Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Chris Columbus

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Chris Columbus
It's difficult to describe and assess Percy Jackson & the Olympians without relating it to Harry Potter, even though it's a redundant comparison that has been made by pretty much everyone that read the books, or even saw the trailer for this film. But given the thematic and structural similarities, along with the decision to have Chris Columbus (the director of the first two Potter films) helm, it's ultimately unavoidable. Essentially, instead of magic schools and wizardry, we have a Greek mythology template, with young Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) being accused of stealing Zeus's (Sean Bean) lightning bolt. He learns of his ancestry, bonds with a descendent of Athena named Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and learns that best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is actually half-goat. After Hades kidnaps Percy's mother, the trio set out to find some magical marbles to grant them access to the underworld. As far as children's stories go, it's mediocre and extremely familiar, having the central Potter trio, a faux Hogwarts Academy and the assortment of zany Potter characters on the periphery sure to pop up in later instalments. And much like the first two Potter films, this world never feels complete. Battle scenes with the Hydra and Medusa are fun to watch, but we get the impression that these monsters were merely sitting around, waiting until the story came to them, much like the school that doesn't have much reason or order to it. This is only exacerbated by the fact that the three central characters are bland and interchangeable, merely presenting their archetypes and repeating their generic quips in between action scenes. Grover points out that he is to protect Percy under any circumstance at least ten times throughout the film, just in case we forgot. It is here that this imitation pales in comparison to the predecessor, which had the benefit of clever banter and creative modes of doling out exposition. Regardless, as a fun, effects-laden diversion, you could do a lot worse. The DVD comes with a some deleted scenes and a brief interview supplement, along with a game where you can find out which Greek God you are through taking a quiz. I'm apparently Hermes. Hmm. (Fox)