Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Release date: 2010
Length: 119 min.
Percy Jackson is a normal boy living in New York City, or at least he thinks he is. When Percy’s class goes on a field trip to a Greek museum, his teacher Mrs. Dodds needs to talk to him.
That is where the trouble starts and when Percy finds out about the new world where his teacher has another role. It turns out that Mrs. Dodds is a Fury — a monstrous bird with huge talons that can disguise herself as a human. At that point he is catapulted to another world.
The basic trouble is that Zeus, the Greek god, has lost his lightning bolt, and he suspects that Percy is the thief. Key to the story is Percy learning that he is a demigod -- a child of a mortal and a god and in his case, Poseidon. Percy sees an immortal world hidden in the normal one. He finds that he can read ancient Greek, battle monsters, and see things that no one else sees.
He embarks on a mission with his friends, Grover and Annabeth, to find three pearls that can help save his mother from Hades. While looking for the pearls, Percy, Grover and Annabeth travel across the country, and Percy learns that mythical beings are hiding around every corner. An encounter with Medusa, a battle with a 12-headed monster, and the temptation of the lotus flower are just a few things that Percy must overcome on his quest.
“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” is based on the book (2005) by Rick Riordan. This is the first book of the series. The movie and the book, however, have quite a few differences. Whole sections of the book are omitted from the movie. While some aren’t that important, one major plot point — how Percy learns he is a demigod — makes the story make a lot less sense. If you are a fan of the book, you will notice a lot of other differences, too.
People who haven’t read the book, however, will probably enjoy the movie more than people who have. It’s a good movie, even if it isn’t a great adaptation. It has plenty of excitement and great visual effects—the bad characters are creepy and the good characters are cool. There is humor and adventure throughout. Parts of the book that weren’t scary on the page become terrifying on the screen.
If they continue to make Percy Jackson movies (which they plan to), the sequels will be scary for sure.
The movie is mostly well cast, but there are a few poor choices. Percy (Logan Lerman) wasn’t very much like what I had pictured when I read it in the book he is 12, but in the movie he is in high school. Medusa (played by Uma Thurman) is played too dramatically.
Overall, I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for an exciting adventure with good special effects. Serious fans of the book might be disappointed, but I enjoyed both. There is some tame crude humor and, as I mentioned, some scary parts, so parents should be careful about taking kids under 9. If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend you do.
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