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    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Fox

    Dec 17 2013 02:26 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Though the first Percy Jackson movie was not a big hit domestically, it did much better overseas which is why, three years later, we have the second film in the series, Thor Freudenthal’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. With all of that tiresome backstory from the first film out of the way, the sequel gets to concentrate more on various teen adventures featuring several of the demigod offspring of the Olympian gods. The film seems mainly geared to a pre-teen audience with very little here actually for older kids or adults, but it once again does provide a nice introduction to younger folk investigating the stories of Greek mythology.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Fox
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    • Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
    • Rating: PG
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 46 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, UltraViolet
    • Case Type: keep case with slipcover
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 12/17/2013
    • MSRP: $39.99

    The Production Rating: 3/5

    The safety of Camp Half-Blood, the safe haven for the children of gods, is threatened when a force field generated by a dead demigod is infected by blight and can only be cured by the Golden Fleece. Clarisse La Rue (Leven Rambin), the aggressive daughter of god of war Ares, is chosen for the quest, but Poseidon’s son Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), his cyclops half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), the satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), and Athena’s daughter Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) aren’t happy about not being chosen and go off on their own path to find the Fleece. The journey takes them to the Sea of Monsters aka the Bermuda Triangle where they meet enemies both god-like (their old nemesis Luke - Jake Abel) and mythological (Charybdis the vortex and the giant Cyclops Polyphemus) and must also deal with the angry Clarisse who doesn’t appreciate not being trusted to complete the quest on her own.

    As was also true with the first film in the series, the screenplay by Marc Guggenheim, based on the second novel in the series by Rick Riordan, introduces a new generation to the mythological names and legends of Greek mythology even if the CGI effects used to bring them to life are a fair sight inferior to the work seen in other film franchises like the Marvel superhero series, the Tolkien epics, or the Harry Potter films. The first action set piece where the demigods at Camp Half-Blood face off against a mechanical bull looks phony from beginning to end, and the noisy adventures with the gaping maw of the whirlpool Charybdis or with Polyphemus out to have a tasty meal of the near-immortals aren’t much better for any but the most susceptible. The film’s best moments, in fact, don’t deal with the monsters as much as it does with the slow but inevitable acceptance into their midst of Percy’s half-brother Tyson whose single eye separates him from all of the others but whose sweet and non-threatening demeanor and a puppyish desire to please endear him quickly to the viewer. Of course, just as in the first film, the group’s real adversary is once again Luke, just as he was the “lightning thief” as named in the first film. His end game to resurrect the Titan Kronos to take down all of the Olympians turns out to be something of an anticlimax in the film though this is the last of the monsters that the gang must face. It's just something of a letdown.

    As mentioned previously, Douglas Smith as the precious, precocious Tyson steals all of his scenes. Logan Lerman’s Percy, still doubting his prowess as a champion though his abilities are as clear as can be to the viewer, seems to be the victim of the script’s manufactured angst and doesn’t come off as well in this film as he did in the original. Brandon T. Jackson has toned down the motormouth street-wise jive talk from his first go-round as Grover, while Leven Rambin as the egotistical Clarisse and Jake Abel as the brooding, sadistic Luke do fine with their one-note characters. Stanley Tucci is practically unrecognizable as the dotty Dr. D. and Anthony Head as the centaur Chiron offers a reasonably settled adult voice to the adolescent majority.

    Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA

    The film’s 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio is delivered in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is an on-and-off affair with many scenes sharp and clear but others surprisingly indistinct and lacking detail. Color is generally good with accurate flesh tones on display. Black levels are fine but not strikingly deep. Shadow detail is better than it ought to be with the iffy black levels. The film has been divided into 32 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 5/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix makes exceptional use of the entire soundfield with lots of activity in the fronts and rears and with those back surround channels used to provide smooth panning across the soundstage. Andrew Lockington’s music score gets a wonderful spread through the soundstage, too. Dialogue has been expertly recorded and has been placed in the center channel though it occasionally echoes through the fronts and rears in cave scenes and other echo-ridden locations. There is plenty of activity for the LFE channel as well.

    Special Features: 2/5

    Tyson Motion Comic (5:50, HD): a motion comic detailing some experiences of Tyson before he showed up at Camp Half-Blood.

    Deconstructing a Demigod (4:11, HD): director Thor Freudenthal describes the film’s characters and praises the actors who play them. They’re also heard in this brief EPK featurette.

    Back to Camp Half-Blood (2:39, HD): the actors from the first film talk about how great it is to be reunited in this second film in the series.

    It’s All in the Eye (5:00, HD): director Thor Freudenthal and actor Douglas Smith discuss the difficulties in fashioning a character with only one eye.

    Theatrical Trailers (2:25, 2:12, HD): two theatrical trailers are presented individually.

    Promo Trailers (HD): Walk with Dinosaurs: The Movie 3D, Turbo, The Croods, Epic.

    DVD/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet: disc and code sheet enclosed in the case.

    Overall Rating: 3/5

    Strictly for the preteen crowd, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters offers a decent amount of action and adventure for a nondiscriminating audience. But adults will quickly see that the CGI effects are below par compared to adventure films for older folks and the plotting is very episodic and juvenile.

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
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    4 Comments

    It's slightly more accurate to the book then the first, but the long lag between the two films makes it harder to accept.  This is because the character of Percy is supposed to be about 13/14, and that definitely doesn't sell in this film. Some of the casting I thought was a matter of great choices that should have been made for the first film.

    I have seen the first one but I thought it was a 'me too' effort. 'My' Greek mythology film is Clash of the Titans (1981) starring Harry Hamlin and the lovely Judi Bowker. 

    I have been reading the books to my 8yo twins.  We are just about to start the 9th (?) book.  I have no idea how they plan on making that work at the rate they are trickling these out.  Based on the last movie's box office, I was really surprised to see this one getting made.  It sounds like they had to really cut back on the budget to get it made which is too bad.  I'm letting my wallet recover from Christmas.  By the time it does this will hopefully be cheaper.  My kids really want to see it.

    It sounds like they had to really cut back on the budget to get it made which is too bad.

     

    Budget was nearly the same for each film. The first was reported at $95 million, the second at $90 million.