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Film Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians – The Lightning Thief (2010)

SYNOPSIS:

It’s the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson’s Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they’re not happy: Zeus’ lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy’s mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy’s mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves

REVIEW: 

Straight off the cuff of just catching this film, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (PG) is a must see! I’ll admit when I first caught wind of this, I was impressed by the commercials but not as eager as I usually am thinking it might be a Harry Potter rip off. With the last few Harry Potter films being below expectations, I suppose at the time my balloon was somewhat deflated.

Much to my surprise Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is no Harry Potter film. I mean that of course in a good way. In fact it’s alot closer to a Greek Gods, aka Clash of Titans into the modern times concoction that is full of surprise around every corner. So my first bit of information actually comes from a wiki pedia entry in which I suspected at the time this was the product of teen fantasy novels:

Percy Jackson & the Olympians is a series of adventure and fantasy books authored by Rick Riordan. Set in the United States, the books are predominantly based on Greek mythology. The series consists of five books, as well as spin-off titles such as The Demigod Files and Demigods and Monsters. The Lightning Thief, the first book, is the basis of a film called Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which was released in the United States and Canada on February 12, 2010.

With that, we know there is the possibility of several more and a firm base of readers who have followed the series. This time in the cinema world its not a product of magicians, magic schools or muggles. The foundation is based in Greek mythology which suggests that the world was at one time ruled by Gods.

Zeus being the most powerful has 2 enormously powerful brothers ..Poseidon and Hades. For those not astute, Hades it the Greek devil entity who rules the underworlds and of course Poseidon rules the seas, water and everything related to it. Percy Jackson which is short for Perseus is a normal everyday kid who soon finds that he is a Demi-god. A demi god is the offspring of a mortal woman and a God. Or in the case of Annabeth Chase, the daughter of Athena . Upon learning of his true identity things begin to drastically change for him.

Things such as abilities suppressed, the knowledge of a whole world within a world and the details of his true nature. As son of Poseidon, he contains the ability to control the waters as well. His instincts are that of a warrior and those who are in his life are revealed to be of another species entirety. His best friend Grover is revealed as a goat legged Satyr who is sworn to protect him. His instructor is revealed as a Centaur and some of those around him reveal more diabolical aliases as well. Percy is a twelve year old boy diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). This disorder is actually rooted in his ability to read Greek writing as if it were English.

The focus of this tale has the “big 3″ warring against each other as Zeus discovers his lightning staff missing. The holder of this staff or in this case “thief” can control great powers. Zeus has given the world 10 days to return it or he will destroy the planet Earth. Percy and his new band of friends set out to find the lightning staff encountering great peril and monsters of lore.

When Percy encounters a Minotaur his mother is snatched into Hades in which Percy must travel to save her. His mission accompanied by Grover and new friend Annabeth is littered with mythological monsters such as Medusa, Hydra, Hellhounds and a Harpy. The visual FX work is stunning to say the least and perhaps some of the best Greek monster visuals to date.

Percy in his initial quest is brought to a place called Camp Half blood. This is a camp for children of Greek Gods which is located off of Long Island. The location serves as a training ground to help hone the fighting skills of its members.

Sporting an impressive lineup, the film cast features the following: Logan Lerman … Percy Jackson, Brandon T. Jackson … Grover, Alexandra Daddario … Annabeth, Jake Abel … Luke, Sean Bean … Zeus, Pierce Brosnan … Mr. Brunner / Chiron, Steve Coogan … Hades, Rosario Dawson … Persephone, Melina Kanakaredes … Athena, Catherine Keener … Sally Jackson, Kevin McKidd … Poseidon, Joe Pantoliano … Gabe Ugliano, Uma Thurman … Medusa

In all this is a thoroughly exciting film that squeezes alot of coverage in its 2 hour time span. It’s also refreshing to include the Greek mythology into a modern retelling. Those who are familiar with the mythology know that’s there is alot in store in the way of future materials. I simply walked away thinking that the film was a great fantasy tale that could even be a greater franchise. What lies ahead is uncertain, though I hope we see alot more from Percy and the team.

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