Movies that turn into franchises are always tough ones to judge on their own merits, since they are continuing a larger story with these characters while at the same time trying to create their own stand alone story. "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" gives these characters yet another adventure while still playing into the large narrative that is spread out through these stories.
In "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters", their safe haven and camp is dying so Percy (Logan Lerman) along with his friends Annabeth, Clarisse and Grover (Alexandra Daddario, Leven Rambin and Brandon T Jackson) along with Percy's long lost half brother Tyson (Douglas Smith) head out on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the Golden Fleece and try to prevent a great evil from rising.
Ultimately cribbing from a variety of different films ranging from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to "Return of the Jedi" aside from all of the obvious Harry Potter parallels, this certainly isn't a film that will quite honestly light the world on fire, but it does a reasonably solid job getting us from point A to point B in an entertaining manner. Director Thor Freudenthal has made a name for himself working in the more kid friendly milieus and as he graduates here to something a little more, young adult he shows that he can handle action along with some slightly more serious themes, pretty well. The setup before we get into the action is fairly minimal but still the right amount as we jump into the adventure fairly quickly. The visuals effects were very well done, and while some of the other cinematic homage's that the film uses range from cute, to actually a little tacky. However if you can ignore the undeniable "Harry Potter" vibe at times it all unfolds fairly pleasantly thanks to an ensemble cast that work pretty well together.
Logan Lerman is still young enough to effectively play to the younger set as our hero Percy Jackson and has enough of a leading man presence that he can hold the screen and carry the adventure at a still fairly young age. Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T Jackson and Stanley Tucci take a bit of a back seat in this one as we are introduced to Leven Rambin as Clarisse a new rival at the camp and potential love interest in later films. Nobody in the ensemble is required to do any heavy lifting from an acting standpoint and all fill their roles quite well while a memorable Nathan Fillion cameo will leave most of the older crowd in attendance in utter hysterics.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate and the special features on this combo pack release include a motion comic and three behind the scenes featurettes.
A movie like "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" will never, EVER reinvent the cinematic wheel ad how much it 'borrows' from other films is actually a little shameless, but really it doesn't need to. It's a fun family friendly adventure that won't have the adults in the audience looking at their watches and really isn't that enough?
3 out of 5 stars.
"Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" is now available to rent on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand from all major providers. You can also find available for purchase from retailers like HMV, amazon.ca and iTunes.