Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Review: The Lightning Thief" a Bad Start for Percy Jackson Films

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 60 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
Running time: 118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
MPAA – PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language
DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus
WRITER: Craig Titley (based upon the novel by Rick Riordan)
PRODUCERS: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Mark Morgan, Guy Oseary, Mark Radcliffe, and Karen Rosenfelt
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen Goldblatt
EDITOR: Peter Honess
COMPOSER: Christophe Beck


Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Joe Pantoliano, and Uma Thurman

Percy Jackson is a fictional character and the star of the book series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians from author Rick Riordan. Percy is a demigod, the child of a god and a human. Perseus “Percy” Jackson’s father is Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, and his mother is Sally Jackson, a mortal. The movie Percy Jackson & and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is based on the first novel in the series, The Lightning Thief (2005)

Seventeen-year-old Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) lives with his mother Sally Jackson (Catherine Keener) and his obnoxious, smelly stepfather, Gabe Ugliano (Joe Pantoliano), but he is clueless about who he really is. That’s about to change, because a war is brewing among the gods of Olympus. The master bolt, the lightning bolt that Zeus (Sean Bean) uses to create other lightning, has been stolen. Zeus believes the lightning thief is the son of his brother, Poseidon (Kevin McKidd), none other than Percy Jackson.

Meanwhile, Percy has the truth about his origins forced upon him. He is a demigod and even his best friend, Grover Underwood (Brandon T. Jackson), is a satyr and his protector. Percy immediately leaves his old life behind to attend Camp Half-Blood, a training camp for demigods. There, he meets other children of the gods, including the furious fighter, Annabeth Chase (Alexandra Daddario), the daughter of the goddess Athena. When Hades (Steve Coogan), the brother of Zeus and Poseidon, kidnaps Sally in order to force Percy to give him the bolt, Percy, Gabe, and Annabeth begin a quest to Underworld to rescue Percy’s mother. But they must also find the lightning thief before a war of the gods destroys the world.

Obviously, Percy Jackson stands in the shadowy of that other star of children’s fantasy literature, Harry Potter. Although Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is directed by Chris Columbus, the man who directed the first two Harry Potter films and produced the third, this is no Harry Potter movie.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief just doesn’t match the quality of a Harry Potter movie, and it doesn’t even offer a great villain like Potter’s enemy, You-Know-Who. Even if I didn’t compare this Percy Jackson movie to a Harry Potter movie, Percy would still be judged as a mediocre film. The action scenes are quite entertaining, but when the film isn’t offering action, for instance, when the story focuses on character drama, it is a disaster.

The acting is acceptable, but unspectacular, and Brandon T. Jackson as the satyr Grover certainly tries to bring some levity to this stiff special effects-heavy fantasy – with, at best, mixed results. A cool sequence with Uma Thurman, however, is this movie’s best moment and is worth seeing even if you avoid the rest of the movie. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief isn’t bad. It’s just another passable fantasy film aimed at children and their parents.

5 of 10

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


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