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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Review

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) movie poster Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Theatrical Release: August 7, 2013 / Running Time: 106 Minutes / Rating: PG

Director: Thor Freudenthal / Writers: Marc Guggenheim (screenplay), Rick Riordan (novel)

Cast: Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson), Alexandra Daddario (Annabeth Chase), Douglas Smith (Tyson), Leven Rambin (Clarisse La Rue), Brandon T. Jackson (Grover Underwood), Jake Abel (Luke Castellan), Anthony Stewart Head (Chiron), Stanley Tucci (Dionysus/Mr. D), Connor Dunn (Tereus), Paloma Kwiatkowski (Thalia Grace), Nathan Fillion (Hermes), Alisha Newton (Young Annabeth), Bjorn Yearwood (Young Grover), Samuel Braun (Young Luke), Katelyn Mager (Young Thalia), Mary Birdsong (Gray Sister #1), Yvette Nicole Brown (Gray Sister #2), Missi Pyle (Gray Sister #3), Christopher Redman (Reardon), Jordan Weller (Ichneutae), Camille Atebe (Harpy Barista), Anthony Shim (Barista - Hecatonshire), Robert Knepper (Kronos), Robert Maillet (Polyphemus, Laistrygonian), Ron Perlman (voice of Polyphemus), Shohreh Aghdashloo (voice of Oracle), Octavia Spencer (voice of Martha), Craig Robinson (voice of George)

Buy Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet DVD Instant Video

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was made and titled with franchise aspirations. The 2010 film adapted the first book in Rick Riordan's series of young adult novels and on account of that and its fantastic content, it invited obvious comparisons to some of the most successful franchises of our times,
most notably Harry Potter. 20th Century Fox has made a number of plays to develop a passionate, young, and avid fanbase comparable to that decade-long phenomenon's faithful following. Eragon didn't take and at the end of 2010, Fox would discover that Disney's exit from distributing Walden Media's Chronicles of Narnia films was not so foolhardy.

Percy did not have quite the same expectations, which is why it opened during the generally lackluster month of February. Still, it wielded a production budget of $95 million, which to put into perspective was more than the first Hunger Games ($78 M) and much more than the original Twilight ($37 M). Percy's earnings -- $89 M domestically and another $138 M overseas -- were not extraordinary when adjusting for theaters' take, marketing costs, etc. Thus, to sequelize or not to sequelize warranted some thought and debate. Eventually, in March 2011, news emerged that Fox would be moving forward with a second installment, adapted from the second book in Riordan's series.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters reached theaters last August, again a safe distance from Hollywood's most competitive weeks. This sequel shaved $5 M off its predecessor's budget. Still, even with the premium prices of 3D engagements and with the exposure its young leads were given in films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Texas Chainsaw 3D, Sea of Monsters failed to match Lightning Thief's grosses both in and outside of North America. It is likely that this is the last we'll see of Percy and friends on film for the time being.

By all accounts, that seems okay. Neither critics nor moviegoers loved either adaptation. Personally, I found each film to be harmless, unremarkable diversion in an altogether different league than Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

In search of the Golden Fleece, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), Percy (Logan Lerman) and Tyson (Douglas Smith) summon a most unusual taxi cab.

Sea of Monsters opens with some backstory explaining how ten years earlier, when these teenaged protagonists were young children, one of the demigods (spawn of a god and a mortal) of Camp Half-Blood gave their life to save others. Thalia, the brave daughter of Zeus, has managed to live on in the form of a giant tree that has ever since protected the camp that houses Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman); his friends, satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario); and other similarly gifted youths. Upon discovering that the Thalia tree has been poisoned, Camp Half-Blood is endangered. The camp's director, name-forgetting god of wine Dionysus (Stanley Tucci), fears that without the tree's protection, it's only a matter of time before the camp is attacked.

In an idea pitched to Dionysus, which he takes credit for, it's decided that campers will have to retrieve the Golden Fleece, whose legendary healing powers just might be the only thing to restore Thalia and her protection. Though Mr. D chooses showboat Clarisse (Leven Rambin) for this important task, Percy, his two best buds, and Tyson (Douglas Smith), his newly-discovered Cyclops half-brother, go on a mission of their own in search of the Fleece.

Theirs is an episodic odyssey that starts with them getting a wild cab ride from three old witches with a single eye between them. That brings them to Washington D.C., where Hermes (Nathan Fillion), the father of their adversary Luke (Jake Abel), works at a special UPS Store. Seeking the Fleece to revive Kronos and overthrow Olympus, Luke kidnaps Grover because he needs a satyr for this mission. Equipped with a magical mailing tape dispenser and a potent thermos from Hermes, Percy and company aim to retrieve both the Fleece and their friend. Their quest leads them to the yacht Andromeda and to the stomach of a monster in the subtitular sea.

Tyson gets the gang set up with a sea horse of a different color. Percy and company come to join forces with the cocky Clarisse (Leven Rambin) and her crew of zombie Confederate soldiers.

Sea of Monsters is constantly introducing fantastical characters and obstacles. Heavy on exposition, this sequel is always in a rush to present something spectacular, from a giant rainbow-colored sea horse to an abandoned amusement park ride to a crew of zombie Confederate soldiers. The effects are up to snuff and kept in moderation
(this runs around 95 minutes before long closing credits scroll). Cinematically, it is nimble, though that's new terrain for Thor Freudenthal, who has previously only directed feature sitcoms Hotel for Dogs and the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid. But the adventure never means a great deal to us, because we aren't greatly invested in these characters or concerned for their well-being. The design aligns a little too closely with Harry Potter but without the sense of grandeur and the classy English accents.

Percy wrestles with the notion that he could be the savior foretold in an Oracle prophecy, but this is not something this film will be seeing through. Slightly more interesting is the arc of Tyson, a character who survives a close encounter with a fiery mechanical bull with a terse explanation: "Cyclopses are fireproof." That line is indicative of a major problem, which is that the movie appears to be making up rules as it goes along. That explains why death is fleeting for two lead characters. Getting back to Tyson, though, the movie lets him spray "Mist", a magical substance packaged in a cologne bottle that converts the one big eye he's occasionally been hiding with sunglasses into two normal eyes. One spray and the film cuts down on its visual effects load, the dreadlocked Smith gets to do more than just voice/effects acting, and viewers don't have to keep suspending disbelief while looking at a creepy Cyclops. Of course, the film comes to embrace what's different, with even the Cyclops-fearing Annabeth coming around.

Childish at times (its PG rating is never in doubt), Sea of Monsters relies on puns like "DemiGoogle" and "Deit-eBay." It trots out fewer big name adult cast members this time around, keeping the focus on the kids, though Tucci and Fillion get the film's best comedy. Throughout, you can never shake the feeling that this must make for a better book than movie and that those who enjoyed the books (which I'm giving the benefit of the doubt, having never read them) probably find plenty to dislike about this filming, even after Harry Potter whipping boy Chris Columbus has moved from director/producer to simply producer on this outing.

The film is never bad enough to anger or insult, but never good enough to believe that it's worth sinking $100 million or so into each adaptation. There are other movies out there spending or losing more money than this series with nothing decidedly better or worse to show for it; the 2013 bombs Jack the Giant Slayer and Beautiful Creatures quickly come to mind. At least, this one flirts with educational/cultural value by acquainting some young viewers with Greek mythology. Although there are probably much better ways to familiarize the youth with such legends, this one can't be begrudged for taking the predominant mold of tentpole filmmaking.

Sea of Monsters hit stores a week before Christmas in a single-disc DVD and the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet combo pack reviewed here.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
BD: 7.1 DTS-HD MA (English), DTS 5.1 (German, Russian), Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVS, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Ukrainian); DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, DVS), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Spanish, French)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish; BD-only: French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Estonian, Hindi, Latvian, Lithuanian, Chinese, Ukrainian; DVD Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled in English, Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese
Release Date: December 17, 2013 / Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (1 BD-50 & 1 DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Embossed, Holographic Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on DVD ($29.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video


The relatively steep budget raises expectations, but the Blu-ray's 2.40:1 transfer still meets them. Sea of Monsters is as much of a technical feast as you'd like. It won't be competing for the Visual Effects Oscar, but its extensive digital work holds up to 1080p scrutiny, while the wide image always delivers nice colors, contrast, and detail without any shortcomings.

The 7.1 DTS-HD master audio mix thoroughly impresses also. This is a big soundtrack that envelops you on a consistent basis with all kinds of effects plus some music. Amping this set's global appeal, Fox loads the Blu-ray with foreign dubs and subtitles.

Tyson listens to a campfire ghost story from behind a tree in his animated motion comic. Making a movie isn't just fun and games, but "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" looks like that in a pair of behind-the-scenes shorts featuring Brandon T. Jackson.


The Blu-ray's light collection of all-HD extras begins with a highly-touted Tyson motion comic (5:50), an animated short which shares with us the young Cyclops' life as a societal outcast prior to Camp Half-Blood.

"Deconstructing a Demigod" (4:11) is a making-of short that has director Thor Freudenthal and the young cast discuss the characters and the actor's demands.

"Back to Camp Half-Blood" (2:39) gathers more casual cast reflections with looks at the easygoing camp-like atmosphere of production.

Director Thor Freudenthal discusses the challenges of depicting a Cyclops convincingly in "It's All in the Eye." The DVD doesn't have any bonus features, but it does feature the same main menu montage as the Blu-ray.

"It's All in the Eye" (5:00) discusses the character of Tyson and ensuring his portrayal

was anything but monstrous with casting, costume design, and visual effects.

Extras wind down with not one, but two Sea of Monsters theatrical trailers (2:25 & 2:12).

The Blu-ray opens with trailers for Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie, Turbo, The Croods, and Epic. The Sneak Peek submenu holds these and adds promos for The Wolverine, "Dragons: Riders of Berk", and Free Birds.

Fox continues to do combo packs their own way, at least some of the time. The DVD in this set differs from the one sold separately. This one strips all extras, even promotional trailers, to make room for the transferrable digital copy. I guess that DVD-ROM drive of yours is still good for something!

The menu alternates between screen-filling film clips and character poster profiles. The Blu-ray both supports bookmarks and resumes playback.

Snugly topped by an embossed, holographic slipcover, the eco-friendly keepcase holds an insert with your code and directions for transferring the included digital copy or streaming/downloading the UltraViolet version alongside the two distinctly labeled discs.

Behind the scenes of his UPS Store, Hermes (Nathan Fillion) shows Annabeth, Tyson, and Percy his staff with snakes and other fantastical things.


Though it aims to be a Harry Potter successor, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters settles for light entertainment. It offers the diversion of an average 21st century family-friendly adventure, but never engages or excites to the extent intended. Thus, it makes for a decent viewing for those of the right age or mindset, but not something to frequently revisit, think about, or hope continues into another episode.

Fox's combo pack befits the subject, with a dynamite feature presentation, a light but sufficient group of youth-oriented extras, and all the versatility you could want.

Buy Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Directed by Thor Fruedenthal: Diary of a Wimpy Kid | Produced by Christopher Columbus: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Jack the Giant Slayer Beautiful Creatures The Hunger Games The Sorcerer's Apprentice Bridge to Terabithia
Logan Lerman: Stuck in Love | Brandon T. Jackson: Thunderstruck | Alexandra Daddario: Hall Pass
Jake Abel: I Am Number Four | Nathan Fillion: Castle: The Complete First Season
New: The Lone Ranger Insidious: Chapter 2 Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper

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Reviewed January 7, 2014.

Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2014 20th Century Fox, Sunswept Entertainment, 1492 Pictures, and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.