I don’t normally do movie reviews, but since I have really been struggling to post original, book-related content as of late – and this movie is definitely book-related – I decided to go ahead and do a pseudo-review of the new Percy Jackson movie, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. I do want to state upfront that there will be minor spoilers in this review, because I’ve included a section that talks about how well this movie adapted the original source work, and I can’t do that if I don’t include some spoilers. Also, if you haven’t read The Sea of Monsters yet – and if you haven’t, please stop reading this review and go do so right now! – you’ll want to avoid this as well. And please be kind with me! I’ve never written a movie review before.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Fox 2000 Pictures
Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Released August 9, 2013
In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.
- Logan Lerman is the perfect Percy Jackson (albeit a lot older than his book counterpart)
- The Lightning Thief was a terrible book-to-film adaptation
Aside from my (rather significant) quibbles with how the movie adapted the source work, I did still enjoy The Lightning Thief. I think part of this is because I have been through several book-to-film adaptations, so am well-versed in what to expect and how, no matter how the movie studios try, the film will never live up to the book (with a couple exceptions, which I’m sure we can argue about in the comments. Ha!). Therefore, I was fully expecting The Lightning Thief to fail in some aspects, simply because my love of the book – and its title character – knows no bounds, and also because of my past history with adaptations. What I was NOT expecting was how mangled the writers of the film would make Percy’s story, to the point where I wasn’t sure how on earth they’d be able to make a second film, simply because of how they twisted the plot, characters, and timeline. So when it was announced that they would proceed with filming The Sea of Monsters, I cautiously waited to see the movie stills and hear some pre-release comments, simply because I wasn’t sure how they would fix what they broke the second time around.
And for the most part, I was pleased with the outcome. No, this is nothing like the book. Yes, they changed rather large parts of the story. Yes, they left things out (some of which made me quite sad). But overall I do think they managed to fix the issues with the first film (like the major prophecy running Percy’s life, and the fact that Luke is most certainly not acting alone) to the point where – for the most part – things are back on track. And, at the close of the film, my overall feeling was one of happiness to once again see Logan Lerman as Percy, and to revel in a world I adore, even if changes have been made to it.
Also, I want to applaud the film’s director and casting because Clarisse was amazingly cast (even if she is a tad too pretty for her original counterpart), as was the small glimpses of Thalia we were given. Thalia was actually EXACTLY as I’ve always pictured her, which pretty much never happens. And I liked Tyson’s casting as well; Douglas Smith really did the clueless cyclops well, and I couldn’t help but love him just as much here as I did in the books.
Watching Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters made me realize just how much action Rick Riordan packed into the book. It is not an overly long installment – 279 pages – but considering how much was cut from the film, it really made me raise my eyebrows a bit. There was no Circe, for one, nor did we get to see Annabeth’s struggles against the Sirens, which was one of the strongest parts of the book, because it revealed the whole concept of fatal flaws, which plays a huge role in the rest of the series. I did like the flashback to Luke, Annabeth, and Thalia’s journey to the camp, and while I enjoyed the film’s take on Kronos’ rise to power, that shouldn’t have taken place at all, no matter how awesome the effects were. There were also other things, like Silena being on Luke’s ship, that made me eyeroll a bit, because, while I appreciated that the film producers are trying to incorporate things from the books, they do seem to go about it in odd ways. (And Alexandra Daddario really didn’t need to have blonde hair, either.)
One thing I do give major kudos to, though, is the way Logan Lerman portrayed Percy’s vulnerability and uncertainty. With all of the differences between the films and the books, one thing that’s maintained its consistency is Lerman’s way of bringing Percy to life pretty much perfectly. He delivers Percy’s snark and wit with a quickness that feels authentic, and he isn’t afraid to show emotion, either, which just makes his portrayal more real and really helps the audience connect with him. He is by far my favorite part of these films, and it is his portrayal of Percy that has made me an instant fan of his.
Considering the travesty that was the adaptation of The Lightning Thief, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed pretty much every single thing about Sea of Monsters, even with the changes made. I feel like the casting, pacing, and inclusion of new characters was true to the books, and I liked the way they were incorporated into the story without confusing the audience overly much, even if they haven’t read the books. I don’t know if there’s going to be a third movie or not – the ending certainly sets the tone for one – but I can say that if there is, I won’t be disappointed and will definitely go see it. The Percy Jackson films aren’t fabulous adaptations, but they are fun films, and folks who can stand to see massive changes made from the source works should give it a watch just for Logan Lerman alone. He definitely doesn’t disappoint!