The quality of the cast, and themes of the book inevitably drew comparisons with Harry Potter, and given that Chris Columbus who also directed The Philosopher’s Stone, directed the Lightning Thief, which actually did quite well at the box office, I was expecting at least some of them to return.
However, only the main young-adult leads have made the return (Columbus produces) and the cast have aged. Logan Lerman as Percy especially now looks too old to play a teenager. His character was changed from 12 in the book to 16 in first film, but he now looks like a man playing a child and it doesn’t quite work. With 5 books in the series and the apparent desire to make them all with a couple of years between each one, the main “teenage” cast could in fact be in their 30’s by the time the last one is released.
The story, once again loosely based on the Greek Myths, is about the search for the Golden Fleece to help save their home, Camp Half-Blood from any attacks that may occur. The Fleece’s predominate feature in the myths, is that of having healing powers for whoever wears it, and so predictably this is foreshadowed to be required at some point. However by the end of the film they are using the Fleece willy-nilly on very arbitrary things that crop up. The two main plots both resolved by this item and it also forms the deus ex machine at the end. With Percy and his Cyclops half-brother being able to be healed by water at every turn as well it means that no-one really is ever in any peril and given they are sailing on a Sea of Monsters, it doesn’t bode well.
Once again though the special effects make the monsters look great, and my favourite was definitely the sea creature which seemed homage to the Sarlacc from Star Wars, a huge mouth living at the bottom of a whirlpool which swallows the ship whole. The Hippocampus is also superbly realised and this is one of the highlights of the film.
I also enjoyed the device of having a mist that deceives anyone that looks at them into believing they are seeing normal human beings, but it isn’t used enough and instead they put sunglasses onto a Cyclops, without irony, which means that he wouldn’t in fact have been able to see for the majority of the film.
Nathan Fillion as Hermes almost steals the movie, but the rest of the cast don’t really seem all that interested. Seemingly because it is such a SFX-driven feature, they appear bored due to the lack of interaction with their CGI-Counter parts.
Sadly though it doesn’t live up to its predecessor which is quite underrated, and so whether they will make the other 3 movies is unknown, but given the apparent lack of passion found in this one, I doubt it will be considered.