot of teenage angst. Percy’s still feeling ignored by his daddy Poseidon, although given all the things he can do with sea water, you’ve got to wonder why. He also discovers a half-brother, Tyson, who is as cute as a boy can be when he’s got one eye in the centre of his forehead (Tyson is a Cyclops).

Although Thor Freudenthal has a name that seems like a match made in heaven for a director of a film that blends myths with pop fiction, his storytelling isn’t anywhere as clever as Riordan’s writing. The dialogues aren’t as zippy, the locations don’t feel as smartly-imagined and the build-up isn’t well-paced. Most of the film meanders, bogged down as it is by bad acting. Then suddenly, it’s time for a climax and neither the audience nor the actors feel prepared for it.

It doesn’t help that Camp Half-Blood seems remarkably like a Survivor for models – godspawn look good and are about as memorable as the interchangeable faces on billboards. Logan Lerman and Alexandra Daddario as Percy and Annabeth lack charisma, though Lerman looks a little less out of place than he did in the first Percy Jackson film. There are a couple of stars in the cast as Greek gods in Sea of Monsters. Stanley Tucci, as Dionysus in rehab, makes more of an impression in two scenes than Daddario’s Annabeth manages despite being in almost every frame. Nathan Fillion is charming as Hermes and you can’t help wishing he had more than a cameo.

For all its blandness, Sea of Monsters has a few moments going for it. Some of the special effects are beautifully done and ultimately, Sea of Monsters isn’t boring. Still, you’re better off reading Riordan’s books.

Updated Date: Aug 30, 2013 12:42:52 IST