Movies of the week: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Disney’s Planes and Elysium

This week at the movies we hang out with some demigods, go on a plane ride and travel into a dystopian post-apocalyptic future where humanity is divided into two classes: the ones who have it all and everyone else. Sounds like a busy week, don’t you think?

In “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” based on the popular novel by Rick Riordan, the sanctuary that shelters the children of the Greek gods, Camp Half-Blood, is collapsing and dark forces are mobilizing in preparation of the return of Kronos, the mighty Titan and father to Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. The only salvation for the demigods is the Golden Fleece, hidden somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. Percy Jackson, played by Logan Lerman, and his friends make it a personal mission to find the fleece before Kronos rises, else the world will crumble.

What am I expecting to see from Percy Jackson?: No disrespect to director Thor Freudenthal, but like almost every other movie involved in Greek mythology, I expect this to be ho-hum but it wouldn’t kill me to be at least somewhat surprised by this. I don’t believe Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Nathan Fillion and the rest of the cast will light up the screen with amazing performances but maybe fans of the literary series will enjoy this film. Screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have their work cut out for them.

“Planes” takes audiences above the world of “Cars” through a little crop duster named Dusty Crophopper, voiced by Dane Cook. Dusty has big dreams of becoming a high-flying air racer but he has a few difficulties against him: he’s a crop-duster who is afraid of heights. Dusty may be a dreamer, but he doesn’t let his fears or his limitations stop him from seeking out a veteran aviator to  mentor him, conquer his fears and chase his dream of winning an international air- race.

What am I expecting to see from Disney’s Planes?: For once Disney and Pixar are not working together on an animated project and Disney wants to prove that they can make a hit without Pixar’s help. This looks like a fascinating animated adventure that can be heavily enjoyed in 3D. The characters seem humorous, the underdog story seems to be a popular theme when it comes to this year’s animated features, the vocal cast of Dane Cook, Brad Garrett, John Cleese, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Val Kilmer appears to give their characters enough lift to really take off. Klay Hall is in the cockpit for a promising and high-flying adventure. “Disney’s Planes” better be on course.

Director Neill Blomkamp is a master of the concept of social commentary, using visual medium to exhibit his thoughts on where society is heading if they continue to follow the course of current events. In his new project “Elysium,” he takes audiences to the year 2154, where humanity is divided into two classes and they couldn’t be more separate from each other. The elite and powerful live on the utopian space-station called “Elysium” and the rest of humanity inherit what is left of Earth. After suffering a terrible accident, Matt Damon’s character, Max, is fitted with an apparatus that makes it possible for him to overcome his ailments and venture to Elysium, where he can be cured but Secretary Delacourt, played by Jodie Foster, isn’t going to make it easy for Max.

What am I expecting to see from “Elysium”?: Neill Blomkamp won the world over with his bold and daring “District 9,” and there is no doubt the world will have high expectations for “Elysium.” This movie promises jaw-dropping action, thought-provoking story material, above-average visual effects, a great cast of actors and visionary direction. Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley are all pros who never fail to deliver. I’ve been eagerly anticipating “Elysium” for months and I expect it to follow in the footsteps of Blomkamp’s “District 9” and earn its place as one of the year’s best films.

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