Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

2013: The YA Invasion Continues

If you hadn’t heard, 2013 is the year that a small indie production called The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, starring little-known commercial actress Jennifer Lawrence (am I saying that right?) stormed into theaters. In truth, the massive-scale production, bolstered by a months-long marketing campaign (step into a Subway sometime for a District 12 themed sandwich, because nothing screams “we’re actually starving” like footlongs), has earned over $600M worldwide to date, and is expected to reach $800M by the end of its theatrical run. This is also the year that everyone and their producer attempted to find the next Hunger Games franchise and fell completely, utterly flat. Line ‘em up: The Host, Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters and Ender’s Game all tried their hand at making the jump from page to screen, but nothing achieved anything near what Catching Fire created, both in terms of financial success and creative content.

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discs toad road

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Toad Road James (James Davidson) is a slacker, but that shouldn’t be mistaken for meaning he sits around all day doing nothing. Instead, he sits around all day smoking, popping, and snorting anything he and his friends can get their hands on, but that starts to change when he meets the new girl, Sara (Sara Anne Jones). She’s new to the drug scene, he introduces her, and she gets hooked just as he wants out. He agrees to one last trip with her. Shrooms in hand, the two head out to the legendary Toad Road to investigate rumors of the seven gates of hell. It goes according to plan until he wakes up to discover she’s disappeared. Writer/director Jason Banker’s debut feature is low budget, raw, messy, unsure of itself, and yet oddly mesmerizing. The “horror” element introduced via the title feels almost like an afterthought added to make the film more marketable, but the core of the film works as a frequently intense and often painful look at the obvious and not so obvious struggles that come with drug addiction. The doomed love story adds to the film’s tragic allure, but the real life fate of Miss Jones sadly cements it. [DVD extras: Commentary with writer/director Jason Banker and friends, deleted scenes, featurettes, booklet]

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review percy jackson 2

Of all the young adult (YA) franchise starter wannabes that have graced the big screen only to disappear into obscurity, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is probably not the one you’d expect or want to get a sequel. (That honor goes to this year’s Beautiful Creatures, a conclusion I’m sure all twelve people who paid to see it in theaters would agree with.) But box office is a global game now, so when Percy and his friends grossed $226M on a $95M budget the sequel got the green light envied by so many others. But where the first film had a massive, Harry Potter-sized marketing campaign, a Potter director in Chris Columbus and a non-Potter shirtless Pierce Brosnan, the follow-up would have to make do with somewhat less. Namely a smaller budget, a director named Thor, and a bespectacled Anthony Head. After realizing his identity as the son of Poseidon in the first film, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is now firmly ensconced in the world of the half-bloods and remains something of a legend at the fat camp where all of the twenty-something kids hang out and train for the Hunger Games. When a giant mechanical bull breaks through the magical wall surrounding camp it sets Percy on a quest for the only thing that can save them all, the legendary Golden Fleece. Together with Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) the satyr, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) the eye model, and Tyson (Douglas Smith) the surprise step-brother who can only see the world […]

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percyjackson

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief had all the pieces in place to become the successor to the wildly successful Harry Potter franchise. It had a wide-eyed young protagonist (Logan Lerman), a bunch of mythical creatures, and even the same director (Chris Columbus) who successfully launched the Harry Potter franchise. While it didn’t quite become the cultural phenomenon that Harry Potter did, Percy Jackson did manage to make a good chunk of money—especially overseas—so now they’re going to try their hand at a sequel. A sequel that, from the looks of how much its scope has expanded, the studio is continuing to pin financial hopes on. This time around Columbus has handed the directing baton over to Diary of a Wimpy Kid helmer Thor Freudenthal, and if this trailer for the new film is any indication, his Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is going to be relying on a snappier title, beloved-by-nerds actors from Joss Whedon shows, and especially huge summer spectacle in order to build on the foundation laid by The Lightning Thief and bring in even more box office dollars.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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