Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief: All Thunder and No Zap

16 02 2010

Based on the popular kids’ book series by Rick Riordin, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, follows in the footsteps of countless Harry Potter-esque films before it. And with Chris Columbus (who directed two Harry Potter features) at the helm, Percy Jackson might have some franchise potential. Here’s the breakdown:

Percy Jackson lives a normal life with his mom and obnoxious step-dad. Unbeknownst to him, someone has stolen the Greek god Zeus’ lightning bolt – the world’s most powerful weapon. Percy discovers he’s not only the chief suspect, but that he is a demi-god, the son of Poseidon. Thus, Percy is thrust into a world of mythical creatures, gods and heroic demi-gods in an effort to clear his name and save his family.

The Monkey: Aside from the three teenage leads, the cast is comprised of notable actors and actresses: Sean Bean as Zeus, Kevin McKidd as Poseidon, Catherine Keener as Sally Jackson, Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, Rosario Dawson as Persephone, Steve Coogan as Hades, Joe Pantoliano as Gabe, and Uma Thurman as Medusa. Whew. It was fun to see these big name actors take a back seat in a fun kids’ movie; they all seemed to be having fun (especially Pierce Brosnan and Uma Thurman) and their presence gave the film some weight.

The film’s greatest strength was its humor (due in large part to Brandon T. Jackson who played best friend, Grover). The jokes were well-timed and kept the movie from taking itself too seriously.

Logan Lerman (Percy) played the role of angsty-teenager-who-finds-out-he’s-special quite well. If the series doesn’t continue with The Sea of Monsters, Lerman definitely has a career in movies. And with rumors that he might be the next Spider-Man in the recently announced reboot, his time may come sooner rather than later.

The visuals were entertaining and the climactic fight sequence was well-shot and action-packed.

The Weasel: As far as book-to-screen adaptations go, Percy Jackson made an awkward transition. The “quest” plot structure played out more like a video game than a book or a movie. Characters travel from one place to another, collecting items and defeating creatures and overcoming obstacles along the way. In fact, many of the transitions are so abrupt, audiences wonder if the characters even realize what is going on. At one point in the film, Percy’s mother is kidnapped by a Minatour; the very next scene he’s galvanting around Half-Blood Camp playing a medieval version of capture the flag. It was a weird transition, one that probably worked better in the book.

While the visuals were entertaining, the CGI was sub-par.

Of all the Harry Potter hopefuls (The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Golden Compass, The Seeker, etc.), Percy Jackson & The Olympians has the best shot at a successful franchise. But with Logan Lerman being tied up with Spider-Man (possibly) and a relatively weak opening movie, it’s questionable whether or not fans will ever see a sequel. The movie wraps up nicely, leaving no indication that a sequel is planned.

A fun movie, but one that might quickly be forgotten.

3 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Are you a fan of the books? Should there be a sequel? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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3 responses

16 02 2010
Jayson Peters

Nice review. Yeah, what was up with Pierce? He can write his own ticket – he didn’t have to take the role of a “real horse’s ass” but he did, so why be so wooden? The quest was definitely connect-the-dots, a ho-hum scavenger’s hunt – but for all that, it was a fun diversion.

16 02 2010
Dustin

Agreed! I’m curious to see if a sequel will come of it…it’s certainly doing well enough at the box office (so far) to make a profit…I guess we’ll see!

23 02 2010
Cal

I think Logan Lerman is as nice to look at as Zac Efron, but seemed much more feminine. He fit the role, I guess, since it is a young persons movie. I don’t think he is right for the reboot of Spider-Man (a reboot is also a huge mistake). The movie was a good mindless movie. One you can space out and think about your day, tune back in 10 minutes later, and still know what’s going on.

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