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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Genre Fantasy
 
Review:

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief was exciting, entertaining, tongue-in-cheek fantasy action fodder. Everyone knew it couldn't possibly compete with the likes of Harry Potter, so our low expectations were rewarded with an imperfect, yet fun and action-packed thrill ride that warranted a sequel.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is in the same position as the first installation, except instead of Harry Potter, it's competing with itself and losing. While Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief appealed to a broad audience, the sequel seems to be muscling in on the Ben 10 market, sacrificing its script and characters to the gods of epic monsters and CGI-heavy action.

There's good cheesy and bad cheesy and this sequel seems to have trouble differentiating when it comes to good clean, stupid fun. A cycloptic character enters the fray with a distracting message about acceptance, which actually turns you against the good-looking teen cast, who all seem too keen to help him clear that spot... which happens to be his only good eye. Then three witches push the limits of even the stretchiest cheese with a out-of-place and unfunny cab ride. While a seahorse comes across like something you'd expect to have ski rope attachments.

It's these uneven transitions that give the fantasy an uneven tone. While some CGI creations and bosses are beautifully crafted, these distracting in-between scenes are a slow puncture in a lifeboat to the film. While often visually spectacular, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters seems to lean too heavily on its style and loses traction when it comes to character development, motivation and comedy.

Logan Lerman is a talented young actor, but without the likes of Anthony Head, Stanley Tucci and Nathan Fillion, Lerman and the young cast seem to be lost in a sea of CGI. The flashy visual effects do a lot to catch the eye, but there's an emptiness at the heart of this campy and inconsistent mythological story. Jackson is content to be sidelined in his own movie and the search for The Golden Fleece seems about as dangerous as the ghost tunnel at the fun fair.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters doesn't even try to ground its mythological paradigm, simply offering a flimsy "they live among us" X-Men style explanation. For the most part, it just seems like lazy, uninspired TV quality film-making, leaving the real work for post-production. Hotel for Dogs and Diary of a Wimpy Kid director, Thor Freudenthal, seems like he got the job because of his name.

When the passion leaves the building, it becomes about going through the motions. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is one of those loosely entertaining, tired and vapid franchise sequels that lacks oomph. All the ingredients are there, but it's made from a week's worth of leftovers and served cold, offering up the occasional dull surprise.

While it's climactic conclusion does lift the production's overall standard, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is inferior to the original and feels like a TV movie with big budget visual effects. There's little to distinguish itself and it makes all too much sense to learn that screenwriter, Marc Guggenheim, also wrote the script for The Green Lantern.

The bottom line: Uninspired

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