Who says sequels have to be announced the moment a movie comes out – if not before? It’s been just over a year since ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ hit theaters and now, according to the LA Times, a sequel could be in the works. Sequel talk was abuzz just before the film hit on February 12th, but when it opened in third place with $31.2 million and only went on to earn $88.8 million domestically, the concept appeared to fizzle out.
However, the film did earn an additional $137.7 million internationally, which brought its grand total to $226.5 million, well over the $95 million budget and apparently that’s enough to get original helmer Chris Columbus back onboard, but only to produce. Producer Karen Rosenfelt will also return, as will the cast lead by Logan Lerman. The group could reunite to begin shooting as early as this summer.
This time around, Percy Jackson, the average kid who previously discovered he’s actually the son of Poseidon, will reteam with the daughter of Athena, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), to journey to the Sea of Monsters to track down the Golden Fleece, the only known remedy to cure Camp Half-Blood’s magical border, the Thalia’s tree. The second film will be subtitled ‘The Sea of Monsters’ in accordance to the second book in Rick Riordan’s five-book series.
So, why should you care? The original film stands at a rotten 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and is merely being called a “modest hit” in terms of its intake at the box office, so this second should be of no interest to you, right? Well, not really. While the first film certainly has its issues, namely cartoonish CGI, it’s also wildly enjoyable. Actually, there are a number of reasons why ‘Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters’ could be worth your while, but let’s stick with just the top five:
1. We’re in desperate need of a fun magical franchise. As ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Twilight Saga’ gets increasingly dark and serious, we seem to have forgotten that teens with powers is simply a cool concept. Yes, ‘Percy Jackson’ has its perilous moments and hints at a potential romance, but overall, the tone is light and a bit goofy, which makes for a wildly fun and entertaining experience.
2. The cast is talented. One of the reasons ‘Percy Jackson’ was able to work with that lighter tone without seeming silly was due to excellent performances. Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario and Brandon T. Jackson make for an excellent leading trio. Lerman has absolutely no trouble at all commanding the film and the other two make for great secondary, yet influential pals. Annabeth was a tad weak the first time around, but should her role be amped up in ‘Sea of Monsters,’ there’s no doubt Daddario will seize the opportunity.
3. Uma Thurman is out. Thurman’s big moment is a prime example of how the original film’s campier tone can backfire big time. The Medusa battle wasn’t tense, rather hilariously bad and the fault lies entirely with Thurman and CGI. In terms of the major oops on the effects department’s part, all you’ve really got to do to get a sense of the problem is take a look at Thurman’s character poster. The snake-do is absolutely ridiculous looking and not realistic in the least. As for Thurman herself, she just didn’t try. Simply stomping around and dragging out your lines doesn’t make you sinister in the least. The bright side of this? SPOILER ALERT – Medusa dies.
4. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski are replacing original writer, Craig Titley. Titley didn’t do a bad job by any means, but he is responsible for some of the first film’s less successful moments and that might have something to do with the fact that he tends to work on child-friendly films like ‘Cheaper By The Dozen’ and ‘Scooby Doo.’ Alexander and Karaszewski, on the other hand, have had experience with more adult fair including ‘Ed Wood’ and ‘Man on the Moon’ in addition to pieces with a more juvenile tone like ‘Agent Cody Banks.’ Should they strike the right balance, the second ‘Percy Jackson’ could be even more accessible to kids and adults alike.
5. We’re already waist-deep in this world. One issue the first film had to overcome is that not everyone’s read the books. Not only were the filmmakers responsible for getting across the story of this lightning thief, but introducing us to this world, too. While this wasn’t an issue in many respects, certain characters we merely glossed over. Who wouldn’t want to see a little more of Sean Bean as Zeus? I know I would. This time around, we already know who and what we’re dealing with, giving Alexander and Karaszewski the freedom to dig a little deeper and really flesh out the characters and their situations.