After Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief failed to become a massive success, most people thought that would be the last we’d see of Rick Riordan’s boy demigod. While it took Fox a while to decide to make a follow-up, it’s now here.
This time around Percy (Logan Lerman) is living at Camp Half-Blood alongside the other half-human kids with Olympian parents, which is the only place they’re safe, thanks to a protective barrier that prevents the forces that would like to kill them from getting in. However just as Percy learns that his nemesis from the first film, Luke (Jake Abel), isn’t dead, the tree that’s responsible for the maintaining barrier begins to die. The only way to reverse the poisoning is with the mystical Golden Fleece.
Accompanied by his friends Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), along with his newly discovered Cyclops half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), Percy sets off to try and find the fleece. The journey takes them to meet Luke’s father, Hermes (Nathan Fillion), as well as to the titular Sea Of Monsters. Along the way they also discover that it’s not just the tree they may be able to save, as the fate of the entire world is at stake.
It’s a case of if you liked the first film, you’ll probably like this one. It’s a decent if thoroughly unexceptionable family fantasy adventure, which slightly suffers from being a little random in its jumping from location to location. It’s still fairly fun though.
The first film was seen as being Fox’s attempt to create its own Harry Potter franchise, and that’s even truer here. It feels as if director Thor Freudenthal watched the Potter films and took copious notes. There are numerous shots and sequences that feel like they were copied almost verbatim from the Hogwarts movies, although with a little less magic and wonder. The overall result is a touch journeyman, so it’s fun and there’s plenty of action, but it never reaches any great heights and tends to remind you that the Potter movies were better.
It doesn’t help either that Logan Lerman, who’s proven elsewhere that he’s a very good young actor, comes across as a little flat and bored here. It doesn’t feel as if his heart is in it, with the actor treating it more like a technical exercise – he looks good at least. In the end it’s left to newcomer Douglas Smith as Percy’s Cyclops half-brother Tyson to provide the heart of the movie. He’s sweet and naïve and to be honest I wouldn’t mind seeing a film all about him. However as Sea Of Monsters grossed even less than Lightning Thief, I have a feeling this will be the last we’ll see of the world of the Olympians, let alone us getting a film that spins off to one of the side characters.
The Blu-ray offers a crisp, colourful picture, which shows off the special effects and the bright world the movie takes place in. There are also a few okay special features, including a motion-comic letting us know more of Tyson’s back-story when he was living in the woods. There’s also a trio of decent ‘making of’ featurettes.
Overall Verdict: Although it’s a passable enough slice of family action-adventure, Sea Of Monsters lacks the magic that would take Percy Jackson to the next level. I thought the first film showed promise, but this fails to build on it.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac