Percy Jackson & the Olyimpians: The Lightning Thief Movie Review

To say this film has heavy echoes of Harry Potter is an understatement.

Although, the Greek-gods premise lets the filmmakers indulge in some visually whizzy sequences that keep this rather lightweight action movie entertaining.

Percy (Lerman) is a New York teen whose mother (Keener) has never told him that his father is the god Poseidon (McKidd) and his best pal Grover (Jackson) is actually a protector satyr. When Zeus (Bean) discovers that his lightning bolt has been stolen, he blames Percy. So Percy has to learn quickly who he is so he can find the lightning thief and restore peace to feuding brothers Poseidon, Zeus and Hades (Coogan). In addition to Grover, he gets help from a professor-centaur (Brosnan) and his fellow demigod Annabeth (Daddario).

Snappy and often quite funny, this film rarely pauses for breath, propelling Percy into a parallel world in which he holds a prominent position and extraordinary power as the child of one of the big three. And yet he's still a surly teen, which allows us to identify with his reluctance, sense of loss and the idea that all of this is actually rather cool.

In other words, this is a film targeted directly at teens, and it's mainly played for laughs. Although the lack of shading leaves it feeling simplistic and sometimes silly. The solid cast can't do much with the thinly drawn characters but, by keeping everything moving, director Columbus doesn't give us time to notice these things. Teenaged audiences will love the Potter-like trio of young heroes, while adults will enjoy rather fabulous turns by Thurman and Dawson.

Meanwhile, most of the effects are first-rate, and the set pieces have a terrific sense of driving adventure, although this is perhaps due to Christophe Beck's bombastic score. On the other hand, the violence stretches a PG certificate by being so continual and sometimes disturbing. Not to mention the oddly hedonistic pleasures of drugged lotus flowers in a Las Vegas hotel. But as the launching point for what is clearly planned as a franchise, it just about does the trick.


Comments

Percy Jackson & the Olyimpians: The Lightning Thief Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG, 2010

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