The whirling, sea-belching monster Charybdis. A Manticore with a lion’s body and scorpion’s tail. A man-eating Cyclops. These are just a few of the beasts threatening the teenaged heroes in Thor Freudenthal’s adventure fantasy “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” the second film in the Percy Jackson franchise, based on the best-selling novels by Rick Riordan – and all inspired by Greek mythology. This time, Jackson (Logan Lerman), the half-human son of Poseidon, and his fellow demigod friends set off on a dangerous quest to find the Golden Fleece to save all their kind, not to mention the entire planet.

Freudenthal, 40, who is Jewish and grew up in Berlin, came to the “Jackson” series after a successful career in commercials and directing 2009’s “Hotel for Dogs” as well as the box office hit “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” An artist who helps storyboard all his films, he’s had an affinity for Greek myths since reading them as a boy: “What I loved mostly were the monsters and the adventures – these kinds of visually extravagant stories. It wasn’t until later when I discovered that the Greek gods are very messed up; it’s interesting that a society creates those kinds of images for itself, because they’re so flawed. The gods are jealous, angry, violent – they have every human vice, which I find fascinating.” … read more