It's taken three years for the sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters to arrive, as opposed to the year-long waiting period between installments in fellow popular young adult novel-turned movie franchises like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games. That's because Percy Jackson's first cinematic adventure - which was released under the wordier title Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - was a more moderate success, taking in $226 million worldwide (on a $95 million budget) in 2010.
Like its U.S. trailer predecessors, the new Sea of Monsters international trailer - which includes lots of previously-unseen footage crawling with mystical creatures and massive fantasy spectacle - suggests that the filmmakers are making an ambitious effort to top The Lightning Thief in every way (even despite CGI effects that have a distinct "budget look" to them).
Sea of Monsters picks up with a slightly older Percy (Logan Lerman) and his fellow demigods - including Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), daughter of Athena, and Percy's BFF/protector, the satyr Grover Underwood (Brandon T. Jackson) - living at Camp Half-Blood, which is threatened by old enemies and an ancient evil. The only way to stop them is by rescuing the legendary Golden Fleece, which is located somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle (otherwise known as the Sea of Monsters).
Marc Guggenheim - the co-creator of Eli Stone and the co-showrunner for Arrow - adapted Rick Riordan's Sea of Monsters source book into a script, which was then directed by Thor Freudenthal (Hotel for Dogs, Diary of a Wimpy Kid). As was mentioned before, the film's effects continue to have a distinctly cheap(er) look to them, despite the overall grander visual design and emotional stakes compared to the first movie.
Similarly, while the main cast isn't as strong as those found in the Harry Potter and Hunger Games films, Sea of Monsters is more light-hearted and genuine family-friendly offering than its peers. That's to say, the Percy Jackson sequel may not be anything that memorable, but it could do a commendable job of making ancient mythology accessible to a younger generation (with its archetypal characters and storyline).
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters opens in U.S. theaters on August 7th, 2013.