Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

I definitely have strong feelings for you. I just haven't decided if they're positive or negative yet.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief: Logan Lerman  |  A Constantly Racing Mind
Igrew up reading the Greek Myths in elementary school and into my high school years. In fact, I didn't need to go to my senior year, as I had already completed all the necessary credits to graduate. However, there was a girl I wanted to hang out with, so, I took an extra Greek literature class just to be with her. Oh well, it didn't work out but I did end up with a firm foundation and appreciation for Greek literature, including the mythologies of the gods and heroes. "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" is your typical test and quest story that is typical telling of the feats of the demigods. Demigods are children of the gods and the humans. Typically, it was a male god and a female mortal woman, rarely a female god, and a mortal male. Full of fantasy and three likable teen aged stars that take a road trip to return the bolt of lightening back to Zeus, the god of lightening and thunder. Logan Lerman (Gamer, 3:10 to Yuma), star as Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon the god of water, most especially the seas. Playing the daughter of Athena (the virgin goddess, I know it doesn't make any sense so just get over it) is Alexandra Daddario ("The Attic"). And providing the humorous bond that ties the characters and the story together is the Satyr, Grover, played by the hip Brandon T. Jackson (Fast & Furious)."Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" is rated PG for some the stuff that could potentially scare a smaller child, so keep that in mind.

Adapted from Rick Riordan's novel written for the young adult audience tells the quest of Percy (Perseus) the son of Poseidon in his quest to return a stolen lightening bolt. The film follows Percy in a day in his life when he first finds out who is father is and what responsibilities he must fulfill. The opening scene is indicative, and a foreshadowing of Percy's destiny, as he is sitting under water, calmly for about seven minutes. Timing him is his best friend Grover, who has a deformity in his legs and must walk on crutches. Brief chitchat between the two builds a quick rapport that holds throughout the film. Percy's mom Sally ("The Soloist") lives with Gabe Ugliano (Joe Pantoliano from the "Matrix"), an unemployed drunk. Percy is at that age where fathers and sons don't always get along, and Gabe being his stepfather the volatility is about ready to burst. During a quick conversation, Percy and mom discuss Percy's difficulty with Dyslexia and ADHD, setting up an explanation for future plot reveals. Zeus (Sean Bean), has lost his thunderbolt and thinks that Poseidon’s son, Percy took it. While on a trip to the museum, Percy, and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), while looking at the ancient Greek statues of mythological heroes, a Fury attacks Percy. Grover, it turns out to be a Satyr and is Percy's protector. Grabbing his mother, Percy and Grover escape to a camp for children of Greek gods. Fighting a Minotaur along the way, Percy's mom, Sally is captured and apparently killed. In the camp, Percy meets the centaur, Chiron, who runs the camp, and Anabeth (Daddario), daughter of Athena. As in all hero journeys, there is a point where the unwilling hero, must learn the warrior skill from a mentor, and prove he can rise to the position of hero. At this camp, this is where Percy and Anabeth, train, and bond. Finding out from Hades, that his mother is alive, Percy, Anabeth, and Grover decide to rescue Sally and find Zeus's stolen lightening bolt and return it.

The long-winded title "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief "is a great way for adults and children to get to know Greek literature in an easygoing manner. Unlike the "Clash of the Titans," Percy Jackson's plot follows the main points of the Perseus myth close enough for the audience to get an idea of the story. What director Chris Columbus does best is develop young actors and help them bring out the performance that brings a sense of relevance to the story. Of the three young leads, Brandon T. Jackson stands out in his down to earth modern day portrayal of Grover Underwood the protector Satyr. While keeping the story clean, and supporting Lerman and Daddario in their roles, Jackson does an excellent job of supporting his cast mates and the story. The visual effects provided by the various groups that worked on Percy Jackson are stunning and do what effects are supposed to do, tell the story. Lerman, in his 10th role since he played one of Gibson's sons in The Patriot in 2000, this young actor does an exceptional job in the lead role. Alexandra Daddario is more subdued in her role as Athena's daughter, adequate at best. Percy Jackson and the Olympians... is essentially an action film junkie's dream, only pausing shortly for any lengthily explanations. Uma Thurman as Medusa was inspired genius, as the Kill Bill star dons snakes for hair in the style of a true Gorgon. In this case, I have to say I liked Percy Jackson's version of Medusa than I did "Clash of the Titans." Overall, the film has some mythological inaccuracies that defy any of the ancient sources we have, but what the heck it’s a story for young adults. Overall, I think Chris Columbus, Logan Lerman, and Brandon Jackson deserves kudos for bringing this story to the screen.

Movie Data

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Year: 2010
Staring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario
Director: Chris Columbus
Producer(s): Michael Barnathan, Mark Morgan, Guy Oseary, Mark Radcliffe, Karen Rosenfelt
Writer: Craig Titley (screenplay), Rick Riordan (novel) 
Rating: PG
Running Time: 118 minutes
Release Date: 2/12/2010

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