Title: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin McKidd
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Craig Titley (screenplay), Rick Rioardan (novel)
Runtime: 118 min
Release Date: 06/29/2010
Following the sucessful model of franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight - Percy Jackson and the Olympians is based upon the successful book series by Rick Rioardan. While the elements of the story are not truly designed for an adult audience - the permeation of the film with greek gods and mythological figures redeems the film for adult viewers. Set in the present day, the films center around the life of a high school aged boy named Percy Jackson. Jackson lives in New York City with his mother and step-father, an average young man suffering from ADHD and dyslexia - struggling to fit in. We find out very shortly after the opening that Zeus (Sean Bean) is furious that his lightning bolt has been stolen. Zeus threatens Poseidon with war if the lightning thief does not return his bolt within two weeks, and Zeus beleives this thief is Percy - Poseidon's unwitting son.
During a school field trip to the museum Percy finds that the same dyslexia that prevents him from reading english allows him to read ancient greek. His substitude teacher pulls Percy aside into a closed exhibit to talk before suddenly transforming into a fury and attacking him. In the midst of the fury's attack Percy's best friend Grover and his teacher Mr. Brunner enter the room and fend the creature off. In this midst of his shock at the attack Percy finds out that Mr. Brunner (Brosnan) is not the wheelchair ridden man that he seems, and that his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is his protector and is not a cripple but a satyr. Brunner tells Grover to get Percy and his mother to safety immediately at Camp Half Blood - a training camp for young demigods.
As they race towards the camp in her car, Percy's mother starts to explain to Percy that his father didn't abandon him as he has always thought. Just as Percy is asking another question a cow lands in front of the vehicle, causing it to spin and flip end over end. Luckily no one is hurt but as they exit the car Percy and Grover notice a massive minotaur racing towards them. Percy, his mother and Grover make a mad dash into the forest towards the entrance to Camp Half Blood - as they cros the threshold Percy discovers that his mother cannot accompany him - only demigods can enter the camp. The minotaur, hot on their heels is able to capture Percy's mother who disappears in a puff of flame - abducted by Hades. Percy, desperate to find his mother attacks the minotaur - after a brief battle Percy is able to win and collapses unconscious.
Percy awakes inside Camp Half Blood, a safe haven and training ground for demigods. After meeting with Brunner Percy is told that he must begin to understand his powers if he is to survive the quest to find his mother. During his training Percy meets Annabeth (Daddario) the daughter of Athena and a fiercely competitive and beautiful young woman who is easily his match in battle and Luke, son of Hermes. Percy decides to set off with Annabeth and Grover on a desperate quest to rescue his mother but before they can leave they will need some help. Luke provides them with a map, some winged shoes he stole from his father, and a shield. Percy must find a way to rescue his Mother and reach Olympus before the solstice to convince Zeus of his innocence and avert a war that will destroy Earth.
According to Luke, before Percy's mother can be resuced he and his allies must obtain three pearls of Persephone which will allow them to escape the fires of Hades. Their quest takes them to Medusa's (Uma Thurman) lair, to the parthenon replica in Nashville, and to a casino in Las Vegas to obtain the pearls before they finally enter Hades from Hollywood.
Percy, Grover and Annabeth manage to face Hades, rescue Percy's mother and escape with the assistance of Persephone. In the process Percy discovers what has become of Zeus' bolt and must race against time to reach the summit of Olympus.
This film received a rating of PG.
This is an exceptionally clean movie, with two minor uses of profanity and no nudity. While there is a fairly large amount of violence it is not over the top and should be child appropriate if accompanied.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief comes to Blu-Ray with a 31mbps AVC encode on a 50GB Blu-Ray disc. The film features a great variety of dark and daylight scenes all of which are superbly resolved. Dark scenes have no noticeable black crush and shadow detail is superb. Flesh tones and colors are vibrant without being artificial and CGI scenes are quite impressive. While some CGI in the film does appear rather fake (some blending methods have been used to combine CGI elements into the film) the overall effect is impressive - particularly water effects when Percy uses his powers. Depth of field in the film is exceptional with little to no focus issues. Grain pattern throughout the film is fine and natural - though one or two scenes do exhibit a slightly more exaggerated amount of grain.
This is a fine transfer that should look good from the smallest to the largest of screens, if you can get past a few hokey CGI elements you are bound to be pleased.
This film has a surprisingly robust sound track with extensive LFE use and a fairly constant use of the surround channels. There were also two scenes in particular that had extremely deep LFE, the first scene is during the intoduction of the film as thunder booms in the storm clouds around Olympus, the second occurs when Percy is approaching Mount Olympus at the end of the film. Dialogue throughout the film was clear and intelligible and was mixed to appropriate levels - particularly impressive was the clarity of the dialogue even in the midst of very loud action scenes. To sum up this mix in one word - it is lively. Dynamics are exceptional from start to finish, blending bombastic explosions and thundercrashes with the quitest ambient noise. Christophe Beck's score matches well to the tone of the movie and is entirely orchestral which is a nice change in this day and age of synthesized sound effects.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is an enjoyable adventure film with (mostly) great special effects and a solid sound mix. While there were several scenes where I actually cringed at how awkward dialog in the film became it is important to keep in mind this is a family movie based upon a children's book. The pacing of the film felt appropriate for the target audience and does a great job keeping even adult viewers entertained. The delicate balance between family friendly and childrens content is well maintained in this film. A bevy of mythological characters is sure to satisfy the history buff in each of us while still ultimately pleasing the kids and teenagers who it is intended for. If you can handle one or two corny scenes and segments of awkward dialogue you'll enjoy a visually and aurally pleasing film that if anything will give you a great chance to just escape for a couple of hours.