Film Review: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

This latest in the Percy Jackson book, TV and film franchise ably hits its target of young adults and pre-teens as it returns the hero and his amiable demi-god gang to travel land and water in pursuit of the Golden Fleece.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters packs a lot of Harry Potter-esque assets, but older adults are advised to slip into another auditorium, tickets in hand, of course. On the other hand, followers of young demi-god hero Percy—the half-human son of sea god Poseidon, no less, who once saved the world—will be taken on a thrilling journey.

In this sequel to Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief, Percy (Logan Lerman, returning for the role) and his half-blood (part god, part human) pals are off to Camp Half-Blood when tragedy strikes. There are monsters afoot, but to assure their safe passage, fellow-traveler Thalia (Paloma Kwiatkowski) sacrifices herself so others can escape. Transparent walls go up to protect Percy and company and the camp.

The camp provides plenty of recreation, including an elaborate amusement park of contraptions for semi-godly extreme sports. But Percy’s focuses on the menace outside the camp and fears that he might not be up to the heroics of his father Poseidon, especially after monsters threaten.

Soon the transparent barriers that protected the camp buckle and Percy and friends take action. It’s not just survival of the camp that’s at stake but all of Olympus. After informing camp director Dr. D. (Stanley Tucci) and half-horse associate Chiron (Anthony Head) of his plans to find the Golden Fleece that will save them, Percy and his team, including his newly discovered one-eyed half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), best friend and part goat satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson, returning), and Clarisse (Leven Rambin), begin their “odyssey” (yes, to be confused with that of Homer’s). Also in Percy’s circle is the competitive Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario, also returning to the role), who will become Percy’s ally, and Percy’s nemesis and rival Luke (Jake Abel), also after the Fleece.

They land in Washington, D.C., where a trio of chatty female cabbies provide critical clues to the Fleece’s whereabouts, as does a UPS manager named Hermes (Nathan Fillion). Then it’s on to the Florida coast, from which they set sail in search of their elusive prize.

True to its title, Percy and friends wage much of their battle on terrifying waters likened to the Bermuda Triangle where they tangle with all manner of sea monsters and terrifying creatures, from small to very, very big (zombies, a giant Cyclops, Evil itself). One of the film’s most spectacular episodes plays out inside a mega-monster’s cavernous belly where Percy and the gang are trapped. No need to divulge the ending except to say that a nice surprise awaits on terra firma.

For kids, Percy and pals are good company and the special effects are often fresh and eye-popping. There are further benefits for the few older fans on hand who love mythology. For those younger, the film serves as an entertaining primer of Greek myths and their odd characters.