I saw 2010’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, but for the life of me I don’t remember what happens and after watching Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, I still can’t piece the entirety of the first film together. However, the only important details the audience seems to need to know are 1.) Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is the demigod son of Poseidon; 2.) Percy did something great in the first film by catching the Lightning Thief; and 3.) Luke (Jake Abel), the son of Hermes, is a bad guy. If there’s more to know, I’m sorry but I’m at a loss, not that it really matters. I could read my review of the first film as a refresher, but that feels like cheating… sort of like how the studio is cheating anyone that pays to see this mess.
An adaptation of Rick Riordan’s second Percy Jackson book, this time around Fox has dropped further down the directorial ladder, leaving Chris Columbus behind and hiring Hotel for Dogs and Diary of a Wimpy Kid helmer Thor Freudenthal to take a second stab at starting a franchise fire, which should, at the very least, give you some idea of the audience this film is intended for. Suffice to say, rational thinking, or any thinking for that matter, is supremely frowned upon.
The story follows Percy as he and his demigod gang — Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and his newfound, cyclops brother Tyson (Douglas Smith) — chase after Luke and his minions to acquire the fabled Golden Fleece before Luke reaches it and resurrects Kronos (in case you didn’t get enough of him in Wrath of the Titans) with the goal of overthrowing and destroying the Gods. Yeah, essentially Luke has daddy issues that need dealing with.
As a result, Sea of Monsters becomes an extended chase sequence, leading to the titular locale, which just so happens to be the Bermuda Triangle. Will Percy and his friends acquire the Golden Fleece and save everyone or will Luke get it and Kronos will dominate once again, destroying the Earth and the Olympians in the process? Oh, the tension is too much to bear!
The stakes are nil and the decisions that are made are pointless. At one moment we watch as a fantastical sea horse must be summoned to take Percy and friends out to Luke’s yacht, but later we learn Percy can summon a tidal wave and ride it wherever he pleases. Oh, I was also reminded the sons of Poseidon are blessed with the ability to heal through contact with water when wounded, don’t forget that little factoid while you watch.
At one point Percy hugs his brother for a solid 20 seconds where in that same amount of time he could have prevented an entire sequence of horrible events from taking place. It’s maddening and no surprise the script was written by Marc Guggenheim whose most recent efforts include Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. How anyone could have read this script and thought Yup, we got it! is beyond me. Movies such as this should not be made and yet they continue to go into production every day as if it’s a challenge to see which studio can waste the most money.
I feel sorry most for Logan Lerman who once again suffers under the weight of such a boring character. Lerman had a bit of a breaking out moment last year with The Perks of Being a Wallflower and lucky for him this film won’t be seen by enough people to stunt his career as he has Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah next on his release calendar along with David Ayer‘s Fury.
On the flip side of that, Jake Abel has now been involved in two of the year’s worst movies, this and The Host. He’s a poor man’s Kevin Bacon who comes off as if he’s trying to be Kevin Bacon as opposed to establishing his own identity.
The prospect of establishing a film franchise is something studios seek, but they are unwilling to put the work in to make them successful. They hire hacks to flesh out their screenplays and the results are rarely worthy of the word “mediocre”, a word Sea of Monsters wishes it qualified for. This is a downright travesty with little to no redeeming value whatsoever. The fact it has a few fancy visual effects is no savior for the horrible excuse of a film it truly is.