Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for anything that relates to Greek mythology, whether it’s television shows, books or movies. So when I saw the preview for PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTENING THIEF (PJO) I knew that I would have to go see it no matter how cheesy it looked. I’ll fully concede that although I enjoyed this film, it was not nearly as good as it could have been, but it was a fun ride nonetheless.
Percy Jackson is a teenager who has dyslexia, ADHD and father issues. He soon discovers that he is a demi-god (half human, half god) and that his father is one of the top three gods: Poseidon. Percy sets out on a quest to rescue his mother from the underworld and along the way encounters classic mythological creatures and trials.
Although entertaining, the one major flaw in this film was the screenplay. The plot was decent but the lines the actors were forced to say were just plain bad. This movie is based on a children’s book series so it’s to be expected that the jokes are lame and hit the floor with a thud, but if they would have made the film with more adult oriented dialogue, it would have been so much better. The books are geared towards 9-12 year old kids but with less cheese the movie could have easily been geared towards an older audience as well. We’ve seen plenty of movies recently that have managed to be safe enough for kids, but still keep the story and dialogue intriguing enough for the adults, so it definitely can be done.
The special effects in this film were very well done. A good example would be Medusa (Uma Thurman, who seems to only look good when Tarantino’s behind the camera). Just a quick reminder, Medusa is the lady with a head full of snakes who would turn people to stone if one looked her in the eyes. This character really stood out in a very sophisticated and non-cheesy way. CGI has come a very long way but shockingly it’s still very common to see crappy special effects in films (see 2012). PJO did an excellent job in the special effects department and this really made the mythological characters and creatures come to life.
The best thing about this film was just the concept and story. Percy Jackson’s character has a lot of potential as a demi-god and the adventures he can go on in the future could be exciting to see. Chris Columbus does a really good job of taking these kids books and then turning them into films, which is really not an easy feat. Granted, he has practice with this sort of thing since he got the Harry Potter franchise started. Whether or not Percy Jackson merits a number of sequels remains to be seen.
Sometimes films about Greek mythology don’t do well because the filmmakers rely too heavily on the great characters and don’t bother with a story. That was partially true here as the characters are so interesting and the stories are absolutely fascinating but they didn’t have the chance to shine. PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTENING THIEF has plenty of good qualities, but older audience members might be bored by the juvenile dialogue and tired script.