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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters(2013)
Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, continues his epic journey to fulfill his destiny, as he teams with his demigod friends to retrieve the Golden Fleece, which has the power to save their home and training ground, Camp Half-Blood.
For more about Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and the Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray release, see Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on December 17, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Brandon T. Jackson, Nathan Fillion, Stanley Tucci
Director: Thor Freudenthal
» See full cast & crew
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, December 17, 2013
There's a current internet article being shared pretty rampantly on Facebook and other sites featuring the largely incorrect predictions for 2013 by a variety of psychics, many of whom claim to have very high percentages of accuracy in their prognostications. A lot of film critics may be feeling the same sort of heat, for there was almost uniform agreement among them that Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief would be a standalone entry in a would be franchise based on a series of bestselling young adult novels by Rick Riordan. The first film actually raked in decent box office, landing well north of $200,000,000.00 (though most of that came from overseas markets), and it also bore the imprimatur of director Chris Columbus, who had helped make the Harry Potter film franchise such an international phenomenon. But critics—and you know how they can be— gave the film at best a kind of tepid response, referring to Percy Jackson as a kind of Harry Potter wannabe that never quite achieved the level of wonder and excitement that J.K. Rowling's now iconic cast of characters regularly did. Well, guess what? After a hiatus of more than three years, Percy (Logan Lerman), Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) are back for a second adventure culled from Riordan's book Sea of Monsters. While there's no denying certain similarities between the Potter and Jackson franchises—both after all feature a trio of young protagonists who have rather unusual powers—the second film perhaps does a slightly better job at beginning to differentiate Riordan's original conception from that of Rowling. The single most salient difference is Riordan's recasting of Greek mythology in a modern world, and Sea of Monsters has some fairly creative contributions to that general approach. While Sea of Monsters' plot is resolutely predictable, there are some enjoyable set pieces, colorful supporting performances (including by a couple of newcomers to the franchise) and—and here I'm donning my trusty psychic's cap—a none too subtle hint in the film's closing moment that there may indeed be a third film in the franchise coming (maybe even before 2016).
Scenarist Marc Guggenheim does a generally decent job in bringing neophytes into the Percy Jackson universe without needing all of the information imparted in the original film. Percy's narration quickly gives the viewer enough context (though some may wonder at the "masked" realities that later crop up in traditional urban environments that only the Olympians are able to see and/or access). The film actually starts with a flashback that recounts a terrifying ordeal suffered by a young Luke, Annabeth and Grover, along with a girl named Thalia, who sacrifices herself in order to win the safety of her friends. Thalia, the daughter of Zeus, is honored by her father by being transformed into a huge tree outside of Half-Blood Camp, around which a safety barrier of energy emanates so that no other half-bloods should ever have to suffer the same fate. This plot point will of course attain greater significance as the story progresses.
In the present day, when the protective force field is breached by a kind of steampunk mechanical bull, and Percy (Logan Lerman) is confronted by his old nemesis Luke (Jake Abel), it's revealed that there's a mutiny of sorts at hand spearheaded by Luke and involving a number of other half-bloods, who are sick of being the "pawns" of their Godly parents. The tree blossoming from Thalia's remains has been poisoned as a result of this attack, and the daffy Mr. D. (Stanley Tucci) steals Annabeth's (Alexandara Daddario) idea that the Golden Fleece's magical healing properties could making everything right again, if only it could be found. The egotistical daughter of Ares, Clarisse (Leven Rambin), is chosen to front this expedition, which does not please Percy, Annabeth and the young satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson). Complicating matters is the fact that Percy has just discovered he has a half brother named Tyson (Douglas Smith), the progeny of Poseidon and a nymph who just happens to be a cyclops.
The ragtag quartet of Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Tyson set off on their own quest for the Golden Fleece, which brings them into contact with Luke's father Hermes (Nathan Fillion in an amusing cameo), who, in one of the film's nicer mash ups of mythology and modernism, runs a kind of "UPS Store" that makes deliveries for demigods. The focal four have to confront Luke, who divulges he has found the remains of Chronos and plans to reanimate him once Luke finds the Golden Fleece, as well as a number of other nemeses, including such mythical figures as Charybdis and a real (as in gigantic) Cyclops. The film rather whimsically deals with arcane matters of mythology, including working in a prophecy where Percy isn't quite sure if he'll be responsible for the salvation or the destruction of Olympus.
The film struggles to find the same level of consistent magic that informed the best of the Harry Potter films, but it also has its own sly pleasures, including a rather insouciant sense of humor (Luke confides that his search for Chronos took him to the depths of Hades—and then Cleveland). The cast is quite winning, probably none more so than newcomer to the franchise Douglas Smith, who makes Tyson a wonderfully vulnerable and lovable character. The film has a decently epic sweep, with passable to very good CGI along the way (the showdown with Chronos is quite effective), and its knowing references to Greek mythology may present enough to keep the adults delighted while their younger children enjoy the basics of the adventure story.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray, Video Quality
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. While there's nothing inherently wrong with this transfer, the look of this film is decidedly softer than a glut of other recent special effects spectaculars. Colors are quite bold at times, especially in some of the CGI elements, including the beautifully burnished bronze of the mechanical bull (see screenshot 4) or the vivid hues of the stained glass window that comes to life during the prophecy sequence (see screenshot 12). Fine detail is generally excellent, but is sometimes mitigated by color grading choices, including the ever popular blue tint that's readily apparent in several screenshots accompanying this review. The CGI elements themselves are also on the soft side (take a look at the Hippocampus in the first screenshot for a good example), but overall this transfer sports a generally pleasing if not fantastically crisp appearance.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Making up somewhat for the film's minimally lackluster visual allure is an astoundingly effective lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track that is awash in floorboard rattling LFE and near ubiquitous surround activity. From the very first sequence, when the huge thump of giants stomping through the forest outside of Half-Blood Camp sends reverberant shockwaves through the air, it's apparent this mix is going to be very aggressive. The film has a number of nice set pieces that allow full use of the surrounds, including the kids riding the Hippocampus and, later, using a canister containing the "four winds" to propel their life raft onward during their quest. The showdown with Chronos also provides another onslaught of well positioned foley effects zooming and zinging through the soundfield. Despite this sometimes noisy approach, dialogue is never sacrificed, and always is well prioritized and easy to hear. Andrew Lockington's score isn't especially memorable, but sounds fine in this lossless format.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has a lot to recommend it, especially for parents who want to introduce their kids to Greek mythology courtesy of some method other than Thomas Bulfinch. That said, there's no denying that this franchise is certainly no Harry Potter, which may be its single greatest obstacle in finding a more appreciative audience. Taken on its own merits, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has a game cast, good to very good special effects, and a reasonably compelling storyline. The Blu-ray technical merits are first rate (especially with regard to the audio), and this release comes Recommended.
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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray - October 8, 2013
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray releases of director Thor Freudenthal's Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013), starring Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, and Brandon T. Jackson. The releases will ...
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