Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief – Movie Review

Posted: February 21, 2010 in movies


Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief  is a movie adaptation based on the book of the same name. It’s being compared to Harry Potter because its a popular children’s book that also has mass appeal and with the HP series coming to an end would this new series be able to capture the hearts of movie-goers as well? 

The story begins with Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) living a slightly unsatisfying high school life. He’s suffering from what is first thought of as ADHD and dyslexia plus his mom is in a relationship with a loser. So I guess this story automatically makes him relatable, but alas the twist.. he’s a son of a God, a major one at that.. Poseidon! He is accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt so he has to go undertake a quest to find whoever stole the bolt in 14 days else there will be a war between Gods. Why he was the first person Zeus thought of I have know idea, I guess Hades’ off-springs are a bunch of goody little two shoes demigods that love their parents and uncles so much that they wouldn’t even think of overthrowing them. So now his quest begins to retrieve Zeus’ bolt before all hell breaks loose.  

Percy Jackson  is charming enough to pull-off a lead role but for me his acting still falls a bit short, a good example is when something bad happened to his mom he reacted with such flat emotion that I already knew that she was gonna be okay. I felt that the relationship between Percy and his mom, Sally (Catherine Keener) could’ve worked better if they were played by better actors. Grover (Brandon Jackson) who plays Percy’s junior guardian, was the only one that seems to make the scenes enjoyable, especially when there’s no CGI monsters involved. And although the idea of having a token black guy, or in this case half-goat , just for laughs kinda turns me off I can’t deny the effectiveness of his jokes. The daughter of Athena Annabeth (Alexandra Dadario) was such a bore to watch, sure she’s strong, she’s supposed to be strong, beautiful and smart but even with those traits her character or maybe the portrayal felt empty. All I can remember is that she has pretty eyes, her first seen was a sword training that looked to choreographed especially because they decided to show it in slow mo and she said something about having strong emotions, maybe because she really didn’t have a lot of material to work with or maybe she was just plain boring. 

Supporting casts are even bigger names than the main actors, you have Pierce Brosnan as a centaur drill sergeant (Chiron), Uma Thurman as Medusa  Sean Bean plays Zeus. Their acting was great but the script they had to work with was horrible.The script was probably the lousiest thing in the movie, I think I heard “hey guys, check this out” three times too many. “This is your problem not mine, this is your war not mine,” was another line I hated oh, and Zeus’ “Let there be peace” decree.

The music was also pretty bad, and the jokes they were trying to pull-off were on the nose, oh we’re going to visit Hades, queue in “Highway to Hell!” And going back to the CGI, they were pretty ‘meh’ Hades looked awesome but he didn’t present a threat to the protagonists, things that were trying to kill them like the minotaur and hydra just didn’t help in making the audience feel that Percy and his friends were in any real danger. Kudos to Uma Thurman for providing a bit of tension during her encounter with Percy’s crew. Even the final battle was so boring,  do you expect me to feel that Hermes’ son would present any real threat to Poseidon’s boy? 

It’s good that this film’s running time is pretty short its less than two hours which is suitable for a film that has an epic storyline but doesn’t feel epic at all.This film had a lot of good things to work with, the idea of having ancient Greek mythology applied to modern times is very interesting and thanks to this movie I’m more curious to check out the book because I’m sure it succeeds on areas where this movie fails. And as always with movies like these, its better to bring along kids ‘coz they’re the ones that  aren’t jaded with these stories and effects.



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