Percy Jackson & the Olympians the Lightning Thief


Rating: 2.75 of 5 ★★¾☆☆ 

I loved greek mythology in jr. high. So, in some ways it was fun to revisit that through this movie. I was surprised at how much mythology they incorporated and much of it they got right.

Let’s begin with the ridiculously long title. It was bad enough when it was just Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief but to add The Olympians, really? I have no doubt it was done because of something about the rights and the book and for whatever reason they couldn’t legally use just half the title. but none of that is really the point.

If you’re looking for easy, pretty, fun then you’ll enjoy this movie. As a bonus, they throw in greek mythology. You can be educated and entertained at the same time. If you want good acting or writing, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

I think that the idea of demi-gods living in our modern society is an intriguing concept. The potential for a cool story is definitely there.

I love the solidity of the mythology they incorporate, that it’s not just a token device which it easily could have been. I love the idea of introducing kids to that mythology and possibly encouraging them to look it up and learn what those ancient stories are all about.
all those are good things.

And the movie is very pretty – well lit, great colors – some fun settings – one pretty cool walk and talk in the midst of a lot of cool stunts.

But what could have been a fairly remarkable movie is also very lacking. There is an element of the concept that is cheesy that sometimes they overcome (a giant Poseidon descending to human form and talking to Zeus) and sometimes they don’t (Percy hearing Poseidon’s voice in his head).

There are moments when the writing is bad. (My favorite line sort of defines their target demographic: “The gods are selfish. They only want what’s best for themselves.” as if calling them selfish isn’t enough, they then need to define it.)

And while the cast is full of names and faces you’ll recognize, there are a lot of bad performances (most notably for me from Catherine Keener as Percy’s mother). And Melina Kanakaredes has a horribly stilted accent that doesn’t even last through her very short part. On a side note: Jake Abel is totally like a young Kevin Bacon. It’s a little eerie.

The fight sequences are mostly pretty good, except for poor Alexandra Daddario who obviously didn’t get enough training. She is stiff in her movements and is almost always ahead of her opponent so she’s in place to block a blow before they’ve even gone for it. It makes her scenes, which should be quite kick ass, feel slow and almost as stilted as Melina Kanakaredes’ accent; which, maybe since they’re supposed to be mother and daughter, it works out in the end. On another side note: this is the girl who plays Kate in White Collar? seriously!? I mean, kudos to her for playing the love interest of both 18 year old Logan Lerman playing a 15 year old and 32 year old Matt Bomer. that’s versitility! but also kind of crazy. (she is 24 so I guess that splits the difference)

The special effects are all top-notch though so everything looks good. It just isn’t always actually good.


February 27, 2010 | Review , | this post contains affiliate links