I've seen a lot of movies lately, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on two.
Title: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writers: Marc Guggenheim (screenplay), Rick Riordan (based on the novel by)
Stars: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, etc
Release date: 16th of August 2013 in Estonia
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.
I’m a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series and, honestly, quite sad that the movie adaptions haven’t really taken off, because they aren’t half bad. There is always some getting use to or being disappointed how the live version compares and turned out next to the books, but most of the time, if you try get over the fact that a direct adaption is quite impossible and the actual feel of the movies (if it coincides with the books) is what matters, at least to me, then I think there would be less disappointment.
I liked the first movie, the huge changes were quite annoying at first, but the actual atmosphere of the books, adventure and characters translated well to the big screen. And, luckily, the entertaining and fun aspects carried on to the second movie. I really had fun watching this!
From the first scene to the last there was non-stop action to keep me busy not analyzing the story too much (and comparing it to the book). And despite many scenes, settings being left out and altered, I’m surprised they managed to squeeze in as much as they did. So, storyline wise I don’t really have much to complain. I’m glad they added many key factors that were part of the first book, but weren’t mentioned in the first movie (though now they felt rushed being introduced as they were). The visuals in general were also believable and exciting to watch, there was some subpar stuff, but the fast pace took away from any not-too-great effects.
Some good scenes: the mechanical bull, whenever Percy used his powers (cool), the beautiful seahorse (it had a name, but I can’t remember), the sea monster swallowing the heroes’ boat (really nasty), the whole scene with HERMES!!!
Why I gave the movie the rating I did?: The ending, about half an hour from it, was dreadful. They just altered too much and went over the line, they completely changed the being of one of the main players and left it looking like a wuss, visually, power wise, evil wise… all wise. Also, one absolutely useless “sacrifice” felt out of place and there were just many things wrong with the last half an hour. I can tolerate a lot, but I felt I was watching an adaption of a completely unknown book.
I think Logan Lerman is a perfect Percy, not how I imagined him, but who cares, in essence he is Percy. Believable, likable, underdog-y, sweet, funny, brave, the list goes on. The supporting gang of two Grover and Annabeth also continued to shine and portray their characters faithfully.
Clarisse wasn’t as hardcore as I thought she would be from the books, but she remained arrogant, able, active and a great counterforce for Percy’s character. I’m really happy they introduced Dionysus, he’s like the camp’s mascot and his presence was sorely missed in the first movie. Stanley Tucci was perfect, but he could have been slightly meaner and more bitter. I didn’t really care much for Tyson in the books, but he was such a cute puppy dog in the move that he grew on me and I’m quite fond of him now. Nathan Fillion as Hermes was definitely one of the highlights of the movie, great casting!
If you are a fan, I urge you to give it a chance, it’s a fun movie, it really is! It had its issues, that I was quite disappointed with, but the overall feel of the movie I liked a lot.
Title: The Mortal Instrument: City of Bones
Director: Harald Zwart
Writers: Jessica Postigo (screenplay), Cassandra Clare (based on the novel by)
Stars: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, etc.
Release date: 23rd of August 2013 in Estonia
Genre: Adventure, Action, Drama
When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld.
I’ve been trying to read the first book in the series for several times already. I start it, I read a couple of hundred pages and then… I just move on to other things, because apparently it lacks the IT factor that makes me want to go on, even though, I actually liked what I’ve always read till the point. A mystery. I’m the kind of person who even if she is dead bored with a book and despises the content, if started I WILL finish it. So, not knowing if it’s my issue or the book’s, I decided that it would be easier to watch the movie instead of starting the book another couple of hundred times without finishing it. And here are my conclusions.
I liked it, both story wise and visually. The plot was somewhat familiar, but had its own intriguing elements and engaging conflicts. Plus, there were several twists there that I didn’t see coming and, thus, were quite original (not that I actually liked the direction they were taking, but oh well). I’m slightly becoming bored with the vampire and werewolf themes, but in this they complimented the main plot and were just in the right dosages.
The movie itself looked good too. The institute looked grand and impressive yet sad and forgotten with so little people roaming the halls. The effects weren’t in great numbers, but what was present came across believable and decent. Since I don’t remember much from the book and how I imagined everything then I couldn’t really feel that anything was in major conflict with my imagination.
The characters each had their distinct personality and features that made them likable or, if they were the bad guys, then they definitely fit the bill. Isabelle was a wonderfully tough chick, but Jace was the one that caught my fancy. His unique serious/sarcastic/daring yet not completely jaded approach was quite endearing and a lot of it had to do with how he was portrayed in the move by Jamie. I’ve heard that there were complaints regarding him in the role, but I thought he was one of the highlights. In general, it was refreshing to see so many new faces in the movie and everyone did a fine job.
My biggest con is to do with one character…
Who was incredibly useless and annoying that it was quite difficult at times for me not to cringe? The honor goes to Clary! I don’t remember if she was like that in the books as well, but, I just couldn’t find myself to even remotely root for her. She was here and there and everywhere, most of the time being saved or just standing there doing nothing significant. And when she did achieve something it wasn’t because of HER, it was due to her powers or just dumb luck. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but, Clary definitely didn’t cut it for me as a great YA heroine. Luckily, others were there to almost fill the void she left with her incompetence and damsel-in-distress-ness.
Other than Clary, I’ve already said that Jace was intriguing, Simon was whiny, but still sympathetic, kickass characters were kicking it and Valentine was a wicked and crazy maniac (loved the fight in the end with him and …).
The movie was fine, I don’t know why there is so much negativity and criticism surrounding it. It definitely wasn’t without issues, but I enjoyed and finally, I know what happens (without having to read the book)!