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Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief

Originally, it was my intent to see The Wolfman this past Friday night, only when my wife and I got in line to buy our tickets, we overheard some loudmouth on his way out of the theater talking about how the whole movie is about a werewolf. I mean, way to ruin it for those of us who haven’t seen it yet, jackass! So instead, we opted for a little fantasy and adventure by way of Percy Jackson & The Order of The Olympians: The Half-Blood Sorcerer's Chamber of the Goblet of the Lightning Thief. Yeah, I think the title’s a bit long, too.

Needless to say, it wasn’t enough that the story of The Lightning Thief is essentially the story of Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone retold with different characters, but they had to go and bring aboard the director of two other Harry Potter films to boot.

Pretty much every character in Harry Potter seems to have a counterpart in Percy Jackson. Harry has a mythical giant named Hagrid as a protector; Percy has a mythical satyr. Harry has had Professor Dumbledore watching over him since birth; Percy has a teacher named Mr. Brunner. Harry grew up having no idea he was a wizard until he was whisked away to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry; Percy grew up having no idea he was a demigod until he was whisked away to Camp Half Blood. Harry Potter wears glasses; what do you know? Percy Jackson wears contacts. The list goes on and on.

Mind you, I’ve never read a single Harry Potter book (and I’m not about to start any time soon) and I damn sure haven’t seen all the movies (they’re like Police Academy, how are you supposed to keep up with a new movie every week?) Yet still, these are the similarities that even I could pick up right away. I can only imagine what enraged Harry Potter fans must be thinking right now.

During the scene where Percy battles the dreaded Hydra, I half expected Professor Snape to jump out and ward the beast away with a wave of his wand. Or when Percy learns to fly wearing a pair of Herme’s winged sneakers, I thought a Quittich match was going to break out. Of course, one might ask that if these are the similarities, what are the differences? Well, The Lightning Thief is centered on the premise that Mount Olympus is in the Empire State Building; the entrance to the Underworld is between the "H" and the "O" on Mount Hollywood; and that apparently, the Greek gods of old like Zeus, Poseidon, Athena and Hermes, are so promiscuous with mortals (and have learned nothing from Herpes, the Greek god of the S.T.D) that there are hundreds of demigods born unto them up to and including Barack Obama.

Yeah, that’s likely.

The movie also has something in common with The Chronicles of Narnia, which is that it’s God awful hokey. Which is why I must warn you that if you‘re planning to see The Lightning Thief yourself, that you just take the movie for what it‘s worth. After all, it is a kids movie, and as far as kids movies go, I think your children would enjoy it (and in all fairness, it wasn’t the worst movie I could have seen myself, I mean, I could have seen The Wolfman). But I might advise a little caution on taking little kids to see it, because I think the scene involving the Underworld may be a little frightening for the younger crowd.

Admittedly, I am curious as to what the sequel holds for the so-called Lightning Thief. As soon it comes out, I'll be sure to let you know what I thought of Percy Jackson & The Prisoner of Azkaban.

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