Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Posted: July 17, 2011 in Action, Adventure, Family

Zeus and Poseidon are at odds in a struggle that could tear the world apart. Zeus’s lighting bolt has been stolen and he believes that Poseidon is responsible for its return, putting the task on his unknowing son Percy Jackson. Completely unaware of the existence of the Gods, mystical creatures and the reality of Greek mythology, an attack by a Fury leads to his awakening and the realization of the task bestowed upon him. With the assistance of Chiron as his teacher, Grover as his protector, Annabeth as his tactician and Poseidon as his secret guide, Percy embarks on the quest, facing threats including a minotaur, Medusa, Parthenon janitors, Lotus girls and the depths of the Underworld including its ruler Hades all in an effort to uncover the lightning bolt and save his captured mother.

Starring: Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson), Brandon T. Jackson (Grover), Alexandra Daddario (Annabeth), Jake Abel (Luke), Sean Bean (Zeus), Pierce Brosnan (Chiron), Rasrio Dawson (Persephone), Kevin McKidd (Poseidon), Uma Thurman (Medusa), Melina Kanakaredes (Athena), Catherine Keener (Sally Jackson), Julian Richings (Ferryman), Steve Coogan (Hades)

Logan Lerman serves as the central character in this story that blends together Greek mythology and the modern world. He provides a sense of curiousness, at least at the start, but he clearly falls into an awkward place between curiosity and confidence as he mysteriously just becomes a warrior after interacting with water as a demigod for the first time. Alexandra Daddario comes off as an extremely confident and cocky warrior when she is first introduced in the battle camp but quickly loses that presence the instant she ventures back into the world. Brandon T. Jackson is the only character that seems to give a consistent performance with his quirky brand of comedy through dialogue and mixing of confidence and fear. Between the Gods and the mythical creatures, the cast includes a well-traveled group of actors, including Sean Bean as Zeus (Lord of the Rings), Pierce Brosnan as Chiron (Goldeneye), Rosario Dawson as Persephone (Sin City), Kevin McKidd as Poseidon (Grey’s Anatomy) and Uma Thurman as Medusa (Kill Bill).

There are many family movies that dive into mythical worlds like that of Greek gods, but Chris Columbus’s modern take on mythology seems a little quick and jumbled in its execution. There are definitely some fun and interesting elements merged together to include the modern with the classic, such as Hermes’s winged boots being low-cut Converses, Percy’s sword growing out of a click pen and the door to the Underworld being at the Hollywood sign. The search for the pearls also gives a chance to merge the two worlds together, with the Parthenon being in Nashville, Tennessee, the nursery serving as Medusa’s lair and Vegas including the seductive Lotus Eaters. Unfortunately, all of the classic “Greek” elements were found in the United States, which continues to give proof to the ethnocentric nature of American popular cinema. How do all of these GREEK elements end up in the US and not in and around Greece?

The ethnocentrism aside, the movie is entertaining with some fun fight scenes, dazzling special effects and easy to follow storyline. Just don’t expect to be wowed by the plot or the acting.

Dan’s Rating: 2.5/5

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