Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS

 

I must admit that I am typically a sucker for these types of movies, and while this one isn’t as purely pleasurable as “Eragon” or “The Water Horse,” “Percy Jackson” delivers a good old fashioned family fun time. There’s just something about the adventure in films such as these that is exciting, and the museum battle sequence here is no exception. Where else do you get to do battle with multiple monsters, cross country journeys and epic consequences and implications, all without ever leaving the spirit of good natured-ness?

There’s something implicitly funny in films such as these, however. Almost inevitably, it requires the youths of the pictures (as the heroes and leads) to go against the wishes, suggestions, guidance, etc of the superiors (the adults) and almost always this is in order to save the day. It’s funny parents aren’t up in arms about these family pictures where disobedience is a requirement of victory (maybe that’s why “Taken” was so successful: YOU SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO YOUR FATHER!)

Where this film ups the ante is in its casting. We have some really big names here: Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson, Uma Thurman, Steve Coogan, Joey Pants, Catherine Keener, and more. It manages to pack such a casting punch due to the episodic nature of the piece: the kids keep traveling, so no big name star would have to stick around too long, or have their schedule too booked. And it is fun to see them all, but it doesn’t take long until you realize the films structure and you know that none of your favorite actors will be around too long, so soak them up while you have them.  For me it was a pleasant surprise, as I was unaware of the casting. However, if you are seeing this film as a fan of any of the cast, just expect more of a cameo than anything else.

Speaking of casting, what is it with Catherine Keener in being cast as a mother who has children that go off to live in the forest?

The film is setting up a series that, like many, won’t get off the ground likely, as I don’t believe it broke any records at the box office. And while it is a pity, worse have suffered this fate (am I the only one that loved Limony Snickett?).

Mostly, the film should probably have just had a better title. I kept thinking Percy Jackson was Peter Jackson presents for some reason. It is not—and therefore the film is a two hour journey rather than a three-plus one.

As for plot specifics, Percy Jackson is a demigod, only he doesn’t realize it yet. But, oh he will soon find out. And they think he took a lightning bolt! But he didn’t! But nobody will listen to him! So he has to go out and prove it! Apparently these Gods don’t see too well. Omnipotent, my arse. Oh well, the movie would have been boring otherwise, I suppose.

In any event, the film is fun and innocent even as it has its characters journeying into Hell. In fact, it even makes a case for living in hell. You’ll have Rosario Dawson to keep you company. Hell, it beats New Jersey.

Oh, and stick around into the credits.

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