“Modern and mythical worlds collide in this thunderous fantasy-adventure starring Pierce Brosnan, Kevin McKidd and Uma Thurman as you’ve never seen them before! Percy Jackson is no ordinary teenager…he’s just learned he’s the son of Poseidon and is accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt – the most powerful weapon ever created! With storm clouds brewing, Percy embarks on an incredible cross-country journey to prove his innocence, recover the bolt and prevent a war amongst the gods that could destroy our world!”
“Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” is rated PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language.
A large part of why I enjoyed it is because I’m a fan of Greek mythology. I fell in love with it as a kid when I saw “Clash of the Titans” and I read all the books I could on the subject after that. This movie takes all those characters from mythology and catches up with them today. It’s fun seeing them all in a modern setting. You see Zeus and Poseidon chatting on the Empire State Building. You see demi-god children training with swords and shields one moment and playing video games the next. You see Medusa in sunglasses, a head wrap, and a leather trench coat. You see the Lotus Eaters in Las Vegas. You get the idea. This story also follows Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” perfectly. Campbell should be considered a co-writer since it follows the steps he laid out exactly. Like Hercules or Perseus or Luke Skywalker, we see him rise from humble beginnings, battle the supernatural, and save the day. Anyone that loves Greek mythology is going to get a kick out of this movie.
The effects in the film are quite good. This is summer blockbuster quality in February. The Minotaur, Hydra, Hades, Fury, and Medusa all look fantastic. My kids were with me and jumped more than once as Percy had to do battle with them all. I particularly loved the snakes for Uma Thurman’s Medusa hair. They’ll set audiences on edge. And when hell is revealed, it is quite impressive as well.
The cast is pretty good. Logan Lerman does a fine job as Percy Jackson. He walks a fine line between being cocky and confused, incompetent and competent, and arrogant and geeky. He somehow manages to dance back and forth across all those lines with the character and emerge on the other end as likable. Alexandra Daddario is a good find as Annabeth. She’s convincingly tough and manages to convey the strife between the gods pretty well in this new generation. Sean Bean is also cool as Zeus while Rosario Dawson is hot as Persephone. It’s also fun seeing Catherine Keener and Joe Pantoliano, but there’s a guilty pleasure in seeing Uma Thurman as Medusa. Yeah, it’s over the top but it is fun.
A lot of people are going to compare this movie to “Harry Potter” because of the three teens, the school/camp, the supernatural aspects, and the fact that Chris Columbus directed it. And I’d have to agree it’s a good comparison. But you could also compare this to “X-Men” since you have these young characters with extraordinary powers doing battle in modern settings. I suppose Greek mythology created the original comic book heroes, so it’s only natural.
I took my two older kids to this movie. They enjoyed it and I enjoyed it. This also sparked their interest in reading more about mythology, so that was a cool thing for me to see, too.
I think casting recognizable faces was good in some respects but bad in other respects. For example, Uma Thurman as Medusa was fun. Same with Joe Pantoliano as the evil step-father. But as much as I like Pierce Brosnan, seeing him as a centaur was a bit odd. Don’t get me wrong, the effects for those scenes looked great. But every once in a while you’d see him in full half-horse mode and it would strike you as a little silly. Same with the scenes of Steve Coogan as Hades, but I do have to give them points for making him look like a rocker.
Brandon T. Jackson as Grover was also a mixed bag. He brought a lot of much needed comic relief to the film, but sometimes he took it over the top. The jokes about Obama being a demi-god and the street slang were a little much. He turned into the stereotypical funny, black sidekick. He just happened to have goat legs.
This film is rated PG, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to show it to children under 7. There’s some pretty scary stuff in here from Medusa to the Hydra to the Fury.
“Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” was an unexpected pleasant surprise. If you are into Greek mythology it is required viewing. If you like “Harry Potter,” I think you’ll enjoy this, too. I can’t say how it compared to the book, but I think fans of the series will be pleased.