The new Percy Jackson trailer proves just how shallow the well of teen-marketed fantasy apparently is, for there is literally no single moment in its two-and-a-half-minute runtime that doesn't show us something that we've already seen a dozen times in the past five years.
#8. A Potpourri of Secluded Magical Youths (X-Men, Harry Potter)
The trailer immediately establishes Camp Half-Blood by showing us an assortment of inconsistently gifted youngsters with various fantasy powers galloping around under the supervision of equally bizarre adults in some strange, wooded hideaway camp.
#7. A Super-Powered Competition (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games)
Unless enchanted tweens fight in front of a cheering crowd, we can't be bothered to give a shit. As if pulled directly from a focus group, we're introduced to the strong female lead character in the same breath as the generic ribbon-waving contest of might. Let's hope she knows how to use a bow and arrow.
#6. A Mission from the Gods Themselves (Clash of the Titans, Thor)
Greco-Roman gods are easily identifiable and totally haven't been used before in any movie ever. It's like a Mad Lib: write a series of adaptable teen books about a group of kids living at a [type of institution] with the powers of [kind of mythology] and are brought on a quest to find a [golden artifact].
#5. A Quest Involving a Golden Artifact (Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Hellboy II, The Lord of the Rings)
Because it's only magic if it's made of gold. Percy Jackson promises twice the gold for your buck, as the heroes are pursuing both a gilded Harry Potter cloak and the Ark of the Covenant. We imagine there's something gold inside that box as well.
#4. A Handful of Them Will Go Questing in the Dark Woods (Pretty Much Every Harry Potter Film, Twilight)
Apparently, the rite of passage for magical teenagers is to snoop around in a nightmare forest without a goddamn flashlight.
#3. A Wacky Magic Car! (Harry Potter)
The ceiling for magical cars apparently stops at "public transportation that does a spatial trick." In Harry Potter, it was a flying car and then a compactable double-decker bus. In Percy Jackson, we get a busted taxi that magically splits in half while going at suicidal speeds to gain an advantage that we assume must exist but cannot begin to be explained.
#2. There's Even a Transformer (Transformers, Hellboy II)
Because mythological creatures and teenagers with godlike powers apparently aren't impressive enough, Percy Jackson tosses us a shape-shifting robot (a golden one, of course -- it is magic, after all). The filmmakers are clearly filching from every PG-13 blockbuster from the past decade. They might as well throw in a kraken while they're at it.
#1. There's a Goddamn Kraken (Clash of the Titans, Pirates of the Caribbean)
The kraken has appeared in more movies over the past nine years than Clint Eastwood, and the Percy Jackson version manages to rip off Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 by combining a cataclysmic whirlpool with a tooth monster. While no one in the trailer actually says the word "kraken," we're staring into the gaping mouth of a sea monster in a movie about Olympian gods. It would almost be worse if it wasn't the kraken, and just some cheap knockoff like "the graken" or "the cracken" or "Squid-ules" (like Hercules, only in the ocean). Also, while we can't tell for certain from the trailer, we're going to assume that monster is made of gold.