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FOX

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Thor Freudenthal
Cast:
Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Brandon T. Jackson, Jake Abel, Stanley Tucci
Writing Credits:
Marc Guggenheim, Rick Riordan (based upon the novel "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters")

Synopsis:
The magical, mythical adventures of teenager Percy Jackson - son of the Greek god Poseidon - continue in this heroic, action-packed thrill ride! Out to prove he's not just a "one-quest wonder," Percy and his demigod friends embark on an epic, cross-country journey into the treacherous Sea of Monsters, where they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate evil. With time running out, Percy must find and bring home the fabled Golden Fleece, which has the power to save his world ... and save us all!

Box Office:
Budget
$90 million.
Opening Weekend
$14.401 million on 3031 screens.
Domestic Gross
$68.316 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
German DTS 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian DTS 5.1
Ukrainian Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
German
Portuguese
Russian
Estonian
Hindi
Latvian
Lithuanian
Chinese
Ukrainian
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
German
Portuguese
Russian
Chinese

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 12/17/2013

Bonus:
• Motion Comic
• “Deconstructing a Demigod” Featurette
• “Back to Camp Half-Blood” Featurette
• “It’s All in the Eye” Featurette
• Trailers
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 30, 2013)

Back in 2010, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief hit screens without much impact. In the US, it made $88 million, and it crept up to $226 million worldwide. For a flick with a $95 million budget, that had to disappoint studio heads, but apparently it was enough to greenlight a sequel three years later.

That leaves us with 2013’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. In 2010, I opined that Thief’s lack of box office sizzle would end the “series” and was wrong, so I won’t make another prediction. That said, the $68 million US/$199 million worldwide gross of Sea can’t set studio hearts on-fire, so I remain skeptical.

That attitude greeted Sea as a film; Thief didn’t do a lot for me, so I didn’t expect much from its sequel. Still, I like action flicks so I figured I’d give Sea a shot.

In the first film, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) learned that he was the son of Poseidon, which made him a demigod. Now he spends most of his time at Camp Half-Blood, where he hones his skills – and encounters a crisis of confidence, as a rivalry with fellow demigod Clarisse (Leven Rambin) leaves him unsure of his abilities.

Into this situation steps Tyson (Douglas Smith), a previously unknown half-brother of Percy’s; they share the same father but one-eyed Tyson’s mother was a nymph. He soon comes in handy and he and Percy help take down a killer mechanical bull that makes it through the camp’s previously impenetrable force field.

How does this occur? Traitorous demigod Luke (Jake Abel) poisoned the tree that powers the shield and plans his revenge on the others. Percy finds himself at the center of a quest to find the Golden Fleece and save the day.

When Chris Columbus directed the first movie, the choice made sense. After all, he led the first two Harry Potter flicks, so it seemed logical for Columbus to launch another fantasy/action franchise based on popular novels.

Columbus didn’t return for Sea; instead, we get Thor Freudenthal, a perplexing choice. Prior to Sea, Freudenthal directed two feature films: 2008’s Hotel for Dogs and 2010’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Both offered light, kid-oriented comedies and didn’t seem like logical precursors for a movie such as Sea.

Freudenthal’s background explains why Sea tends toward a comedic bent. Maybe it’d go down that path anyway, but I imagine that the director’s tendencies led it away from the action side of things and more toward mirth.

Does this work? Yes and no. At its best, Sea offers a breezy little adventure, and it gives us some reasonably entertaining comedy. I can’t say we get anything hilarious, but the film boasts decent amusement.

The action scenes fare less well, though I can’t say they’re bad. Actually, the early sequence with the mechanical bull seems borderline thrilling, but it ends up as the only scene that brings real excitement to the film. Though some other action elements seem decent, none of them add true zest to the proceedings; they’re fairly perfunctory and without much life.

It doesn’t help that Sea suffers from visual effects that range from “passable at best” to “pretty freakin’ terrible”. The worst stems from the attempts to give Douglas Smith look like he only has one eye; these effects remain wholly unconvincing and create a real distraction since the character gets so much screen time. Other effects aren’t better, and given how much the movie relies on them, that becomes a problem.

Would flawless visual effects have made Sea a genuinely good movie? No – they’d help but it’d remain mediocre. At its best, Sea delivers mild entertainment, but it does nothing to rise above that level.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D+

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a largely solid transfer.

Sharpness occasionally looked a little soft – mainly in some dimly-lit segments – but overall definition seemed positive. No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to mar the presentation.

In terms of colors, hello orange and teal! Those tones didn’t dominate in an oppressive manner, but they led the palette and left the movie with a limited range of hues. Within those parameters, the hues looked fine. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows were usually positive; a few slightly murky low-light elements emerged, but those weren’t a big concern. Overall, this was a good image.

I felt consistently pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, though it didn’t become anything stunning. Much of the mix went with ambience, so one shouldn’t anticipate a whole lot of fireworks. Nonetheless, some of the movie’s action pieces added good kapow to the proceedings, and these ensured that the track was usually involving.

Audio quality worked fine. Music sounded dynamic and full, and effects showed good clarity and accuracy. We found warm, bold low-end, and speech seemed distinctive and concise. This was a satisfying soundtrack.

A smattering of extras complete the set. A Motion Comic runs five minutes, 50 seconds and lets us see more of the film’s Tyson character. It shows us a little of his life before he came to Camp Half-Blood and offers a decent prologue.

Three featurettes follow. Deconstructing a Demigod goes for four minutes, 11 secoonds and offers notes from director Thor Freudenthal and actors Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Logan Lerman and Leven Rambin. The show focuses on cast and characters. We get a few decent notes about the actors’ training but the piece remains pretty superficial.

Back to Camp Half-Blood spans two minutes, 39 seconds and features Jackson, Lerman, Rambin, Daddario and actors Jake Abel, and Douglas Smith. The actors tell us how much they like each other and how much fun they had on the shoot. Yawn.

Finally, the five-minute It’s All in the Eye delivers info from Freudenthal, Smith and visual effects supervisor Dan Kaufman. “Eye” covers the design and execution of the Tyson character. Despite the piece’s brevity, “Eye” gives us a fairly satisfying look at these topics.

The disc opens with ads for Walking with Dinosaurs, Turbo, The Croods and Epic. Sneak Peek also tosses in promos for The Wolverine, Dragons: Riders of Berk and Free Birds. We get two trailers for Sea as well.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Sea. It includes none of the Blu-ray’s extras.

With Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, we get a mediocre fantasy adventure. While the movie manages occasional bouts of fun and excitement, it usually seems generic and without real charm. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture and audio but lacks substantial bonus materials. Fans of the franchise may enjoy Sea, but it doesn’t do much for me.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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