Wednesday, August 7, 2013

01 Aug 13 - Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

An open letter to Hollywood...

Before SouthSide begins her review, let's get one thing clear - she didn't see the first Percy Jackson movie but was given a quick yet brief synopsis of what it entailed before attending the screening of its sequel.  Also, let it be known that she detests terrible, poorly scripted movies based on Greek mythology or legends and/or remakes (i.e. the remake of the 80's Clash Of The Titans). That being said, blogspot readers, SouthSide went to this movie screening without any high expectations that Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters would be a fairly decent sequel to its predecessor. 

Okay, you have permission to throw stones at this reviewer for pre-judging the movie before actually sitting inside the theatre (with 3-D glasses) to review it.

Given the "quality" of this year's so-called summer blockbusters (so far) only two have been highly recommended by SouthSide, btw, was a foreign film, blogspot readers.  Oh before, she forgets - must EVERYTHING be in 3D or REAL 3 D (what's the difference, can someone explain that to her?)?! She understands it's a cash cow these days but it's becoming so annoying and pas se these days.

Anyway, blogspot readers, you have come to read a review about Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters not hear a rant about the difference between 3D and REAL 3D ...then again, this review will start to feel like a rant once you have finished. Let SouthSide explain. 

This sequel to Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a dumbed down version written for today's millennial generation of the Greek myth about the famed Golden Fleece and its healing powers. Instead of Jason leading his crew of the Argonauts in the quest of finding the Golden Fleece, it's Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), his demigod friends - Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), Grover (Brandon T. Jackson),  camp rival Clarisse (Leven Rambin) and baddie cousin Lucas/Luke (Jake Abel) and half brother Tyson (Douglas Smith) on the quest to find the Golden Fleece in order to do one or two things: (a) to save their Half Blood camp (a magical place where the children of the Gods train, live and etc) or (b) resurrected Kronos (Robert Knepper), a molten-rock looking Titan who was "murdered" long ago by his own children - Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. 

So why does Camp Half Blood (someone could have thought up a better name than that) need saving? Well, according to the voiceover by Polyphemus (Ron Perlman), 4 young children of Gods were trying to reach this place but only 3 made because young Thalia (the older version portrayed by Paloma Kwiatkowski) sacrificed her life to save the others and since she's Zeus' daughter, he turn her into a tree thus creating an unseen barrier protecting the other campers from outside predators (i.e. cyclops) and whatnot. After the camp is attacked by a mechanical Minotaur bull (who's bright idea was it that this thing should be spewing great balls of fire and/or having whirling razor saw blades for a PG movie?!), the campers discover the beloved tree that has been protecting them for so long is *gasp* *shock* *oh, the horror* poisoned! This sparks the the quest for the Golden Fleece given to the camp champion, Clarisse.

However there can't be a quest without an oracle prophecy for our hero, Percy Jackson to solve ...or this would be a rather short movie run time, blogspot readers. So after discovering he has a half brother (it seems if the God of Water mates with a nymph, you get a cyclopetic brother) and a prophecy about two children of Zeus (wait, SouthSide thought Poseidon was his father?! Where's Maury for the DNA results?) fighting over the Golden Fleece to either destroy or save the Olympians, our hero along with his friends and his brother whom he doesn't consider as his brother (just yet) also set off on the quest to find the Fleece located at the Sea of Monsters (aka Bermuda Triangle to us mortals) to stop their cousin Lucas (or Luke depending whichever name he responds to or uses throughout this movie - very confusing) from using it on Kronos to overthrow Zeus and others, blogspot readers.

It's amazing how Greek mythology wasn't this exciting and this adventurous when SouthSide was younger. And yes, she's being very sarcastic for good reason. Besides Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters being a poorly written re-telling of Jason and the Argonauts and the Gold Fleece, this sequel also read like a "woe is me" after school special because each Percy, Annabeth, Tyson and Clarisse learn a lesson at the end of this movie. You add baddie Lucas or Luke (whichever name you prefer) to the list since he learns one too. **Caution if you don't want to know - stop reading now and skip to the end.** Percy learns that he has the right to choose his own destiny, Annabeth learns she must not pre-judge another despite what happened in the past, Tyson learns to accept his one eye self and love who he is and finally, Clarisse learns that champion is not based on self endeavors but on teamwork. Also there's a whole lot of political correctness tossed about in this movie (i.e. it's wrong to call "dead confederate sailors who have given their lives to Hades" zombies but it seems they like that better than the long name) and even Lucas' dad Hermes (Nathan Fillion) has a moment learning that the mistakes made by a father in turn creates a vengeful son.

Sighs - as if this generation of kids need to learn lessons like these in a movie like this...

Sadly, blogspot readers, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters wastes the fine talents of Stanley Tucci (aka Caesar Flickerman of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire / Dr. Abraham Erskine of Captain America: The First Avenger) as the name-forgetting, "always getting water out of vintage wine bottles" camp director - Mr. D which is played as if he's a total dolt and Anthony Stewart Head (aka The Prime Minister in Little Britain / Rupert Giles of Buffy The Vampire Slayer series) as Chiron the Centaur, the camp's chemist/potions. It also has the Graeae witches (the 3 grey witches) starring Mary Birdsong, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Missi Pyle driving (of all things) a high-flying, speed-breaking taxi cab with their one eye adding a bit of comedic relief while giving Percy more details about the oracle prophecy. Speaking of comedy, blogspot readers, it horribly falls flat in this movie. Let SouthSide know if you have heard this one before "...Christians have a guy who can do this reverse (i.e. changing water into wine) there's a God!" Surprisingly, that (and others) drew a few laughs but sadly, not a huge "ha ha ha" from the audience.

Overall, what can SouthSide say or recommend about Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (which is based on the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan - 5 books in all, blogspot readers ...groans)? Nothing much except the ending does allude to a sequel (oh, joy). You can definitely see that most of the production cost went to the fx (special effects) department than developing a decent re-telling about the quest for the Golden Fleece. Her advice - stick to the books, kids! Save your money, parents! Or better yet, rent the 1963 movie - Jason and the Argonauts and the 1981 movie - Clash of the Titans (both featuring the late Ray Harryhausen's stop animation fx). Two great movies ...a bigger bang for your buck. Trust SouthSide, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters wasn't enjoyable ...even in 3D.

She hopes Hollywood generously paid Zeus well for the butchering of his myths and legends...

Until next time, support your local scene,

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