Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Blu-ray)
PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF marks Chris Columbus’s second attempt to turn a series of famous young adult novels into a series of famous movies. But unlike Harry Potter, I’m afraid the source material for Percy Jackson just isn’t good enough to make a quality film. So without friends we care about or characters we can relate to, Percy Jackson turned out to be a movie high on special effects and not much else.
Logan Lerman is Percy Jackson, a struggling student that suffers from dyslexia and ADHD, but also happens to be the son of the Greek God Poseidon. He discovers this nifty fact when a fury (demonic, flying beast) attacks him on a field trip. It seems our hero has been accused of stealing Zeus’s lightning bolt, which sets of a series of events, including the kidnapping of Percy’s mother, in which Percy must clear his name. He’s accompanied on his quest by his faithful protector Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and a love-stricken Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario).
In a fantastical quest such as this, it’s imperative that the audience relate to the lead characters. Unfortunately, it’s hard to do that since we barely get to know Percy Jackson, Grover or Annabeth and they’re never really in a situation that we care about. I hate to draw comparisons to Harry Potter, but one thing Potter has that Percy does not is friends we like and root for. It’s easy to get caught up in the special effects and the grandness of this film, but at the end of the day, I never cared about any of their plights. In fact, Percy was forced to find the lightning and return it by a certain time in order to prevent a galactic war of the Gods. But a part of me was kind of hoping to see that story rather than the one I was watching. Seeing Zeus and Poseidon battle it out seems more exciting than watching Logan Lerman whine his way through this film.
Any time you deal with Greek mythology, you have your world cut out for you. It’s so tough to combine the fantastical world of the Greek Gods with the normal world we live in today. Doing so without sticking to a set of rules (whatever they may be) will leave the audience questioning the film and the breaking of those rules does nothing but pull the audience out of the moment. Columbus didn’t spend enough time establishing his world and laying down the guidelines. I still don’t fully know what Percy can and can’t do, nor do I understand how he learned how to use any of his powers in four days. And does everyone in this world have superhuman strength? Whatever the decision, it’s fine; you just have to set those guidelines at some point in the film.
Even with the b-grade dialogue and poor character development, Percy Jackson did have some nifty special effects and fun action sequences to keep the film rolling. I can assume younger audiences will easily be able to look past the film’s faults and enjoy the fun ride that Columbus has crafted for us. But for the rest of us, the film had too many problems and the overall lazy effort of the screenwriters made for an empty film.
Video: For their new movies, Fox usually delivers top-notch video transfers, but I found this one to be a little soft, especially during the darker scenes. This is noticeable early on in the film, but whenever the special effects came in, it was obvious.
Audio: Whatever problems the video had, the audio definitely erased. This is an incredible DTS-HD transfer that will rattle your walls.
Deleted Scenes (8:01)-If you are a fan of the books, these deleted scenes will be interesting to watch. However, they don’t really add anything to the overall advancement of the story so it was good that they were eventually cut. Although, when watching these scenes, you will have to endure a terrible CGI dance sequence with Grover which was thankfully deleted from the final cut of the film.
The Book Comes to Life (4:24)-This is a short little featurette with interviews from the cast , director and author of the books. Unfortunately, it is riddled with scenes from the movies. The good part is that we get to hear from Rick Riordan (the author of the series) about his journey writing the book. Since it is so short, it’s worth the watch if you are a fan of the film or book series.
Secrets of the Gods-This is an interactive menu where viewers can get a small blurb about the various gods of Greek mythology.
Inside Camp Half-Blood (5:09)- A featurette about Camp Half-Blood, the home of the demi-gods. There are the typical cast and crew interviews with movie scenes but also some behind the scenes of the training the cast went through. This was okay to watch, it is more behind the scenes as opposed to just movie clips but nothing exciting is really going on.
On Set with Brandon T. Jackson (5:56)- Why we would have a separate featurette about a supporting character is beyond me, but here it is. Jackson plays the satyr Grover in the film and although he’s good in the movie, he sure doesn’t deserve his own feature.
Meet the Demigods (3:49)-You would think that this was a quick rundown of who’s who in the Percy Jackson world, but this is really just a quick recap of the story with just a little bit more information about each of the characters. This was nothing more than a puff piece.
Composing for the Gods: A Conversation with Christophe Beck (3:28):I’m not sure the score was memorable enough to deserve a whole feature, but here it is. It is short and interesting and worth the watch if you are into music.
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