PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS is an action-packed film that tweens and teens will enjoy, but that is probably too frightening for really young children. Full disclosure: I hate spoilers in reviews, so there won’t be any in this PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS movie review. PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS opens August 7, 2013, and continues the young demigod’s epic journey to fulfill his destiny. To save their world, Percy and his friends must find the fabled and magical Golden Fleece. Embarking on a treacherous odyssey into the uncharted waters of the Sea of Monsters (known to humans as the Bermuda Triangle), they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate Evil. Continue reading for our full, spoiler-free review.
PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS is the sequel to PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF, but don’t worry. You don’t have to have seen the first to enjoy or understand the second. You’ll especially enjoy it if you’re a fan of the Greek myths, as I am, but you don’t have to be particularly familiar with them to follow the story, though some familiarity will make the story flow better.
The film opens with a back story of children running through the woods away from a band of pursuers towards a “camp” where they’ll be safe. They apparently live in a world where the gods, goddesses, demigods and mythical creatures (satyrs, centaurs, etc.) are real. One child, Thalia, stays back to distract the pursuers and becomes the guardian of the camp. The story then flash-forwards to the present day and the children are now teens on the verge of adulthood.
In the camp, the kids train in physically grueling tasks, preparing for quests. Our hero, Percy Jackson, is truly a hero. We learn that he saved them all (presumably in the first movie) and yet, he is humble (or lacking in confidence, depending on how you look at it) and agonizes over whether or not he is good enough. His camp rival is Clarisse, who is a champion in the camp games and is confident in her ability to complete quests. Percy learns he has a brother, Tyson, who is different from most of the other kids in the camp. Tyson is bullied by the other kids, including one of Percy’s close friends, Annabeth. He doesn’t seem to fit the stereotype, though, so Percy tries to accept him as he is. Tyson feels badly and tries to hide his differences from the other kids.
The security of the camp is breached when Thalia, the camp guardian, is poisoned. After thwarting the initial attack, the camp sends Clarisse and two other campers on a quest to resolve the camp security problem. Percy’s band (Percy, Annabeth and Grover with Tyson) decides they need to go on the quest as well and take off on their own series of adventures until they meet up with Clarisse’s group and go forward together to try to save the camp (and the world).
There are many themes covered in PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS, including discrimination, humility, self-confidence, team work, and family. The discrimination theme is handled in an interesting manner, by having one of the heroes display her bias in a bullying way. As in Greek mythology, the themes and lessons are woven into the story, so the viewer gleans them from their own experience of the film.
I didn’t know any of the younger actors, but was impressed by their talents. There were no stand-outs, because they were well matched, for the most part. Stanley Tucci (Mr. D.) and Anthony Head (Chiron) were the only two adult roles and they both were wonderful, as would be expected of actors of their stature.
One of the funniest bits in the film revolved around Mr. D.’s love of wine and Zeus’ revenge against him for a dalliance with one of Zeus’ lady loves. Among many humorous moments in the film are the taxi ride with three drivers and the coffee shop scene with the incredibly talented barista. I think my favorite scene is a beautiful flash-back which emerges from a stained-glass window with the story being played out in animated stained-glass. The action scenes are realistic within the story and not overly gruesome, though there is blood.
As I mentioned above, I think this movie might be too much for younger kids, because of the violence and the darkness of the story. I think this would be a great movie for a family with older kids. There’s a lot of food for thought, many topics for discussion, not to mention the special effects and animation. If the kids have studied, or will be studying, Greek mythology, this gives them an interesting viewpoint, plus, they can fact check it against the characters, creatures and references in the film. Who doesn’t love a movie that can double as a school lesson?