Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
The other day I mentioned that Hollywood looks to almost anything for a story. So yeah… books are a good source. They already have full stories and all the studio executives have to do is hire a writer to put it into a screenplay format. It’s probably done more often then any material to save time. They gotta get thirty movies out, so their bound to find whatever book is really popular and give it a big screen adaptation. There are exceptions like The Great Gatsby as something like that is a literary classic that everyone knows. But take a bestseller and give it cinematic life, you’ll probably get some money off of the readers.
One movie that every studio has tried to replicate is Harry Potter. It made a billion dollars and continues to be a part of our culture. So what are they doing wrong. It’s that their trying too much to copy the story situation for situation. Most executives think kids are dumb enough to take in what they’re given them. They underestimate the intelligence of children. Kids can smell a phony from a hundred miles and see through its folly. It doesn’t surprise me that their not responding to movies like Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
What baffles me is that Fox actually made a sequel to The Lightning Thief. Both are based of a series of Percy Jackson books that put classic Greek gods in a modern day world. It’s not a bad idea and the books seem to be a favorite for the elementary and middle school generation. But the first movie already felt like a Harry Potter copycat and even though I never read the books, most kids I’ve run into complain that the first film changed too much from it’s source. So even though The Lightning Thief made little money, Fox must be giving this series one more chance to prove itself.
At Camp Half Blood (not even two minutes and it already steels from Harry Potter) the son of Poseidon Percy Jackson (played by Logan Lerman) is training for something that the movie never refers to. The camps director Dionysus (played by Stanley Tucci) discovers that a magical tree that creates a barrier is dying and could pose a risk to exposure from the human world and evil forces. They figure out that a golden fleece somewhere in the sea of monsters (our Bermuda Triangle) that could heal the tree. So Percy, his half brother Cyclops, and some friends head off to look for the magical blanket.
If Fox really wanted to save this franchise, then the direction they took with this was not the best method. It wouldn’t be too bad if this was an original idea, but it all feels rehashed and familiar. You got a group of kids that have supernatural powers living under a roof that’s the same as Hogwarts (only this place is nothing magical; it looks like High School Musical summer camp).
Let’s look at the characters; Percy is your geeky dweeb that needs to be the leader and is told he’s a messiah (Harry Potter), Annabeth is smarter then everyone else and plays around the boundaries of friend and girlfriend (Hermione), and Grover is a cowardly sidekick who wants to be a popular kid (Ron). I could not stop thinking about Harry Potter during Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. And even when the film tries something on it’s own, it’s not even that good. Percy’s Cyclops brother faces a lot of prejudice from everyone just because they say he’s dangerous (even though he looks like a typical stoner). Even the villains are obvious and are too easy to stop. Why is it in these Percy Jackson movies is it that these sons and daughters of the power Greek gods like Zeus, Poseidon, and Hermes are stupid and can be defeated by a simple kick in the head.
I’ll give this one and a half sets of Percy Jackson books that are probably better then the movie out of five. Studios need to realize that the only way to combat the Harry Potter franchise to do the opposite of it, not the same. I hope for something like this someday, but Percy Jackson is a chosen boy who was clearly not the chosen one at the box office.