Percy Jackson and the Olympians Review

By Feb 12, 2010 Comment (0)

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson & the Olympians sounds like an Otis Redding cover band. It is, instead, an unofficial cover of the Harry Potter franchise. “The Lightning Thief,’’ the first film in what its makers at 20th Century Fox almost certainly hope will become a series, features a New York teenager named Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) who’s introduced to a world of magic, demons, and special effects. Very little of it is as persuasive or enveloping as its beloved English counterpart. But it works very hard to distract 11-year-olds from thinking about the November arrival of “The Deathly Hallows.’’

Based on the popular teen novels written by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is hoping to catch on like Harry Potter at the theaters, so much so the director of the first two Potter features, Chris Columbus, duped Fox into hiring him for the gig. However, Fox must have forgotten this was the same guy that directed I Love You Beth Cooper for the studio only a year ago, proving his talents do have limits, as does the filmed version of Percy Jackson.
Telling the story of its title character, played by 18-year-old Logan Lerman — a gifted young actor who had an excellent turn in My One and Only — we learn early on Percy Jackson is the son of Poseidon, but as it turns out the Gods aren’t the stay at home type of parents and Percy has no idea who is father is. This origin story of sorts finds its footing as Zeus’s lightning bolt is stolen (not exactly sure how that happens), and the King of the Gods places the blame on his nephew Percy and has given him 14 days to return it or a war of the Gods will begin. Scary right? I mean, warring Gods can’t be good and it’s represented in the film by a big scary rain cloud (sans lightning of course)…read more [RopeOfSilicon]

Logan Lerman in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Logan Lerman in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Surely somewhere out there, there are fans of the first two Harry Potter movies who were bereft when Chris Columbus didn’t go on to direct subsequent entries in the franchise. Those few jilted fans can now line up for their methadone in the form of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, a kids’-book adaptation that follows the J.K. Rowling formula closely enough to ease the pangs of forlorn Harry Potter fans in general. There’s the Chosen One kid with school problems and a sad home life who learns that his parentage lends him magical powers far beyond those of his better-schooled peers. There’s his hapless and sometimes helpful boon companion, and their super-smart, prickly girl ally…read more [A.V.Club]

Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson and Logan Lerman in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson and Logan Lerman in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

If motion pictures that astound you or break new artistic ground are the reason you go to the movies, “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” is not for you. But then you already knew that, didn’t you?
As directed by the risk-averse and reliably commercial Chris Columbus, “Percy Jackson” has standard Hollywood product so written all over it that the fact that it is unadventurous and uninteresting can be figured out from the film’s advertising and promotion material alone…read more [Los Angeles Times]

Director Chris Columbus has fun with this goofy premise, but as always I am distracted by the practical aspects of the story. Does it bother the Greek gods that no one any longer knows or cares that they rule the world? What are the genetic implications of human/god interbreeding?
And, forgive me, I’ll have to double back to Sally Jackson, Percy’s mother. How did she meet Poseidon? At the beach, I suppose. Did he reveal his true identity? If a guy picks you up at the beach and says he’s Poseidon, do you say, fine, let’s not date, let’s just mate? Then when the bastard dumps you and disappears, leaving you pregnant, what way is that for a god to behave?…read more [Roger Ebert]

Uma Thurman as Medusa in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Uma Thurman as Medusa in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Imperfect, yes, but also both suitably imaginative and entertaining, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” works as action-adventure razzle-dazzle, coming-of-age tale, and beginners’ lesson on Greek mythology. The narrative changes made to Rick Riordan’s novel take some getting used to early on, but soon director Chris Columbus has ably carved out a stand-alone place for the movie. From then on, book-to-screen comparisons are rendered null and void as one gets caught up in Percy’s quest to find the hidden pearls, save his mom, and come to terms with his out-of-the-ordinary place in the world. With Grover and Annabeth steadfastly by his side, Percy’s fantasy-laden travels are fun. Their first destination at Auntie Em’s Garden Emporium is a showstopper, perhaps even the highlight of the whole film, as the kids are besieged by snake-haired gargon Medusa (Uma Thurman), her stare enough to turn anyone into stone. A stop at a Nashville replica of the Parthenon is next, along with a run-in with a fire-breathing hydra dragon, while their third fixed location is Las Vegas’ Lotus Hotel and Casino. Clever, toe-tapping use of Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face” is a terrific addition…read more [WorstPreviews]

Melina Kanakaredes, Sean Bean and Kevin McKidd in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Melina Kanakaredes, Sean Bean and Kevin McKidd in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson is the kind of movie where the bad guy corners the good guy, puts a gun to his head, and then just stands there and watches the good guy take a thirty second pause to power up his abilities and destroy him. You had thirty seconds warning. It doesn’t take that long to pull the trigger. But Percy Jackson also has some good ideas and a strange, comfortable charm which shines through in spite of all the bad directing, acting, and lazy effects work. You probably won’t notice that goat boy’s CGI legs look like they’re two dimensional, or that he only seems to have them when they think they can’t get away with him not having them. You probably won’t care that Medusa’s snakes look like they’ve been CGI’d with a glue-gun, or that the only reason Percy Jackson can hold his so long breath underwater is because he’s obviously sitting in front of a greenscreen only pretending to be underwater…read more [Cinema Blend]

Video Interview: The Cast of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

[flv]http://bitcast-b.bitgravity.com/latinoreview/percyjacksonfeaturette.mov[/flv]

Peaking around the midway point thanks to the aforementioned Thurman and an exciting face-off with a many-headed Hydra, /Percy/ flags during a dull descent into Coogan’s lair before a sub-Spider-Man finale above night-time New York. By then, however, this adap of the first tome in Rick Riordan’s five-book series has done its work, paving the way for an evolving franchise while cheekily spiking another studio’s guns…read more [TotalFilm]

Rosario Dawson stars as Persephone in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Rosario Dawson stars as Persephone in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Watch the way Thurman oh-so-carefully tosses Medusa’s hair when she hisses “I used to date your daddy” at Percy. Check out Coogan’s seen-it-all, done-it-all – stole Jim Morrison’s rock god costume – take on Hades. Relish the too-sexy Rosario Dawson’s riff on Hades’ unhappy mate, Persephone.
“I’m in HELL!”
Columbus, responsible for I Love You Beth Cooper, one of the worst films of 2009, doesn’t help a middling script with sluggish pacing and his eye-rolling soundtrack picks – “Highway to Hell,” “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” and when the kids reach Vegas, a certain Lady Gaga hit warbles up in the casino…read more [OrlandoSentinel]

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Wallpaper
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Wallpaper

Percy Jackson and his exploits will no doubt be compared over and over again to Harry Potter. Yes, at times it seems like a cash-in on the Harry Potter hype –- Camp Half Blood, really? Putting that aside, it ends up being a fresh take on the ancient stories we grew up learning in school. I remember thinking as a kid how cool it would be if these gods actually existed and if these stories were true. It’s fascinating to think of ancient gods in modern day civilization doing the same types of things they used to do in ancient times. While this movie about Percy’s adventures indeed caters to a younger audience, it isn’t without its charms. It will hold up with fans of the books, and with people just looking to take their children to a family-friendly film…read more [Film.com]

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Video Review: [IndyMogul]

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