Title: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin McKidd
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Written by: Craig Titley (screenplay), Rick Riordan (novel)
Runtime: 118 min
Release Date: 02/12/2010
Percy Jackson is a high school student who lives in New York City, a young man suffering from ADHD and dyslexia - struggling to fit in. Percy believes he is simply a misift, what he doesn't realize is that his father is Poseidon, God of the sea. 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.
Percy is attacked during a trip to the museum by his substitute teacher, who is actually a disguised fury. In this midst of his shock at the attack he finds out that his teacher Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan) is not the wheelchair ridden man that he seems, and that his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is his protector. Brunner tells Grover to get Percy and his mother to safety. Percy, his mother and Grover are attacked by a minotaur as they attempt to escape. After a race through the forest to esacpe the beast Percy's mother is captured. Percy is able to defeat the beast but not before his mother is taken.
Percy passes out following the attack and awakens inside Camp Half Blood, a safe haven and training ground for other young demigods like himself. Mr. Brunner warns Percy that he must begin to understand his powers if he is to survive. During his training Percy meets the fiercely competitive Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), the daughter of Athena and Luke, son of Hermes. Percy decides to set off with Annabeth and Grover on a desperate quest to rescue his mother who is being held by Hades 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.
This film is surprisingly good looking given the target audience. I have come to expect cartoonish special effects from films targeted at this agre group, I was however pleasantly surprised by stunning visuals and very well done special effects throughout. The original 35mm film grain is preserved beautifully and gives the film a very natural look. The cinematography is fitting for a movie of this type and lends the film a grander, more epic scale.
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 which hopefully will make their way into the Blu-Ray. Dialogue throughout the film was clear and intelligible and was mixed to appropriate levels. Christophe Beck's score is fitting but ultimately not very memorable.
While I am not a fan of tween movies, those films that can't decide whether they are for adults or children - I am a huge fan of Greek mythology. This film could have been greatly improved if Chris Columbus chose to stick with a more mature narrative, instead there were many awkwardly childish moments that took away from the overall flow of the film.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is an enjoyable adventure film with great special effects and a solid sound mix. Unfortunately, there were several scenes where I actually cringed at how awkwardly contrived or downright corny the film became. The pacing of the film felt appropriate for the target audience though perhaps too fast for my tastes. While this may be a film that you won't exactly adore yourself it does a good job of keeping the adults in the audience entertained 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.