Stanley Tucci, of whom we don’t see enough, plays Mr D, the superintendent of one of those clean-leaving outdoorsy summer camps that the Americans have loved since the days of Annette Funicello.
The difference here is that it is attended by the offspring of ancient Greek gods.
Mr D, a Dionysian character, is pouring red wine, but Zeus turns it to water before it reaches his glass. ‘Christians believe in a guy who did it the other way round… now THAT’S what I call a god.’ I doubt many youngsters these days would be familiar with the biblical allusion, but I got a laugh out of it, as I did from a number of similar cracks in this run-of-the-mill superhero flick for kids.
In Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, Logan Lerman, who is so good in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is Percy, the half-caste son of Poseidon. His brother Tyson, arriving unexpectedly, turns out to be a cyclops, with one eye in the middle of his forehead, the sight of which might freak you out, if not your children, more that you’d imagine.
A superbly animated potted history of the Greek pantheon precedes an attack on the camp by a metallic minotaur with insides that are like a furnace – Tyson defeats it because a cyclops is immune to fire (I found no mention of this in my Lempriere’s, so I remain sceptical).
To cut a long story short, Percy, Tyson, Thalia, Clarisse (the girls are at last pulling their weight in combat) and Grover (the token coloured boy) set out to find the Golden Fleece. They locate it in the Bermuda Triangle (where else?), along with a boat skippered by fellow camper Annabeth and a crew of zombies.
The baddies are led by a creep who reminded me of our new prime minister, and the monster at the end is a magnificently frightful creation.
Terrific design, costumes and makeup, a soundtrack loud enough to loosen the fillings in your teeth and a conclusion that promises yet another sequel – it’s got it all!
~ John Campbell