Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Grade: B+

Percy Jackson is a seemingly normal high school teenager, until one day, on a high school field trip his substitute teacher turns into a Fury and attacks him, accusing him of stealing Zeus' lightning bolt. Percy then discovers that his best friend, Grover, is a Satyr. Grover then insists on getting Percy's mom and getting to a secret camp as soon as possible. Along the way, Percy's mom is taken by a Minotaur. At the camp, Percy discovers that he is the son of Poseidon and that his teacher is a Centaur. He is informed that someone has stolen Zeus' lightning bolt and framed Percy and if the bolt is not returned to Zeus within two weeks, a war will break out among the gods that will destroy the world. Percy discovers that Hades has his mother so Percy, Grover and their new friend, Annabeth, go on a quest to find three pearls so they can get to the underworld and rescue Percy's mom, and they hope to discover who the real lightning thief is along the way.

I was very skeptical of this movie at first. I had never heard of the books before and I was extremely nervous about a movie that was so engrossed in Greek mythology being PG. I am a huge fan of Greek mythology and I know that it tends to be extremely violent and sexual. Well, the writer's and filmmakers really managed to pull it off. I really ended up enjoying this movie greatly. They were actually pretty accurate in their representation of the Greek myths they included in the story and managed to skate around the violence and sexuality of those myths, such as the gods having sex with mortals and bearing children, rather well without being ridiculous. The mythical beings that they included were actually really cool and represented really well. From Medusa in New Jersey to their encounter with the Hydra in the Parthenon in Nashville, although I did have one small issue with this part, in the movie the Hydra is held back, at one point, by water. That seems odd as the Hydra lived in water, hence the name.

The next couple bits were actually rather genius. The third pearl is in a casino in Las Vegas called Lotus. This part was just genius in my opinion. It is a reference to the land of the lotus eaters from The Odyssey, where there are people who eat these lotus flowers that make a person euphoric and make them forget what they need or are supposed to be doing and they never want to leave. This is great because if this lotus flower existed, Vegas casinos would totally use them to keep their patrons in the casino forever. The other great part was that the entrance to Hell is in Hollywood, that made me laugh a little. Not to mention the play on the classic "the pen is mightier than the sword." Well, in this movie the pen turns into a sword.

Logan Lerman (Gamer, The Number 23) plays the lead role of Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon (reference to Perseus, who was the son of Poseidon in Greek mythology). He did a pretty good job with the role and helped make it all believable. Brandon T. Jackson (Tropic Thunder, Tooth Fairy) plays Percy's best friend, Grover, a Satyr. He did a good job and was really funny at times and helped the movie move along. Relative new comer, Alexandra Daddario plays Annabeth, daughter of Athena. Daddario did a pretty good job with her role, which was rather physical as Athena was the goddess of wisdom and battle strategy. Pierce Brosnan (The Matador, Die Another Day) plays Mr. Brunner, Percy's teacher who is also a Centaur. Brosnan was enjoyable in this movie, even though his role was kind of small. Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder, Hamlet 2) plays Hades, god of the Underworld. Coogan was great in this role and was really funny too. Rosario Dawson (Clerks 2, Seven Pounds) plays the role of the seductress and wife of Hades, Persephone. Dawson was great and very enjoyable in this role. Uma Therman (Be Cool, My Super Ex-Girlfriend) played the role of Medusa. She did a really good job with role and portrayed the character as best the movie would let her. The movie also features Catherine Keener, Sean Bean, Jake Abel, Joe Pantoliano and Kevin McKidd.

This movie is actually really enjoyable and fun to watch if you love Greek mythology, like myself. Even if you don't know much about Greek mythology, I think you can have fun watching this movie. It is actually pretty good, if not kind of corny and predictable and rather similar to Harry Potter at times. It was a big surprise to me and I think I am now going to seek out the books and start reading them.

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