It's the sequel no-one asked for of this low grade Harry Potter knock-off starring Logan Lerman.
“How shall we keep the convoluted plot wheels turning?”
“By turning all dialogue into an elongated Q&A session!.”
“Won’t audiences tire of this formulaic process?”
“Not if we throw in monsters.”
“Are you sure?"
“Hey, chatty Cathy! Why don’t you stand in front of that mad creature from Hades? No it’s not going to hurt you…”
Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters is the latest in a line of mass-marketed, family-friendly summer blockbusters. Adapted from book two of US author Rick Riordan’s wildly successful penology, it’s about the breathless adventures of Percy (Logan Lerman), son of water god Poseidon, his friendship with trusted sidekicks and battles with mortal enemies.
PJ’s gimmick is that its fantasy setting marries characters from Greek mythology with modern-day sensibilities. The introduction of a Cyclops is followed by the interjection: “The politically correct term is 'occularly impaired!'” It would be funnier if this wasn’t how every joke was pitched. Mythology is whack compared to today’s world. Got it?
We meet our hero in Harry Potter-like circumstances in a woodland bubble-of-a-school for "half-bloods". Authority figures are trotting centaur (Anthony Head) and wine god Dionysus (Stanley Tucci). Their sanctuary is protected by an invisible wall, which sprung up after Thalia, daughter of Zeus, died a young and violent death. A mad robotic bull charges in proving their security to be bull then it’s prophecy this, quest that, and before anyone has time to care a quartet made up of Percy, his Cyclops bro Tyson (Douglas Smith), daughter of Athena, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and wisecracking Satyr, Grover (Brandon T Jackson), are transported to Washington DC. Their naivety in the face of real world conventions draws unfavourable comparisons with lovely Amy Adams vehicle, Enchanted.
A luminous turn from Nathan Fillion as Hermes (fronting out his God status with the alias of ‘Harold’ proprietor of a UPS shop) provides a tantalising glimpse of a better film, exposing the chronic problem that has two names, both beginning with ‘L’. Logan Lerman’s Percy is stonier than a Medusa victim. CGI monsters come and go and a moral lesson about accepting the differences in others rumbles from the get go with all the booming subtlety of the voice of God.
Percy round one wasn’t totally awful.
Here’s to looking at you, Hermes.
There is a better film about gods and monsters: it's called Gods and Monsters.