I don’t ask for much when it comes to family films. I ask even less from high fantasy family films. Just give me some decent acting, a fun story, good effects, and go a little light on the cheese. That said, maybe I was asking for too much from the newest “Percy Jackson” film. Side note, it must suck really hard trying to be the next Harry Potter, thinking it’s as easy as putting your bland character’s name in the title. This does not make you special! Anyway, “Sea of Monsters” is not very good.
“Sea of Monsters” follows the demigod, and all around teenage heartthrob, Percy Jackson on another adventure with his fellow members of Camp Half-Blood. This time around, the magical tree made out of a dead child is sick. To save the dead-kid tree, Percy Jackson needs to find the Golden Fleece which is in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. Oh, and there’s a prophecy that one of the half-bloods is going to duke it out with the son of Hermes. Not Hades, or Ares. Hermes. Yes, the errand boy with wings on his ankles. Hard. As. Fuck!
“Well, we kind of tried to kill each other in a duel to the death.”
Movies like this don’t even try anymore. They round up some talented big name actors for credibility. Grab the latest, young, pretty leading man who’s proven that he’s better than this drivel in at least one critically acclaimed film (See: “Perks of Being a Wallflower”). Throw them in the mix with some watered down mythology and add in a completely arbitrary quest for some magical item. Also, if you can fit a prophecy in there, do it. You know, for kids. Kids love prophecies. “Percy Jackson” hits all these marks… over the head with a metal bat. Repeatedly. There’s not a moment of subtlety or grace. It’s just loud, obnoxious, cash-grabbing disguised as “family fun”. This is why people hate teen fiction.
It pains me to say this because I LOVE me some sea monsters. But this movie is just so bland and boring that even the appearance of the sea-Sarlaac couldn’t get my interest peaked. The cast is just white bread, toasted, nothing on it, by itself, on a plate, boring! No one tries. They know they don’t have to. Anthony Head (GILES!) and Stanley Tucci do add a touch of class, but even their presence feels tainted by the crap they’re being forced to work with. The effects are occasionally competent, but mostly just barely this side of substandard. It really is like watching a low-rent “Harry Potter” or “Chronicles of Narnia”.
“You can’t give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it.”
Overall, this isn’t the worst transgressor in its genre, sub-genre, or even this franchise. I dare say, it’s at least better than “The Lightning Thief.” But that is such a low bar, and I just wish that films like this could aim a little higher. High fantasy is in trouble nowadays. There are only so many Tolkien books to adapt, and “Game of Thrones” has way too many tits-per-minute for the family-film crowd. We need filmmakers willing to put more love into their projects. Directors who will put blood, sweat and tears into creating an engaging, exciting, original fantasy film for people to enjoy. Dreck like this may entertain the kids for a while, but what are the rest of us supposed to do? “The Hobbit” isn’t out ’til Christmas.