A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is the sequel to Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief -- both of which are based on Rick Riordan's best-selling fantasy book series. Riordan's action- and humor-packed tales are enormously popular with elementary-school readers, but, like its predecessor, this big-screen adaptation does include violence and peril-filled scenes (and a few presumed deaths) that could scare younger kids -- even if they're familiar with the story. Unlike the first movie, there aren't any inappropriate references to sexy women or relationships. Ultimately, this is a hero's journey in which a main character and his friends save each other and defeat evil.
What's the story?
PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS picks up a year after the events of the first movie, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, with Percy (Logan Lerman) -- Poseidon's half-human, demigod son -- living in Camp Half Blood with his best friends, fellow demigod Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson). When a Colchis Bull breaches the protective barrier provided by Thalia's Pine Tree (a gods-created tree that grew from the body of a dead young demigod), the tree starts to decay. Without the tree, anyone could enter Camp Half Blood and kill the demigods, so Percy, Annabeth, and Grover decide they must embark on a dangerous mission to the Sea of Monsters (the Bermuda Triangle) to find the legendary Golden Fleece, which has magical healing properties. But they're not the only ones trying to find the fleece -- the first movie's villain, half-blood Luke (Jake Abel), wants it, too ... to revive the biggest, baddest god of all -- Kronos.
Is it any good?
This quest is a rather epic disappointment unworthy of the Percy Jackson name; skip the adaptation and just read the excellent book. Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series is beloved by both tentative readers and die-hard book addicts, so it's a shame that the movies based on his richly depicted demigod universe aren't nearly as good as his fantasy novels. It's not the cast, because Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is a terrific young actor -- though at 21 he's too old to play the teenage Percy ever again. That's fine, because it's unlikely the franchise will continue after such a lackluster follow-up to the already less-than-amazing first adaptation.
There's something remarkably telling about checking your watch several times during a movie that's 107 minutes long. To it's credit, there are a couple of bright spots -- like when Nathan Fillion pops up playing Hermes and makes an obvious Firefly joke about brilliant shows that are cancelled too soon, and the inimitable Ron Perlman playing the voice of blind and starving cyclops Polyphemus.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about film adaptations. How does Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters compare to the book it was based on? How about with the first movie? What changes did you like, and which parts of the book do you wish had made it to the big screen?
The Percy Jackson books are based on myths. What did you learn about mythological characters and stories? Does the movie make you want to read the books (either for the first time or again) or more about Greek myths?
Talk about the scare factor. Did anything make you want to hide under your chair? Which mythological monsters would you least like to see in the real world? Does fantasy violence have the same impact as more realistic violence?
- In theaters: August 7, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: December 17, 2013
- Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Logan Lerman
- Director: Thor Freudenthal
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- Run time: 106 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: fantasy action violence, some scary images and mild language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.