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Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief

Day 187: November 3rd, 2010

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

One of my problems with the film is the title, granted it's also the title of the book, it's just too wordy and one of the problems why I think the film wasn't as successful as it could have been. People are put off by long, wordy titles that take two breaths to say, unless you're someone like Harry Potter and you can get away with a long title, I would suggest sticking to something shorter.

Funny I mention Harry Potter since the director of Percy Jackson is Christopher Columbus, who also directed the first two Harry Potter films. I think he did a better job of adapting the Potter films to screen than this one because this my friend, is one big mess of a film. Percy Jackson lacks heart, charm and adventure, instead it gives you a lackluster cast, bizarre plot lines to follow and a cast that doesn't work.

Percy Jackon discovers he is the son of a Greek God, Poseidon to be exact. The God of the sea and brother to Zeus. So Zeus has misplaced his lightning bolt, a source of great power, for some reason that I still do not know, he has blamed Percy Jackson. He tells Poseidon that is Percy Jackson does not give him the lightning bolt in so many days, there will be this great big war. Percy discovers this and is now on a quest to clear his name, find the bolt and stop the war. Oh yeah, his human mother is kidnapped and brought to the underworld, run by Hades, the third brother of the Gods. He now has to find three magic pearls, so he and his two friends can go to the underworld, get his mother and use the pearls to get an easy escape going.

I never read the books, but know enough about them to know that there were some big changes made for the film. I also went into the film knowing quite a bit about Greek Mythology, I studied it. Now, I'm not saying that they have a lot of information wrong, even though the satyrs depicted here are from Roman Mythology and not Greek, I'm just saying they took some liberties. I can accept some of this, as they are indeed adapting this for a film and a family film at that. I do take some points off though because the bulk of the movie revolves around a topic that the writers seemed to have glanced over on a wikipedia page. Moving on though....

The adult actors feel underused, this journey is indeed about Percy, but when you have Steve Coogan playing Hades...put the guy to some good use. The film has some great ideas, but the final product seems hastily executed. For example, Percy finds out he is a demi-god and then all of a sudden he knows how to use all of his powers, with next to no training. We are to assume that one game of capture the flag is enough for him to unlock his powers and all of sudden use them in a heated battle? Where is the struggle here? There is no real obstacle for this character to overcome. The filmmakers seem to think the journey is enough to entertain the audience...wrong.

The film doesn't bother to explain how much we, in our world, see or interact with them, their world. The first scene we see is of Poseidon exiting the water, he is a giant and when he walks on land, he transforms into human size. He passes by a fisherman on the dock while he is gigantic, so we know right from the start that we apparently can see and interact with these Gods. Then the rest of the film seems to ignore this, a battle at the top of the Empire State building, people flying around and giant Hydra monsters turned to stone in the middle of a museum. I was more concerned with people finding these things then the actual events being depicted on the screen.

The film was a disappointment for me and I never even read the books. It lacks depth and seems to be on the Harry Potter bandwagon. I can't compare the film to the book, so I can't tell you if it was the fault of the source material, but I have to think that the filmmakers cut a lot of corners here. Percy Jackson lacks everything that it needed and frankly, should have had. You have a movie about Greek mythology here, why is it that a subject I find so fascinating, turned into a dull movie? Twice this year....