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Page to Screen: Percy Jackson & the Sea of Monsters

04 Jan

pts som

I have finally seen the second film in the Percy Jackson franchise, and my emotions are heavily conflicted.

It seems to me that a film adaption of a book is in more danger of being ruined the closer to the original plotline it gets, which I think is the case with this movie. The first installment, The Lightning Thief, was different enough from the book that I still liked it (although I do my best not to think about the innacuracies, otherwise I get angry), but I have a feeling that Thor Freudenthal was trying to get the franchise to follow the books’ story closer, although still have creative differences to make the movie work.

But I think he went about it the wrong way.

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may contain spoilersI had such high hopes for this film. It seemed the new director was going to fix all the mistakes Chris Columbus made the first time round. What with Annabeth’s hair being the right colour, Clarisse, Mr D, and other missing characters appearing, and the story’s quest actually matching the one in the book.

But, unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

I think the problem really started with Tyson’s appearance – in the book, he and Percy had been friends for awhile before going to Camp. In the film, however, he just wanders into the Big House like nothing’s up.

Another example of the story trying to be more like the book, but still firmly saying, “I’m the movie, I have the right to be different,” but being pulled off poorly, was the Charybdis scene. “She’s the guardian of the Sea of Monsters,” is she, Annabeth? That would suggest she swims around and strategically sucks everyone in. They got swallowed! What? You don’t think anyone else that got consumed by Charybdis thought of shooting her from the inside? Such a genius you are, Percy. Your wisdom outmatched even Athena.

And where the heck was Scylla?

The biggest issues I had with the plot changes were Grover being with the others for the beginning of the quest (no mention of Pan whatsoever), Polyphemus’ lair being on Circeland (If you really wanted Circe’s island, you could have just added it how it should have been), and Kronos being revived. I mean, what in the name of the gods were they thinking when they decided to bring Kronos back to life in the second installment, when he doesn’t make a physical appearance, well, ever in the series? And for crying out loud, don’t you think Luke would lose his loyalty to the titan after being swallowed? I don’t know how the filmmakers plan on explaining that, but they better come up with a good idea.

There were some changes I didn’t mind, however, such as the age in the prophecy being changed from 16 to 20. Although it’s wrong, there’s no way it could have worked when Logan Lerman was 18 when the first film was released.

I thought the Chariot of Damnation scene was pulled off spectacularly. They managed to fit it into the plot nicely, even though it was out of order. And the scene was quite loyal to the novel, too.

Another accurate scene was Thalia’s revival. Although Annabeth should have been in more shock, it was done perfectly, I look forward to seeing Paloma Kwiatkowski in this role in the future.

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I was fully expecting Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters to bring the film franchise around and make sense in accordance to the books’ plot, but I was sorely disappointed. Although there was a clear attempt to please fans with more accuracy in the film, I found the storyline a little messy compared to the novel. However, I will praise the actors on portraying their characters well (although I think the writing of Annabeth needs a little work, Alexandra Daddario still did a great job; and even though Grover has an entirely different personality, Brandon T Jackson’s portrayal still suits him). And although I wasn’t happy with the outcome of the film, I will thank Thor Freudenthal for trying to make it more accurate, and I still have hope for the franchise’s future.

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Posted by on January 4, 2014 in Page to Screen, Reviews

 

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