Oh, how we looked forward to seeing Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters. My 9-year-old re-read the book for the umpteenth time and questioned why I didn’t re-read it (for-what-it’s-worth, he quizzed me enough on it that I feel like I had re-read it.) The Oddessey being one of the few Greek Mythology books I enjoyed in high school, I couldn’t wait to see the emotional scene where Annabeth was lured by the Sirens, and then the whole entrapment by Circe… oh! The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2), the second book in the series, had so many pivotal parts that effect character development and followed through the story’s many other volumes–this was a big movie, I was sure.
I was a bit concerned because early reviews panned the film. One of the reviewers mentioned that there were too many characters and not enough storyline to understand them. Clearly, this is one movie that only illustrates the greater book. In other words, if you didn’t read the book, don’t expect to follow the depth of the movie.
And, so, Saturday, I drove a car-full of (almost) 8, 9, and 10-year-olds to the theater.
Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters Movie Review
It was good. But. (There are a lot of buts.)
The movie story stays mostly with the theme of the book. But SO much of the book isn’t included, so many parts that are integral to character development and later volumes of the story are just… not there. The entire Sirens part is gone, with barely a nod to Odysseus. That bothered me a lot. Circe is barely mentioned (yet, if you’ve read the later volumes, you know that Circe comes up again later, with reference to her part in the 2nd book).
The movie is seriously lacking in character development. If you haven’t read the story, you won’t know what Tyson is a little kid in a big guy’s body or that Annabeth is brilliant. You’ll understand that there’s competition between Percy and Clarice, but you won’t know what drives her or why her confidence is so strong while his so lacking.
There are also major changes, important changes. One of my favorite things that happened in the theater was the movie changed the prophecy age from 16 to 20. No big deal if you haven’t read the book. But when they said “twenty” in the movie, the theater audience erupted in comments, “twenty? What?! It’s supposed to be 16! How could they do that???”
So… Good movie, lots to enjoy, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the book.
It is, however, excellent for appraising your child’s reading comprehension. After viewing the movie, we had a long discussion about all of the elements missing from the film, all of the questions we have for future films because the story has been changed, and how we would have done it differently.
Should your kids see Sea of Monsters?
If they’re fans of the books, then, yes, they should see the movie. Just make sure they (and you) read the books first. While the movie has a thrilling roller-coaster-like adventure (this would be so fun at a theme park) and several scary monsters, it kept its PG rating and isn’t too scary for elementary-aged kids. The language is harmless, there are lessons in making your destiny, and you’ll learn a little about mythology (though, not much. Don’t expect to come out of the theater really understanding any connections or gods.) There were a few preschoolers in the theater, and they were clinging to their parents, crying as they left. I am so glad I didn’t bring my four-year-old and didn’t recommend you do, either.
Recommended for children in grades 3 and up (2nd grade, if your child is an advanced reader.)