What the critics are saying: ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’

Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario and Douglas Smith (on Vancouver's Beatty Street) in a scene from 'Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.'. Handout

TORONTO — Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, in theatres now, is a fantasy adventure film starring Logan Lerman as the titular hero fighting mythical creatures in the modern world.

Based on the book by Rick Riordan, the follow-up to 2009’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was filmed in Vancouver over two months early last year. (Additional scenes were shot in New Orleans.)

Is Sea of Monsters good quality family fun or does it fail to make a splash? Here’s a look at what some critics are saying.

Postmedia reviewer Vanessa Farquharson called the sequel “an odd, yet not un-entertaining thing.”

She said the plot doesn’t make a lot of sense but “the details hardly matter.”

Farquharson wrote: “Director Thor Freudenthal is on a mission to have fun rather than pay attention to mythological consistency or any remote sense of plausibility, and that’s fine.”

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Jen Chaney of The Washington Post was less forgiving, describing Sea of Monsters as “a movie that dutifully hits its plot points involving prophecies and fleeces without evoking a whiff of spirit or imagination.”

Chaney called the movie a “limp adaptation” of the book that is “both dull and awkwardly executed.”

She singled out the special effects (“clunky and unrealistic”), including a computer-generated attempt to make Vancouver look like Washington, D.C. that “qualifies as one of the most laughably inaccurate cinematic portrayals of our nation’s capital in the history of moviedom.”

Chris Hewitt of the St. Paul Pioneer Press called the 3D version of Sea of Monters “muddy and dark” and urged fans to see it in 2D.

“There’s a Grecian temple that looks like a half-finished backdrop from a high school production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and a computer-generated surfing scene that wouldn’t pass muster in a video game,” Hewitt opined.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Hartlaub was equally unimpressed with the effects, which he said “fall closer to Sharknado than Pacific Rim.”

He added: “It’s an easy film to pick apart, but the end result is positive — especially if you’re a child or sitting next to one. There are plenty of bad films to get riled up about in the summer. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters isn’t one of them. This is harmless tween-centric fun.”

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The Toronto Star‘s Bruce DeMara called Sea of Monsters “a visual treat,” “a sumptuous banquet of very cool and exotic creatures, land and seascapes” and “a visually stunning and magical journey.”

According to Bob Fischbach of the Omaha World Herald,  pointed out the movie is safe for young audiences.

“If you’re the parents and grandparents who have been calling for an action-adventure movie for your fourth- through eighth-graders that isn’t horribly bloody, profane or sexed up, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is,” he wrote.

“Some of the monsters and situations are pretty intense, so use judgment … about which of your younger kids can avoid nightmares later. This is a solid, if not quite spectacular, series for tweeners and almost-tweeners, with lessons about embracing family, shaping your own fate and doing the right thing even at personal cost.”

Reuters critic Alonso Duralde agreed. He said Sea of Monsters “delivers the kind of silly, all-ages fun that’s appeared far too infrequently on the big screen since 1950s Hercules star Steve Reeves hung up his toga.”

Duralde found the movie’s lack of irony refreshing and said it’s an ideal matinee movie “for an era that doesn’t know what matinees are anymore.”

Less enthusiastic about the flick is Drew Powell of Queen Anne News.

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Sea of Monsters is a miserable attempt at capitalizing on a young-adult book series and earning box-office dollars,” he wrote. “The movie becomes one boring action set piece after another, and it plays out exactly how you’d expect it to. The film also tries too hard to be funny: Every line of dialogue feels forced and almost sitcom-y.”

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