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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
  • Composed by Andrew Lockington
  • Sony Classical / 2013 / 70m

The few people who saw the blatant Harry Potter cash-in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief didn’t seem to like it very much, so it’s a bit of a surprise that three years later a sequel has arrived, in the form of Sea of Monsters.  Potter director Chris Columbus hasn’t come back, Thor Freudenthal taking over those duties; and neither has the original composer, Christophe Beck.  Canadian composer Andrew Lockington has built up quite a fan base on the back of his relatively small number of scores so far, which generally eschew the general trend in film scoring and hearken back to the sort of thing David Arnold did so well back in the 1990s – and, sure enough, Arnold’s collaborator Nicholas Dodd is on board with Lockington.  I haven’t quite caught the Lockington bug yet – Journey 2 in particular built up a very vocal set of fans but – nice though it was – it all seemed a bit bland to me.

Sea of Monsters is very much in the same sort of style – and is even more bland.  What we have here is a thematic, primarily orchestral action/adventure score, composed and performed with enthusiasm – it’s exactly the sort of thing I should love.  It’s exactly the sort of thing I frequently pine for when I’m listening to or writing about the latest soulless, generic Remote Control score.  And yet love it I do not – it’s skilfully done, it’s not without its entertaining features – but I’m afraid I also find this to be soulless and generic.  Don’t get me wrong: I’d much rather listen to it than Steve Jablonsky or whoever.  Yet there’s no personality to the music – none that I hear, anyway.  Other, better websites will probably tell you all about the themes on display and tell you about how the composer develops them (and I imagine most of them will probably give the score favourable reviews); but while I hear some nice tunes here, I’ve no idea whether they happened earlier in the score or not, because they are instantly unmemorable.  The music goes in one ear and out the other – nothing sticks.  It’s such a shame because I’m delighted to see a score in this style be attached to a (reasonably) high-profile summer movie; but I really can’t bring myself to like it.  There’s action and adventure music here but I can’t tell you about any of that either, because as soon as it’s over, I can’t remember a thing about it.  Loads of people raved about Journey 2; if you were one of them, you’ll almost certainly love Sea of Monsters as well.  There’s absolutely nothing offensive about it and for the second review in a row, I find myself feeling a little bit guilty that I don’t like it more than I do.

Rating: ** | |

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  1. orion_mk3 (Reply) on Friday 9 August, 2013 at 15:54

    I don’t see a review for Beck’s entry in your archive…what would your rating be for it?

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Friday 9 August, 2013 at 16:40

    Never heard it!

  3. Chris Avis (Reply) on Friday 9 August, 2013 at 16:45

    …or maybe you did hear it and it was just as memorable as the sequel score, leaving no trace in your long term memory!

  4. mastadge (Reply) on Friday 9 August, 2013 at 21:48

    Actually as a lover of Journey 2 — that score is one of my very favs from last year — this one after several listens is very generic and unmemorable, sadly, considering how much I was looking forward to it.

    And Beck’s Percy Jackson was one of the best scores he’s ever written and, I think, quite good.

  5. Cindylover1969 (Reply) on Tuesday 13 August, 2013 at 04:21

    “The few people who saw the blatant Harry Potter cash-in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief didn’t seem to like it very much, so it’s a bit of a surprise that three years later a sequel has arrived…”

    I didn’t mind “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” (just as I don’t call British films by their American titles, so I don’t call US movies by their UK names), but the sequel is a surprise – it must have done really well on DVD or other ancillary outlets. I can understand the “Diary Of A Wimpy Kid” series (Fox has made a profit on all three movies to date), but…

    Music-wise, given that the first one gave Beck a rare opportunity to cut loose (“Hollywood” in particular is outstanding) I’m surprised the sequel doesn’t even use his themes, apparently.