PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Percy Jackson is just your average dyslexic high school kid. However, one day, he discovers that he’s far from average. When he is attacked on a field trip by a mysterious creature, he learns that he is actually the son of Poseidon, and the whole of Mount Olympus believes he has stolen Zeus’ lightning bolt. With some help from his sworn protector and another demigod who is the daughter of Athena, Percy goes on a cross-country search for magical pearls that will allow him and his friends to travel to Hades and back in order to find the stolen lightning bolt and keep peace on Olympus.
WHAT I LIKED
I’ve always enjoyed the Greek myths, and movies about them have also been something that I’ve been interested in, ever since I saw “Clash of the Titans” when I was ten. This story follows a very similar “Harry Potter” formula, in which an average kid discovers a secret world of magic. Similarly, it provides a great adventure movie for the family audience.
The effects are pretty cool, and it’s a much more American story than “Harry Potter.” However, it does deal with some real peril and situations that aren’t exactly squeaky clean, like an attack from Medusa and a real threat of danger.
But the best part about a movie like this is the effect it has on my kids. With three sons under ten, I’m always looking for age appropriate films that will also stay with them into their teenage years. The world of “Percy Jackson” fits that bill. The real test of this movie is how much they enjoy watching it, and they do, almost to a fault. Stories like “Percy Jackson” and the aforementioned “Harry Potter” series are excellent for stimulating their young imaginations, and they’re fun to watch as a grown-up as well.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I’m not a huge fan of Chris Columbus. I’ve always thought he was a very bland director. When he started the “Harry Potter” movies, I found his work okay, but I really didn’t notice how soulless it was until I saw the later films. Similarly, I enjoyed this first installment in “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” but I can’t wait to see what happens with the series in more capable hands.
From a story perspective, there were several moments of disconnect that didn’t sit right with me as a more mature viewer. This seems to be focused on a diversionary scene in the Lotus Casino which held little logic in the characters’ action and served as nothing more than a jazz club sequence in “Spider-Man 3”… a chance for the characters to act crazy and show some cool design elements.
The Blu-ray comes packaged with the DVD of the film and a Digital Copy disc, which makes it a good buy for a family. On the Blu-ray itself, there’s ten deleted scenes, a “Secrets of the Gods” featurette, the “Inside Camp Half Blood” featurette and a self-quiz to discover your powers of the Greek myths. There’s also an interactive guide to the characters in the film as well as access to BD-Live content.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Kids and families looking for a replacement for “Harry Potter.”