Review: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
PLOT: Teenaged Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), discovers hes the demi-God spawn of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd), God of the Sea. After Zeus(Sean Bean) lightening bolt is stolen, Percy is suspected, and he must find the bolt in fifteen days to avoid a war between the Gods. Hes taken into a camp for demi-Gods, run by Chiron (Pierce Brosnan)- a minotaur, where he meets Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), the warrior daughter of Athena. When Percys mother (Catherine Keener) is abducted by Hades (Steve Coogan), God of the Underworld, hes joined by Annabeth, and his Satyr protector, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) on a quest to save his mother, and reclaim Zeus thunderbolt.
REVIEW: Right off the bat, I must admit that Percy Jackson is yet another childrens fantasy franchise that Im not familiar with. Obviously, the folks behind this are hoping theyve stumbled upon another Harry Potter, to the extent that they hired none other than Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two POTTER flicks to direct.
Truth be told, Im NOT a huge Chris Columbus fan. Ive enjoyed some of his earlier films, like ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, and of course, who doesnt love MRS. DOUBTFIRE? However, his fantasy films, including the POTTER flicks, have always left me cold, and his last movie- I LOVE YOU, BETH CCOOPER was atrocious. Suffice to say, I didnt walk into this with the highest of expectations.
All in all, PERCY JACKSON is exactly the type of film I thought it would be; an instantly disposable kiddie fantasy flick/ wannabe franchise, comparable to similar films like CITY OF EMBER, ERAGON, & THE GOLDEN COMPASS.
It starts out well enough, with a couple of well constructed action sequences, featuring some colorful creatures from Greek Mythology. Columbus certainly knows how to shoot a film, so its got a nice look, and the score by Christopher Beck isnt bad either. The supporting cast is excellent, with several heavy hitters like Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman, and Rosario Dawson (God, how I lust for this woman!) present as the Greek Gods- although their roles are disappointingly small. Brosnan figures prominently in the first half hour, but then abruptly disappears from the film (probably not a bad thing, as his minotaur FX were a tad dodgy). Coogans easily the best thing about the film, with his Hades a la Mick Jagger being one of the few things about the film that truly works, but hes in and out of the film so fast that hes barely given the chance to do anything.
I suppose Columbus didnt want to take the focus away from the trio of young stars playing Percy and his pals. For the most part theyre fine, with Lerman doing nice work as the titular hero (and yes, he has been rumored to be the next SPIDER-MAN, and Im sure hed be fine). I also liked Daddario as the obligatory love interest, but Brandon T. Jackson (from TROPIC THUNDER) is a little too over the top as the obligatory comic relief- not to mention the fact that , at twenty-six, hes a little long in the tooth to be playing a high school student.
The film really begins to fall apart once our heroes hit the road in search of some pearls that will allow them to enter the underworld, with the quest being a little too video-gamey for my liking. Theres also an episode set in Las Vegas that should have been excised from the film, but was likely put in so the producers could throw some trendy pop hits (including Lady Gaga) onto the soundtrack. I also didnt care from the product-placement, with Percys flying Converse All-Stars saving the day more than once, and his iPhone allowing him to defeat Thurmans Medusa. Heck, theres even a plug for Foxs DVD catalogue, with THE FRENCH CONNECTION recent DVD re-release getting a mention, but considering how thats such a great film, I wont hold that one against them.
Overall, PERCY JACKSON & THE LIGHTENING THIEF is just another mediocre fantasy flick, but if you enjoyed the books, Im sure youll enjoy the film.
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