Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wild, wild, wet

This sequel to 2010’s “Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief” mostly leaves its predecessor’s attention to more momentous, revelatory moments behind to pursue a simpler, more action-focused tone. But it works just fine, as it’s still an important phase in the life of teen hero Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman). And a few new (if simpler) enigmas are still introduced.
In “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” the demigod child of Poseidon continues his training at the secret camp for mythical beings, now besieged by the first film’s antagonist. Percy and his close friends and fellow trainees Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) seek a mystical object that will repair their camp’s security system. The young heroes, however, are joined by Percy’s half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), an awkward cyclops that makes Percy question his place and title as the sole direct descendant of the old gods.

While the characters aren’t as intriguing as when they were introduced, “Sea of Monsters” nonetheless moves Percy’s saga forward. There are no appearances by Zeus or Poseidon, which helps in giving the teen characters a sense of independence, the presence of Dionysus (Stanley Tucci) and the centaur Chiron (Anthony Stewart Head) notwithstanding.

The plot is somewhat similar to “The Immortals,” in that there is a scheme involving the resurrection of a long-forgotten Titan. It’s actually an overused trope, the revival of an old power, but it’s decently executed, if toned down for the tween-teen set. Directed by Thor Freudenthal (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid”), the film has competent action scenes and effects; the teen demigod performs familiar and new feats, expected perks of being Percy, but he's a heavily unsung hero in this part.

This sequel isn’t earth-shaking, but it’s still adequately done, and leaves our curiosity piqued enough for the unraveling of the new puzzle next installment.

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