The first Percy Jackson didn’t really light up the box office. 88 million domestically would make the sequel a little bit of a gamble. So why would they choose Freudenthal to direct? There is absolutely nothing about either Hotel for Dogs or Diary Of A Wimpy Kid that would make me believe that he could handle an ambitious sequel. He is not Chris Columbus, and the film feels it too.
Percy (Logan Lerman) is still struggling with issues of not being able to see his father, or speak to him. He’s off living at the Demi-God camp with everyone else. We learn the story of the camp, and how a young demigod girl that was the daughter of Zeus, died, which caused Zeus to create the force field around the camp to protect the demigods. Of course, this is massive foretelling, as that field breaks, and Percy learns about the Sea Of Monsters, and how the Golden Fleece can help save the demigod camp.
Percy isn’t the first to be chosen to go after the golden fleece. That honor goes to Clarisse (Leven Rambin), a badass daughter of Ares who thinks Percy is a joke. But when Percy finds out that Luke (Jake Abel) is still alive, and going after the fleece so he can revive Kronos, he realizes there is a prophecy that puts him in that place anyway. So he decides to grab his gang and go. His gang includes his Hermoine and Ron from the first film (Alexandra Daddario and Brandon T. Jackson), and new entry Tyson, who is also a son of Poseidon. He’s not a human though, he’s a Cyclops. Can Percy and the gang get to the fleece before Luke, or will Kronos be reawakened and destroy the world?
The sequel is inferior to the original. Definitely. The first film did have some artistic merit brought to it by Columbus, but the sequel lacks any finesse. This is a paint-by-the-numbers sequel, and they apparently refused to pay the actors from the original to return. Percy no longer has a mother (Catherine Keener) or a father (Kevin McKidd). Pierce Brosnan apparently got fired too, and replaced with Anthony Stewart Head. Stanley Tucci replaces the actor they cast briefly in Dionysus’s role in the first film. The budget was really tight here.
Luckily, the special effects team weren’t shorted. I thought the effects here were more believable than in the higher-budgeted Jack The Giant Slayer. I saw this film in 3D (an absolute waste), so it did look “grainy” in some shots, but I often find that with 3D films that were probably done post-conversion. I would not recommend this as a 3D venture. They don’t throw things at the screen, which leads me to believe it was an afterthought. Unless you just LOVE pop-up cinema, skip it.
I feel like this should have been a better sequel. They entrusted a shaky franchise, essentially, to a manchild. And he did what we would all expect him to do with it. Nothing. You could have picked a random film student to get the same result (possibly better). I left disappointed, but still hoping for a third Percy film. The writing is solid, the characters are likeable, and I would enjoy continuing following them on another journey. Just as long as Thor isn’t directing.
FINAL GRADE: C+
STARRING: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Jake Abel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Stewart Head, Nathan Fillion, Yvette Nicole Brown, Missi Pyle, with the voices of Craig Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Ron Perlman, and Shohreh Aghdashloo.
WRITTEN BY: Marc Guggenheim
DIRECTED BY: Thor Freudenthal
Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation