Reviewed by Sam Robinson
Rated PG. Starring Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson. Directed by Thor Freudenthal.
Monsters. Gods. Weird three-headed witches that drive taxis. It seems the world of Percy Jackson has it all.
I missed 2010’s Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief under the assumption that it was trying to cash in on the success of Harry Potter. And let’s be honest, it is. However one of my friends is a massive fan of the Percy Jackson franchise and has urged me to dip my toes into the waters. I caved and rented out 2013’s sequel, Sea of Monsters, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty enjoyable to watch.
The franchise is steeped in Greek mythology. Percy Jackson (Lerman) is the son of Poseidon, and hence a demigod. He and his friends all attend Camp Half-Blood which is the hangout hub for sons and daughters of mythical gods, so it seems.
The film begins with Percy sharing the story of a girl named Thalia, daughter of Zeus. She sacrifices herself to save three others, but Zeus saves her (sorta) by turning her into a pine tree that now generates a force field to protect the camp.
Soon things turn bad. The pine tree is poisoned, protection is lost, and Percy and pals head on a quest to find a magical golden fleece which is able to heal Thalia and restore security at the camp. Unfortunately the fleece is hidden in the sea of monsters, smack bang in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle.
Now as a plot, I know that’s a lot to take in. But this is a family flick and it rolls along pretty well. There are some very enjoyable well-choreographed action sequences here. As I hinted at before, Percy and friends get a ride in a taxi driven by manic eyeless witches; and there’s another great sequence when they end up in a liferaft circling a whirlpool monster of destruction. To be honest, much of the mythical stuff was lost on me, weighing down the film a bit through explanations and the like, but it’s still a fun watch.
You might be reading this article and wondering why I’d review a film like this on a Christian website. If the aim of Reel Gospel is to project the light of Jesus onto film, music and culture, then why promote or review a film with its roots deep in Greek mythology? And this is a good question to ask, one that I’m always pondering!
Our culture loves films like this for the fantasy and escape – just look at what Marvel have done with norse god Thor. I think we need to come at Percy Jackson and see it for what it is: fiction. But we need to realise that the Bible, and what is says about gods is fact. There is only one God. And it’s not Zeus, Poseidon or Percy Jackson.
Interestingly, there’s a throwaway line at the start of the film where one of the characters turns wine into water. They say:
“Now Christians have a guy that can do this in reverse. Now that’s a God.”
Of course, it’s done tongue-in-cheek, but they are referring to Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding. It’s an amazing act, and we read why he does it in John 2:11:
Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
In doing the miracle, Jesus showed those at the wedding party that he wasn’t just any old human being. He displayed his glory, that he was the true Son of God. Not a demigod. The Son of God. God in the flesh. And people believed him! Even these fictional Half-Bloods in the film, they believe that our God exists!
As the movie continues, we see that there’s flaws to these supposed gods. Zeus and Poseidon had long ago defeated this evil dude named Kronos but they weren’t able to kill him for good. He will rise again to bring more destruction to the world. Our God has defeated Satan at the cross, and we can be confident that Jesus has power over death and that is for us too.
If you’re going to watch Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, remember that this stuff is simply enjoyable fiction. Our God is the only true God, and he is real. I’m giving it three out of five stars.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is available on Blu-Ray and DVD on Quickflix.